UK

David Cameron And Barack Obama Go Back To School In Newport

04/09/2014 14:07 BST | Updated 04/09/2014 15:59 BST

A primary school in Newport was overtaken by world leaders on Thursday, as delegates arrived in Wales for the Nato summit.

Before leaders gather to discuss Afghanistan later today, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron pulled up a couple of child-sized chairs at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Rogerstone.

While a ring of steel has been erected in Cardiff city centre, the small primary school was swamped by a 22-car convoy carrying the two leaders, the BBC reported.

The road along Ruskin Avenue, usually busy with parents dropping their youngsters off, looked more like a scene from an action film as scores of police officers and White House security officials stood guard while a helicopter hovered overhead.

Children then had to go through a metal detector before the flashing blue lights of the US president's motorcade pulled up at the school gates - his black stretch limousine bearing a Welsh flag for the first time in history.

Obama greeted the youngsters in Welsh saying "bore da" - "good morning" - and then listened to a welcome message, thanking him for being the first serving US president to visit Wales.

The president then posed alongside Cameron for a classic politician's photo shoot in front of smiling, and slightly bemused-looking children.

Barack Obama and David Cameron visit a Primary school in Newport, Wales

Deputy headteacher Andrew Rothwell said the day would be one staff and pupils would never forget.

"It's been a real pleasure to host Barack Obama and David Cameron," he said. "As you can see, the children have not stopped smiling. It's given them a tremendous sense of pride.

"We feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen for the visit. It's quite funny how it came about because in July we tweeted a picture to Nato's account with a drawing the children had done of the Nato logo asking for a VIP visit.

"We then later formally applied to host a Nato-themed event at our school, but had no idea as to what it would be.

"I don't know if the tweet helped or not, but when we found out that the visit would involve the US president and the Prime Minister everyone was gobsmacked."

After speaking with schoolchildren for about 40 minutes, the two leaders left in their respective convoys - to more flag-waving and loud cheers.

Some onlookers had brought ladders while others stood on walls or even on the back of bikes to try to get the best view.

Among the 300 people outside the school gates was college student Jay Singh, 16.

He said: "It's pretty surreal, Barack Obama being in Rogerstone. It's great that he's come here and shows Newport has plenty to offer and it's not just about Cardiff."

Local councillor Chris Evans added it had given the area a big boost.

"It has brought the whole community together," he said. "It's especially good after the recent bad news we've had with 600 job cuts at a bakery firm."

And grandparents Chris and Bronwen Green, both 67, were pleased the president would be addressing the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Mr Green - waving a flag with the Welsh Dragon, Star Spangled banner and the black, white and blue of Estonia, said: "Our son lives out in Tallin in Estonia - which is only a 120 miles away from Russian tanks. It's understandable people there ate getting quite concerned."

Mrs Green added: "We both like Obama. He seems to have his finger on the pulse."

And local resident Sally Pyrah-Barnes, 47, said the day felt like a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience.

"It's good Barack Obama took time out from the summit to acknowledge the local city and the local kids," she said.

Children at the 230-pupil school are among youngsters from across Wales who have written postcards to leaders attending the summit, telling them what they would like to see changed in the world by the time they are adults.

Their messages of hope for the future will be presented to Nato leaders at the summit.