Matt Johnson (l), Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof teachers Nia Norman and Rebecca McConnell, John Bishop (r)A Welsh-medium Cardiff-based primary school has been recognised as 2019’s most compassionate school class across England and Wales, at the RSPCA Honours awards ceremony in London last night.

The Year 3 class at Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof entered their creative animation into the RSPCA competition and beat 700 schools across England and Wales in winning the ‘Most Compassionate Class’ award for 2019.

Judges were hugely impressed by the Welsh-language animation, which incorporated into a short production a number of key animal welfare messages.

The animation can be viewed online – and it is hoped will inspire other schools across England and Wales to utilise the RSPCA’s educational resources, and competete for the most compassionate class accolade in the future.

RSPCA’s project – part of the charity’s ambitious prevention programme Generation Kind – helps children to learn about animal welfare with online resources guiding teachers on a variety of subjects from pets, farm animals and wildlife with interactive games and activities to encourage children to think and discuss animal’s needs.

The programme finishes with the chance to enter the Most Compassionate Class awards and Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof was picked as the winner by a team of RSPCA judges.

RSPCA celebrity ambassador, and Welshman, Matt Johnson presented Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof with their award last night.

Dave Allen, Head of Prevention and Education at the RSPCA said: “This school has created an animated video about the rules you need to follow to keep animals safe and healthy in a whole series of environments.

“We were just blown away by how cleverly they put together all of our messages into one short animation. Their work also demonstrates the immense importance of the RSPCA translating our educational resources into the Welsh language.

“Compassionate Class is all about developing compassion and empathy through the lens of animal welfare and the programme encourages children to think about the needs of animals and help them to realise that animals have feelings and are sentient.

“The activities teach children about the five animal welfare needs, while the resources get them talking and debating about the importance of animals and creates an awareness of how we should respect them and each other. In turn, we hope this will help to create a kinder society in the future.”

Resources are designed to fit into the national curriculum covering PSHE in England and the PSE curriculum in Wales, plus they support Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education (SMSC) and other core subjects.

The hope is that Compassionate Class will reach 160,000 children per year with an aim to reach 1.6 million children by 2030, as part of the RSPCA’s groundbreaking programme Generation Kind.

As well as receiving the award and prestigious title, the teachers were invited to the RSPCA Honours awards event held at 195 Piccadilly, the famous home of BAFTA in London last night (Thursday 27 June, 2019).

Following their recognition through the Honours, and as part of their prize, the pupils will also get to visit an RSPCA animal centre to see firsthand the vital work that the charity does in caring for animals.

Year 3 teacher Nia Norman at Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof, said: “We felt taking part in Compassionate Class would be a great opportunity for the children to build compassion towards animals and hopefully each other as a result. The children loved learning about animals, their habitats and their needs. They were all very passionate about protecting animals’ environments and what we as individuals can do to help preserve them.

“I’m super proud of the children, they worked so hard. We were thrilled to hear that we had won.  We didn’t really enter the competition with a view to winning but to be able to complete the project with the children so that they would have an end product for which they would be really proud.

“The children were so excited when they found out; we hope that they will always remember that they are national winners although of course they’re winners for us every day!”

RSPCA Honours on Thursday evening saw celebrities John Bishop, Deborah Meaden, Peter Egan, Kate Lawler, Matt Johnson and Pete Wicks come together with winners and nominators to celebrate their shared love for animals.

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive at the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA Honours are an opportunity to celebrate the amazing animals and outstanding people who work to improve animal welfare.

“We all share this goal to see a world where animals are treated with respect and compassion and so as the oldest and biggest animal welfare charity in England and Wales, the RSPCA takes great honour in celebrating these amazing individuals, animals, and incredible organisations at the RSPCA Honours awards.”

If you are a school interested in taking part in Compassionate Class, all the resources are available on the RSPCA’s education website. To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.