A PRIMARY SCHOOL in Buckley is bringing newfound confidence to young students and teachers alike through a Wales-wide project.

The ‘Lead Creative Schools’ scheme is aiming to improve the quality of teaching across the country, while also benefitting children by giving them access to creative people and artists.

The scheme is now being implemented by Southdown Primary School in Buckley who are utilising the skills of Fiona Collins, a freelance storyteller of traditional tales from around the world since 1989.

Southdown joined the project this year and it will run once a week throughout the term while working in partnership with Broughton Primary School, who have already been in the scheme for two years.

Fiona said: “The aim of the project is to support teachers into working more creatively, and to bring creativity to the way that they teach, which is considered a good way to learn.

“I’m working with Danielle Carrigan and her Year 3 class at Southdown, and we plan together before teaching.

“They’re really enjoying it. I’ve told them some stories and we’ve discussed imagination, as well as done some job interviews in the imagination factory before getting them to do some storytelling to each other.

“They were absolutely great at it. It was something the children had a real connection with, they love stories, and worked together to help each other. Danielle was really impressed with how some of the quieter kids were able to come out of their shells.

“The aim is that the teachers who’ve been involved in the project will feel confident enough to share ideas and strategies that they’ve learnt with other teachers.”

While storyteller Fiona is only working directly with one Year 3 class, the other group are mirroring them a week later in an effort to develop the quality of teaching.

It is hoped that the Lead Creative Schools project will inspire Year 3 students at Southdown Primary School to pass on their new skills to the year group above, who will subsequently do the same until every child and teacher has felt the benefits.

Miss Carrigan says: “The aim at this school is to increase the confidence of children when they’re speaking publicly.

“The children have reacted really well. Some of the children that I didn’t expect to get involved straight away are fully engrossed in it and really enthusiastic about the opportunity to be imaginative and creative.

“The other Year 3 class are mirroring us, with John (Mr Jones) doing what we did this week, next week, but by having a go at it himself.

Southdown Primary School are planning to hold a themed Parental Engagement Day towards the end of term to allow children the chance to show families their newfound skills.

Teachers, students and artists will then evaluate the project next term in order to develop the scheme further on a national level.

Fiona added: “It’s absolutely great, all schools in Wales should be in it.

“Helping children to be creative and fulfil their potentials is an important part of what their education should be offering them.

“It’ll also help them to build their self-confidence and self-esteem which are crucial elements of being able to learn.

“From my art form as the storyteller, I know that listening to traditional stories and telling them again in your own words helps to support children’s fluency in their spoken language, which supports them in their written language and their reading.

“Speaking and listening are the basic building blocks of any kind of relationship, personal or professional. So, I’m hoping that the children will be good listeners and good speakers able to express themselves.”