MILFORD Haven's Gelliswick Church in Wales VC Primary School, dedicated to family learning, has won a national award.

The school even runs a free crèche so parents can improve their maths and english and invites grandparents to learn alongside their grandchildren.

The Inspire! Awards are hosted each year ahead of Adult Learners’ Week (June 17-23) – initiatives co-ordinated by Learning and Work Institute with support from the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund.

Gelliswick School took the ‘Closing The Gap’ award, in a ceremony at The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff last week, June 5.

The 562-pupil school, is the result of the merger of Hakin Community Primary School and Hubberston V C School and has become a ‘community school’ with an emphasis on learning for all ages.

Family sessions at the school mean mums, dads, nans, gramps and foster carers are invited to activities like Booky Breakfast, where the grown-ups read books with the children in class first thing in the morning, as well as family learning courses and play therapy courses for children and families to attend together.

Head Teacher Nick Dyer said: “From the beginning, we’ve been committed to ‘learning for all’ and we’re very much a community school. There’s something very powerful for children seeing parents and other adults in the building, and knowing they are there by choice, motivated to learn.

“Then at home, those parents and carers talk positively about learning, they have greater empathy for their children’s own learning, and it creates a virtuous circle.”

Before the opening of the new school last year, Nick secured Big Lottery funding with the help of Springboard, Learning Pembrokeshire, for a project that would link families in the two communities, who were anxious about their children moving to a new school.

Gelliswick has run more than 70 courses with Springboard, engaging 187 different adults, and from a purpose-built community room at the new premises, the school now provides a combination of adult-only and family learning three times a week.

Nick said: “I’m immensely proud to work at a school where there is such a warm respect and welcome for everyone – no matter who you are. I believe that makes us a positive force in our community where everyone matters. The children come first in everything at Gelliswick, but we know that one of the best ways of putting children first is to help families to believe in themselves too.”