The High School

 

at

 

 

Llanfair Caereinion

(since 1957)

 

 

 

In September 1957, Llanfair Caereinion Bilateral School, along with other secondary schools in the county, became the Llanfair Caereinion High School.

 

In 1958 the departure of Mr. Dean Jones meant the school had a new Headmaster, Mr. Bryniog Howells

 

 

(Mr. Howells is on the left of the photograph with the 1958-59 boys football team along with Mr. Hubert Hughes, Games Teacher).

 

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Mr Bryniog Howells  had been educated at  Amman Valley Grammar School and UCW Aberystwyth.   In 1947 he took up a post as Senior Latin master at Brynhyfryed School, Ruthin.    On 1st. January 1958 he became the new headmaster at Llanfair Caereinion but left after only three and a half years, at the end of the summer term 1961 to take up the post of Headmaster at Gwendraeth Grammar School.

 

Mr. Howells immediately introduced new, radical changes to the curriculum.

 

The grammar stream pupils were to receive a more generous allocation of time for Science lessons so that Physics and Chemistry as well as Biology would be available.  General Science, which until then had been the only Science offered up to 'O' Level, would now only be taken by pupils who failed to make the grade in Physics and Chemistry.

 

For the modern stream pupils a new rural studies course was introduced which would fit into the background, interests and future careers of the majority of these pupils.  Practical as well as theory lessons were introduced in fruit cultivation, bee-keeping, horticulture, animal husbandry including chickens and sheep and intensive nursery cultivation using frames and glasshouses. 

 

(Miss Joy Hamer)

 

Mr. Howells also made changes in the school uniform and insisted that the boys, as well as the girls, should have a distinctive uniform.  At around the same time Edgar Lewis, a pupil at the school, won a competition to design a new school badge. His entry was based around the word Einion, which is the other name for the River Banwy which runs through the town.  Since Einion also means an anvil in Welsh, this became the main symbol on the badge on which rested an open book and the letters Ll C.  The motto from the old badge, Golud Pawb ei Ymgais (One's effort is one's reward), was kept and included in the new badge.

 

The old School Badge                                    The new School Badge

(from the School Magazine 1958)

 

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Towards the end of the 1950's Montgomeryshire Education Authority decided to abandon the 11+ examination and convert all the county’s Bilateral Schools into Comprehensives.  Instead of pupils entering one of the two streams (either Grammar or Modern) in a school, they would now be mixed but streamed within each subject.  As a result of this policy change, in 1960  Llanfair Caereinion High School became one of the first comprehensive schools in the county.

 

An interesting insight into life at the school at this time can be seen in the intermittent publication of a School Magazine which had an editorial board of pupils and teachers.  We know that one edition of Cylchgrawn Caereinion, the school magazine, was published in 1951.  The earliest copy to hand however, is from 1958 when the editorial board included Barbara Edwards, John Edwards, Allan W Hughes, Kathleen Jones, Glynwen Evans, Allana Bennett, Maldwyn Evans and Miss M. Jehu (Senior Mistress), Mr. P.K. Bamford (French teacher) and Mr Glyn Evans.

 

In 1959, after the adoption of the new school badge, the magazine was renamed Yr Einion - The Anvil.  Editions were published annually between 1959 and 1969, and one lone issue appeared in 1975.

 

The magazines provided Form News, school team results and notes, stories, memories, poems, the retirement and moving on of teachers, Sixth Form Conferences for CEWC, educational cruises to Spain on the Devonia and Nevasa and reminiscences from former pupils.  Here are some quotes from the Magazines :

 

1958 - "The Hockey and Football teams have travelled and entertained on numerous occasions this year, and, although success has sometimes eluded them, their spirit and effort has always been most praiseworthy."

 

1959 - "When a person is enthusiastic about homework the chances are that he's a teacher."

 

1960 - "The year started off well with practically every pupil wearing a shiny new badge on his/her blazer.   It is to be hoped that this badge will constantly remind the wearer of the motto it bears."

 

Some photographs of the period:-

 

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Mr. Hubert Hughes and pupils during a school trip to Vincennes in 1959

 

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The school netball team in 1960 with Miss Mona Williams.

 

 

 

In 1961, the Headmaster, Mr. B. Howells left.  His successor was Mr. Aled P. Jones, a former History teacher at the school (1950-55).

 

More quotes from Yr Einion - The Anvil.

 

1967 - Kingsley Whiffen - signed as a professional goalkeeper by Chelsea - returned to school to answer questions put to him by some of our school footballers

1967 – Mr Lister left us after three years teaching Chemistry at the school.  A native of Yorkshire he was very fond of cricket and was always keen to show the boys how to bat.

 

Teacher:                                        ‘I’m seeing the ball well today’

Over observant pupil:                   ‘But you haven’t hit it yet sir.’

Teacher:                                        ‘No, but I can see it going past.’

 

 

1968 - Last September we returned to a school newly painted inside and out.  It's good to think that however dull we may be, at least the walls are bright. -  The heating system has given us trouble.  We went home one day it was so cold.  Since then we have tried running around the school turning the radiators off, but it does not work.

 

1969 -" How pleased we are to hear that William Roberts (Form Six) was the first boy in Montgomeryshire to gain the Duke of Edinburgh's Golden Award."

 

1970 - Robert Jones, (the School’s PE teacher today) winner of the mile race in the triangular athletics meeting between Montgomeryshire, Cardigan and Merioneth.

 

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1975 – The name of our boat was “Penn ar bed” which in Breton meant “Chief of the world”.  I had never been on such a large boat as this before.  The voyage across the Channel took eight hours.

 

I saw France for the first time on a Saturday afternoon and after a bus journey of fifty miles we reached Pleyben.   I received a warm welcome from my penfriend’s family.  His home was a farm … they all wore clogs around the farm … after dinner we played football against the Pleyben school team; and lost 5 – 0 … I met a man who had been a member of the Resistance during the war … I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope to keep in contact with Brittany.  (Gwyn Roberts)

 

Under Mr. Aled Jones' headship the school continued to grow and develop.  By 1962 there were 290 pupils on roll.

 

In 1965 a major change took place when the first Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) exams were sat.  The CSE was created to provide nationally approved qualifications for those pupils who had been in the old 'modern' stream as well as encouraging many of these pupils to stay on in school beyond Form 4.  Some of these pupils were able to progress into Form VI and take ‘A’ Levels.

 

Another change occurred during the period of Edward Heath's Conservative government, 1970-74, when the school leaving age was raised to 16.  As a result, the number of pupils on roll increased again as did the number of pupils sitting the O level and CSE exams.  Pupils not wanting to sit these exams could leave school either at the Easter or Whit of Form 5 (Year 11), depending on their birthday.  However, the school had to provide a suitable, non-exam based, ROSLA (Raising of the School Leaving Age) curriculum for them, including those with special needs, so that they could benefit from the extra time they now had to spend in school.

 

Photograph of High School Staff  1973.

 

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Back Row: Peter Watkin (Biology), Dafydd Griffiths (Cymraeg), Michael Matthews (RE and Rural Science), Merfyn Roberts (History), Ron Jones (Chemistry)

Middle Row: Kevin Bamford (French), Vic Gowers (Woodwork), Andrew Edmondson (Art), Dai Bennett (Maths), Bryn Hughes (Metalwork), Cyril Evans (Woodwork, Maths & Geog), Ifor Baines (Cymraeg), John Ellis (PE) Ieuan Thomas (Physics)

Front Row: Eileen Taylor  (Textiles), Mrs Eira Jones (Cookery), Mrs Wynn Astley (Senior Mistress), Mr. Aled P. Jones (Headmaster), Mr. Arthur Jones (Deputy Head & Geography), Mrs. Heather Caldecott (School  Secretary), Mrs Eryl Morgan  (Music), Miss Sylvia Ryder (PE).

 

 

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Photograph (1974 or 1975), shows Mr. Aled Jones (left) and Mr. Arthur Jones (Right) with Sixth Formers:

Back Row: Ella Williams, Delyth Watkins, Delyth Jones, Karen  Williams, Menna Roberts, Joyce Harding, Velmai Lomas, Jean Pryce, Moyra Jones

Middle Row:  David Whitfield Jones, Noel Evans, Kevin Jones, Paul Greatorex, Geraint Roberts, Terry Jones, Alun Evans, Philip Davies

Front Row:  Yvonne Lloyd, Lesley Mytton, Catrin Hughes, Olwen Davies, Sian Owen, Marian Thomas, Heulwen Evans, Mair Lewis,  Elsbeth Jones.

 

 

 

With the subsequent increase in pupil numbers, extra teaching room had to be found.  However, unlike other schools in the county, no money was allocated for the building of new classrooms at Llanfair.  Instead internal alterations took place within the existing building.  The first changes came when two of the cloakrooms, at either end of the ground floor, were converted, into a television room and teaching room.   Much of this work was carried out by a dedicated group of parents and teachers under the direction of Mr. Vic Gowers, the woodwork teacher.

 

When Mr. Aled Jones and his family moved to a new bungalow near the primary school, Maes y Neuadd was taken over by the High School.  The ground floor was converted into an Art Room and the first floor bedrooms became small classrooms.  Later the first floor rooms were used as a Textiles/Needlework Room.

 

Also, during Mr Aled Jones' headship attempts had been made to teach History, Geography and RE through the medium of Welsh.  However the uptake had been small and the policy discontinued.  This was partly due to the fact that, with the growing influx of English speaking people into Mid-Wales, the proportion of Welsh speaking pupils had been declining slowly within the school's natural catchment area - from approximately 63%-37% English-Welsh split in 1970 to 75%-25% by 1981.

         

Pupils who were at the school during this time, especially Sixth Formers, will well remember Mr. Arthur Jones' domain - "Paradise" -the Geography Room on top corridor.  The ultimate sanction for those foolish enough to misbehave or forget to do their Geography homework was a lunchtime "tea-party" (detention).

 

The Physics Laboratory, under the watchful eye of Mr. Ieuan Thomas, became the home of the Table Tennis Club at lunchtimes.

 

At the same time, Mr Vic Gowers began a sailing club at the High School.

 

"The hobby of sailing is a great one; it combines speed, effortlessly and noiselessly given by the wind, with danger and skill.  And it is a skill hard to attain.  It is one thing to get the dingy sailing on the water but a completely different thing to make it go where you want it to go."   (Nicholas Pomfrett - Form VI - Yr Einion  - 1975)

 

 

Below is a photograph of Mr. Gowers, Neil Bright, Nicholas Pomfrett, Glyn Jones, Wayne Morgan, David Davies, Arwel Jones and Dewi Watkins with the dinghy, Y Cwch Gwyn, which they had built to use on Lake Clywedog.

 

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More photographs from the 1960’s and 70’s.     

‘Blodau’r Banwy’ – Eleri Thomas, Alwenna James, John Hughes and Alun Roberts – the school pop group after releasing their record  'Caru ar y Ffon' in 1970

 

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Glyn Lewis winning a Welsh schoolboys cap in 1966

 

 

Pupils enjoying free time by the School Swimming Pool - late 1960's.

 

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Members of the School Basket Ball Team – County Senior Champions in 1977:- Back Row:  Maurice Evans, Colin Foulkes, Richard Thomas.  Front Row: Glyn Jones, Christopher Stone, Richard Jones.

 

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The Folk Dancers

 

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A young Mr. John Ellis on Sports Day (which was for the whole school!) including Jean Andrew, Caroline Jones, Shan Ellis, Delyth Lewis.etc..

 

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    The Senior Girls Choir  at Llangollen – Conductor Mrs. Eryl Morgan (not in photograph)

 

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School Table Tennis Club:

Back – Mr Vic Gowers, Huw Bebb, Richard Mills, Mr. Ieuan Thomas

Front – Arwel Blainey, Barry Watkins, David Davies, Tom Jones

 

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The netball team:-

Back: Awel Davies, Gwenan James, Janet Thomas, Shan Ellis

Front: Janet Gittins, Miss Jenny  Vaughan-Jones, Nerys Jones, Sian James, Gwenan Jones.

 

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Time Judges on Sports Day :  Mr Harry Jones, Mrs. Heather Caldecott, Mrs Eileen Humphreys and Mr. Merfyn Roberts.

Adding up the House Points :   Mr. Wyndham Evans (partly hidden), Mr. Kevin Bamford, Mr. Derek Painter.

 

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In 1979 Mr. Aled P. Jones, who had suffered ill-health for a number of years, died suddenly.  Mr. John Ellis, who had succeeded Mr. Arthur Jones as Deputy Head in 1976, became acting Headmaster until Mr. Aled Jones’ successor could be appointed.

 

In September 1979, Mr. T. Elgan Davies, BSc., a native of Cardiganshire, took up his post as Headmaster of the school.

 

Mr. Elgan Davies and Staff - 1979-80

 

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Back row:  Peter Watkin (Biology); Michael Matthews (Rural Science & RE), Mike Ashton (English), Merfyn Roberts (History)

Third Row:   Mrs. June Aldridge (Home Economics), Harry Jones (Metalwork), Robert Jones (PE), Ieuan Thomas (Physics), Moira Jones (Cymraeg), Mrs. Pat Ellis (Special Needs), Ann Gwyn Evans (Daearyddiaeth), Mrs. Helen Davies (Technician).

Second Row:   Ron Jones (Chemistry), Angharad Jones (Bioleg), Jenny Vaughan Jones (PE), Derek Painter (Maths), Kevin Bamford (French), Vic Gowers (Woodwork), Dafydd Griffiths (Cymraeg), John Hicks (Art).

Front Row:   Mrs. Heather Caldecott (Secretary), Mrs. Eileen Humphreys (Textiles), Mr. Arthur Jones (Geography), Mr. John Ellis (Deputy Head), Mr. Elgan Davies (Headmaster), Mrs. Wynn Astley (Senior Mistress),  Miss Eleanor Mills (Cymraeg), Mrs. Eryl Gowers (Music)

 

At the beginning of the 1980's there was fresh speculation concerning the High School’s future.  Mrs. Thatcher’s new Conservative government was eager to cut public spending and looked especially at the number of surplus school places in each authority.  With the number of pupils falling in the larger schools like Welshpool, it did seem to some to be economically wasteful to maintain small rural schools like Llanfair.  At the same time a new primary school was needed in Llanfair while Oldford Primary School in Welshpool needed extra buildings but the County could not afford both. One Councillor argued that Llanfair Caereinion High School should close and pupils could be bussed to other nearby High Schools e.g. Llanfair and Castle pupils could go to Welshpool; Meifod and the Banwy valley pupils could attend Llanfyllin while pupils from Manafon, Pantycrai and New Mills could go to Newtown.  The High school buildings could then become Llanfair’s  ‘new’ Primary School.

 

After a public meeting with Mr. T.A.V. Evans, Powys’ Deputy Director of Education, it was agreed that as long as Llanfair could maintain its pupil numbers at around 300-320 the school's future woul be guaranteed - at least for some years.

 

It was against this background that new policies were adopted which would attract more pupils to Llanfair.

 

The extension of the catchment area to give Tregynon and Bettws pupils the choice of either attending Newtown or Llanfair High School helped.  However, suggestions to include Berriew in the Llanfair catchment area came to nothing.

 

In 1981 Mr. Elgan Davies took advantage of extra funding from the Welsh Office to re-introduce the teaching of some subjects through the medium of Welsh.  This had the dual purpose of reviving the numbers of Welsh speaking pupils and also increasing the numbers on roll by attracting more pupils from outside the natural catchment area.  The policy was therefore intended to attract pupils who had attended the Welsh units at Hafren and Maesydre and who, up until then, had mostly moved on to their local High School and abandoned Welsh medium education.

 

At first only History, Geography and RE were offered through the medium of Welsh up to the end of Form 3 (Year 9).

 

In 1984, a new Headmaster, Mr. John Eilir Lewis, a native of Cardiganshire who had been Deputy Head at Newtown High School, succeeded Mr. Elgan Davies who left to become Headmaster at Newcastle Emlyn High School .

 

Staff photograph at the very beginning of Mr Lewis' Headship  and on the retirement of Miss Eleanor Mills

 

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Back Row (Left) : Mike Ashton, John Williams, Derek Painter.

Fourth Row: Pat Ellis, Harry Jones, Robert Jones, Dr. Jobling, June Aldridge, Mari Griffiths, Merfyn Roberts, John Hicks.

Third Row: Hayley Owen, Rhian Dafydd, Mary Morris, Eileen Humphreys, Anne Gwyn Evans, Eryl Gowers, Heather Caldecott, Hilary Davies, Michael Crowther, Berian John.

Seated Second Row: Michael Matthews, Kevin Bamford, Peter Watkin, ArthurJones, Ieuan Thomas.Seated

Front Row: John Eilir Lewis (Headmaster), Eleanor Mills (Senior Mistress - retiring), John Ellis (Deputy Head).