Press releases : Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail wins top Welsh prize in Census 2021 competition

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail in Rhondda Cynon Taf has won new STEM equipment and the chance to announce the Census 2021 results.

The Porth school, received the top prize for Wales in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ‘Let’s Count’ competition, which saw young people from more than 250 primary schools counting things in a 20-minute walk around their school and developing school-centred maps and displays.

Ceri Hughes and Aled Hughes, class teachers who undertook the project at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail, said: “We are very proud of our pupils and delighted to have won both the best Welsh and overall runner up categories in the Census 2021 ‘Let’s Count’ competition. The project gave the children the opportunity to lead the learning, guided by excellent bilingual resources. Pupils were motivated throughout the project and developed their cross-curricular skills in line with the Curriculum for Wales. They enjoyed sharing the information with their parents and are now looking forward to completing the Census themselves in 2031. Who knew data could be so much fun!”

The competition was part of a wider schools’ programme being run by the ONS. Developed by iChild, it included 14 cross-curricular resources, teaching students about the importance of the census and how data can benefit their local areas.

British historian, professor David Olusoga OBE, also delivered a live virtual lesson on diversity, inclusion and the census to thousands of school kids.

As part of the Let’s Count competition, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail compared the number of Welsh language speakers across Wales using data from the 1901 and 2011 Census. They compared the number of Welsh Speakers in different counties across Wales, paying particular attention to their own community including calculating the number of languages spoken within the school.

“It was great to see so much enthusiasm and creativity from all the Let’s Count entries, with children really bringing the census to life in so many ways,” deputy national statistician Iain Bell said. “We had so many wonderful entries and it was really difficult picking winners.

“Census 2021 has proved a real success and we now look forward to seeing the two winning schools from Hampshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf help us reveal the first results next year.”

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail will receive STEM equipment vouchers for the school. St Alban’s CE Primary School, Hampshire, won the overall prize. Both schools will also play a role in the unveiling of the first Census 2021 results next spring.

Runners up have been chosen and will also receive £250 worth of equipment from Technology Will Save Us (TWSU). They are:

  • Sir John Sherbrooke Junior School, Nottinghamshire
  • East Tilbury Primary School, Essex
  • St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Willesden
  • St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, Stockton on Tees
  • Claremont Primary School, Manchester
  • Calstock Primary School, Cornwall
  • St Matthews C of E Primary School, Birmingham
  • Diamond Wood Community Academy, Dewsbury

Phil Bird, CEO of Family & Education and iChild said: “The standard of entries into the Let’s Count competition was so high and it was very difficult to select the winners. It is clear that children have shown such wonderful imagination in how they have used counting and data to make a difference at school and in their local community. The pupils at both winning schools, St Alban’s CE Primary in Hampshire and Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail in Porth, demonstrated great creativity in their counting projects and produced inspiring displays and videos. Let’s Count! aimed to help improve maths, geography, history and writing skills, using Census 2021, a significant real-life event, as a stimulus. It is wonderful to see how many schools have really embraced this education programme.”

Census Day took place on Sunday, March 21 and has had a brilliant response. If you haven’t completed your census, time is running out before the online questionnaire closes. Help and paper questionnaires are still available to request until June 11 through the census contact centre on freephone 0800 141 2021 in England and 0800 169 2021 in Wales.

Households who actively refuse to take part face a £1000 fine.

Note to editors

  • Entrants were judged by a panel of experts including ONS Deputy National Statistician, Iain Bell, Mathematics in Education and Industry Primary Maths Specialist, Alison Hopper, Lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield, Dr Yinka Olusoga, chair of National Association for the Teaching of English, Peter Thomas, Primary Curriculum Leader at Geographical Association, Jon Cannell and managing director of Family and Education and iChild, Phil Bird.