Radyr Comprehensive School is a leading secondary school and sixth form college in Cardiff. Located in the leafy suburb of Radyr, the school provides an ideal environment for successes both in the classroom and outside.
New Head teacher Andrew Williams, 45, took over in the New Year, after ten years as Deputy Head. The father of three from Pembrokeshire will lead the comprehensive into its 40th year in 2013.
The 1,260 pupils age 11-18 live within a catchment area including Radyr, Morganstown, Creigiau, Pentyrch and Tongwynlais. They include nearly 300 sixth form students, many of whom go onto prestigious universities in England and Wales. Of this year’s 11 Oxbridge candidates, eight gained interviews and three received former offers.
The school prides itself on developing both academic and extra curricula abilities.
“My education philosophy involves developing the whole child,” Mr Williams says. “We’ve got a fantastic reputation for getting students through the education system and getting good results. But we’re also one of the best schools for extra curricula activities.”
A state-of-the-arts sports hall, Astroturf pitch, gymnasium and swimming pool within the school grounds all support the extra-curricula programme.
The Welsh Assembly Government’s 5x60 programme, aiming to get 90% of children taking part in regular exercise, is fully endorsed by the school.
Despite efforts to support the wider community, funding coming into the school is minimal. Mr Williams admits: “We get over £700 per pupil less than in England, equating to just over £900,000 overall. That has a huge impact. We’ve been forced to make some very difficult decisions to maintain a healthy bank balance.”
Efforts to maximise funding through high pupil intake are constantly being measured against capacity pressures in the classroom.
“It’s important for us to remain at capacity, but some of the classrooms could benefit from regeneration to support the pupil numbers,” Mr Williams says.
In spite of the financial situation, Mr Williams has been striving to bring the school forward since he took over. He says: “I want to shape the school in my eyes. Being deputy head for several years, I already know the school, its staff, strengths weaknesses, and where to make changes.”
Older students are given responsibility in order to equip them for post-school life. The year 11s and sixth formers mingle with the community at lunchtimes, and are expected to represent the school in a positive way. Mr Williams comments: “When they are in the village wearing the badge for Radyr, they are ambassadors for the school.”
They are also actively involved with recycling and healthy eating strategies.
Mr Williams speaks fondly of his job. He says: “Radyr is a fabulous place to work. The staff members feel blessed to work here. Our students are incredibly talented and keen to learn. The results improve year on year.
“We’re proud of our ability to make a difference to the children, and giving them the opportunities to move forward.
“But we’re not a school that likes to rest on its laurels. We’re always trying to bring things forward into the future.”
Headteacher Andrew Williams
Location Heol Isaf