An Abergele school is proving a cut above the rest thanks to its own hair and beauty salon.

Pupils at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan can chose to study for GCSEs at the on-site salon – with fellow students, family and local residents all snapping up the chance for cut-price treatments.

The students work under the guidance of fully qualified staff – including one mum who went back to the school to brush up on her own qualifications.

Kate Winter now runs her own salon in St Asaph as well as teaching at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, and believes the facility and courses on offer to pupils gives the teenagers a head start in a career in hair and beauty.

The salon is run by Sharon Jones, who has been the school’s head of hair and beauty for 19 years.

She said: “For many years we were located away from the school but we now have a purposely designed salon within the school.

“We have always offered hair and beauty at Keystage 4 for Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan pupils and we also take mature students too.

“In fact we also take pupils of other schools who come here to study under the guidance of fully trained and qualified staff. Health and beauty offered at Key Stage 4 counts as two GCSEs.

“And sixth form students can gain professional qualifications at BTEC Level 3 which means they can go straight into work at salons or even open their own business.

“In fact a number of our former students have gone onto open their own salons or are working in salons across the region as well as further afield, even on cruise ships.”

She added: “What we are always in need of are new clients. I’d encourage mums of pupils, in fact anyone from the local area, who would like to sample the service we offer, to get in touch with the school to book and appointment.

“It’s especially important for sixth form students to have the opportunity to carry out treatments on members of the public as part of their course.

“And, as we only charge for the cost of the products used, it’s a great and cheap way of having a new hair style or beauty treatment whether that’s a manicure or something else.”

Kate opened her own salon, Ruby Tuesday, in St Asaph after studying at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan as a mature student.

And the 33-year-old, who named her salon after her own seven-year-old daughter, said: “I actually attended Prestatyn High School and began studying hair and beauty at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan at 18. I didn’t qualify until I was 20 so students studying at the school have a head start.

“I teach students BTEC beauty therapy including manicures, pedicures, facials, make up and client care and product services. It really is very professional.”

She added: “I would also encourage mums and local women to book an appointment at the school’s salon. I even send some of my own clients there as it gives learners some much-needed experience.

“The time I spent studying at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan has proved invaluable when opening my own salon.  And I couldn’t be happier the way the salon and my business is going.”

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan head teacher Lee Cummins said: “Our fully functioning salons offer a wide variety of hair, beauty and sports therapy treatments, all of which are carried out in a professional and stylish environment at affordable prices.

“The aim is to give students the chance to study subjects at GCSE and BTECH standard and give them a good start in their career. It is proving very popular with those living locally, as they can get high quality treatments at affordable prices, as well.”

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan student Shannon Nesbitt, 17, of Bodelwyddan, says she chose to complete her BTEC Level 2 hair and beauty course at the school’s sixth form rather than leave and go to college.

She said: “It’s really good at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan. Everyone connected with the salon is so professional and all the text books and resources you need are here. There are three tutors on the beauty side and two hair tutors.

“I did consider going to college but decided I could do better staying at the school as I knew the teachers and could do just as well, if not better, by staying here. It was the right decision to be honest.

“I feel I’m getting the best help and tutors. And I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I started in Year 10 and I’m now in my final year. I’m now starting my BTEC Level 3 course and would love to work on a cruise ship for a while. If not, perhaps I will look at having my own salon.”

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan students Deanna Dyson, 15 of Towyn and Bethany Mai Pardoe, 14 of Rhyl, say the school’s fully equipped hair and beauty salon is amazing.

Deanna said: “I’m not sure what I want to do when I leave school but it’s great to have options so having the salon here in school is brilliant. It has shown me that hair and beauty might be an option.

“We are encouraged to bring family members in to have a treatment which is a great idea too.”

Bethany said: “I don’t think any other schools in the area have a hair and beauty salon in school or offer the course. I think we are very lucky to have the option.

“I might choose to do hair and beauty as a career – it’s that or perhaps a job working with children. I haven’t really made my mind up yet.”

Esme Archer, 14, of Prestatyn has an ambition to become a police officer but says the school’s hair and beauty salon is a fantastic resource.

She said: “It’s amazing and it’s great having the opportunity to learn different skills. The tutors are excellent and the chance to get a Level 1 qualification is brilliant.”

Yasmin Smith of Pensarn and Sarah Lauder, of Abergele, both 14, agree that they are fortunate to have the option of completing a hair and beauty course wile still at school.

Yasmin, who wants to become a midwife, said: “Not many schools, if any, have a facility like this. We really are lucky in many respects.”

Sarah, who is yet to decide what she wants to do as a career, added: “It makes a real change from other subjects and I don’t think any other school has a salon like this.

“It’s a real chance to do something different and there’s the option of getting a totally different qualification.”

To book an appointment for any hair and beauty treatments or for more information call Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan reception on 01745 832287 and ask for the salon.