St. Julian’s Infant and Junior School was built in 1952 and opened in 1953 – the infant building opening on 4th May and the junior building on the 1st September. The school was built as one of five new schools across the city (alongside Gaer, Alway, Malpas and Maesglas schools) in order to meet the needs of the post-war increase in birth rate.
Miss Winter was appointed as the first headteacher of the infant school and Miss Fry was appointed as the first headteacher of the Junior School. The official opening ceremony for the five new schools took place at Gaer Junior School on November 6th in 1953 at 5pm. It was attended by the Mayor of Newport – Cllr. William Pinnell, Chairman of the Council’s Education Committee – Trevor Vaughan and the Minister for Education – Florence Horsbrugh MP. The St. Julian’s Junior School Choir performed at the event, led by teacher Mrs Smith.
Cllr. Trevor Vaughan, chairman of the Education Committee, and his wife visited St. Julian’s Junior school at 3:15pm on 22nd October 1953 to plant a flowering cherry tree to mark the Queen’s coronation year – this tree is the large tree in front of the Junior main.
In the 60s/70s, the Parent Teacher Association raised enough money to purchase a swimming pool. This outdoor pool was built on site and many past pupils remember swimming in it, and particularly how cold it was! (picture can be seen here). The last swim in the pool was in 1984, when the pool was removed.
In the 70s, a separate nursery block was constructed on site, offering 112 part-time places to 3-4 year olds.
In 2001, the Infant school took part in CITV’s ‘Roger and the Rottentrolls’ which was aired on national television.
In June 2002, children from the school met Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Newport as part of her Golden Jubilee tour of the United Kingdom.
In 2009, the Junior and Infant schools amalgamated to form St. Julian’s Primary School. Mr David Rees, who had been the headteacher of the junior school, was re-appointed as headteacher of the primary school.
In 2010, St. Julian’s Primary School was chosen by Council Education Officers to work alongside a small group of educators across the city to develop an education resource pack for schools based on the Ryder Cup, which was hosted in Newport that year. School children were involved in the launch of the pack and attended the Celtic Manor during the tournament to watch the golfers play.
In 2011, the school came first in the PICTFOR (Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum) National IT competition, winning £5200 to spend on technology for the school. The school then won the Wales regional award in the same competition in 2012.
In 2013, the school featured on the CBBC TV Program ‘Incredible Edibles’, where children and staff created fizzy milk in a science experiment and tasted a range of foods including brains fried in breadcrumbs! The show was recorded on the bottom infant playground, with a large production lorry and set.
In 2015, staff from St. Julian’s Primary built a link with Busiu Primary School in Uganda, with staff from both schools taking part in exchange visits. St. Julian’s Primary then set up links between five other Newport Schools and Ugandan Schools, leading another exchange visit in 2019 involving eight Newport teachers and five Ugandan teachers. Huw Lewis and later Kirsty Williams, Education Ministers for Wales, supported the visits and met with the Ugandan school staff at The Senedd during their visit to Wales both times.
In July 2015, St. Julian’s Primary School went viral when staff and pupils recorded a flashmob dance on the playground to celebrate the service and retirement of teacher, Mrs Gabica. The original video had over 2,000,000 views on YouTube and news outlets across the world were contacting the school to arrange interviews with staff and pupils.
In 2016, St. Julian’s Primary School was selected by the Welsh Government as one of thirteen ‘Digital Pioneer Schools’ across Wales to assist with developing the national Digital Competence Framework for schools. The school was then chosen as a Professional Learning Pioneer School and Quality Improvement Pioneer school, involved in developing the Areas of Learning for the new Curriculum for Wales.
In October 2018, Estyn judged the school to be ‘Excellent’ in all five inspection areas.
In December 2019, the school was selected by the Welsh Government to host members of the Atlantic Rim Collaboratory, a group of senior education officials from across eight countries. School staff presented elements of the school’s curriculum at the ARC conference in the Hilton Hotel, Cardiff.
In July 2020, the school bid farewell to Mrs Christine Arnold who retired after 40 years of service at the age of 72. Mrs Arnold had been one of the school’s very first pupils in 1953. She was later employed at the school as a midday supervisor in 1980 and then became the School Clerk in 1993.
In July 2021, St. Julian’s held a garden party and afternoon-tea on the school field to mark the retirement of Mrs Anne Evans. Mrs Evans joined the school in 1978, moving from Alway Primary. She served at the school for 43 years and is the longest serving teacher at the school ever, and one of the longest serving teachers in Newport Local Authority. Although Mrs Evans decided it was time for her to retire, she couldn’t bear to fully leave just yet and currently remains on staff working two days a week.
Nine out of the seventy-nine staff currently employed at the school are former pupils of St. Julian’s Primary.