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Sue has newts for you

The future of apple scrumping and some rare, great crested newts in a village near Welshpool seem secure - thanks to one of this week's Plato winners, the education world's "Oscars" equivalent.

Teacher Sue Southam picked up her award for her work in involving Guilsfield primary school with its local community - mainly via a series of environmental projects.

As well as creating nature trails in the school and the village, she involved pupils in an initiative to clear an overgrown pool, which was home to the newts.

Other projects have included a junior branch of the Wildlife Trust, planting 2,000 crocus bulbs to mark the millennium, compost bins for the school tuck shop and planting a grove of apple trees.

"A lot of the children haven't learned about what a buttercup or a dandelion is," she said. "They all come to school by car.

"It is something that those who are maybe not so academic throw themselves into. It is real hands-on learning."

As she received her Plato at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, Ms Southam thanked the local community for being so supportive, and the children "who are the driving force behind everything".

Christine Robinson, head of Guilsfield, particularly praised her colleague's work in bringing older people into the school to talk about treasured articles and their associated memories.

"It was about valuing people. These days we watch the TV and don't hand on stories so easily."

Plato awards 3

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