Llandaff cathedral school
1. Llandaff Cathedral SchoolLlandaff
2. The Cathedral School, LlandaffThe Cathedral School, Llandaff is a coeducational independent day school located in Llandaff, a district north of
the Welsh capital Cardiff. Originally established as a choral foundation to train choir boys for the affiliated Llandaff
Cathedral, it is now part of the Woodard Schools foundation and continues to provide choristers for the cathedral. It is
the only surviving Anglican choir school in Wales and is a member of the ISC, IAPS and the Choir Schools Association.
The school survived an impoverished time
during 1691, when it was called the Free
School, and was housed in the Chapter House.
Between 1744 and 1746, the present school,
designed by John Wood of Bath, was built on
the site of Bryn-y-Gynnen. It was known
originally as Llandaff Court and was owned
by Thomas Mathews. Admiral Matthews
heartily disliked the building, comparing it to a
"3 Decker" ship. It is nonetheless considered
"the most complete and well-proportioned
eighteenth-century building in the Cardiff
area", buildings of that period being a rarity in
the city. In 1840 the office of Dean was revived
and the Cathedral was restored by John
Prichard. The present school chapel was
designed by Ewan Christian in 1858–9.
An article in The Guardian in 1871, which
carried an account of the start of a boarding
school for choristers in Salisbury, gave the
Reverend Fishbourne the idea for a similar
establishment in Llandaff for some 20 boys—all
potential choristers. The School was housed in
a small house near Llandaff Bridge. Soon after,
the Chapter cut down Fishbourne's original
scheme—much to his disappointment.
In 1879, when Dr. Vaughan became Dean, he
began plans for a school (now demolished) for
around 50 boys at The Cathedral Green in
Llandaff village and this was opened in 1880.
Dean Vaughan had been headmaster at Harrow
School and was a great scholar; the school was
opened in the village in 1880 and remained on
that site until 1958. Dean Vaughan died in 1897
leaving the school with firm foundations.
A German landmine severely damaged the nave of the cathedral
in 1941 and, when restoration work was completed in 1955, the
old school building was found to be "unsuitable", causing it to
be moved to the present premises three years later, which had
until then been used as the Bishop's Palace. In 1961, the
Cathedral School became a member of the Woodard Schools, a
family of Anglican schools in England and Wales. Girls were first
admitted in 1978 and now make up over one-third of the
student population. In 2001 the senior school was opened to
children aged 11 to 16. A sixth form was opened in September
While Roald Dahl was a pupil at the school, he was involved in
the "Great Mouse Plot of 1924", which he later described in his
autobiography, Boy: Tales of Childhood.
4. Structure. CurriculumThe Cathedral School consists of three sections: Infant School (ages 3–7), Junior School (ages 7–11) and Senior School (years
7–13). Sixth form teaching began in September 2013. In the 2012 Estyn inspection, the overarching judgements made by
the inspectors were that the school's current performance was Excellent and that the school's prospects for improvement
Modern Language education begins early, generally during Key Stage 2. In the 2005 inspection, pupils were reported to
have performed well above the national average in National Curriculum tests.
A traditional academic education, with sciences separately taught by specialists, along with a range of modern
languages (French, Spanish, German, Welsh) in addition to Latin, is delivered alongside very competitive sport (senior
pupils have an unusually generous amount of time allocated to sport) and opportunities in the Arts. Pupils have
generally performed well in the GCSE exams. The school was ranked top co-educational school in Wales in 2012 for
GCSE success (The Times, 1 September 2012) Every pupil up to Year 9 receives music tuition for 45 minutes per week in
class, as well as the opportunity to participate in one or more of the many orchestral or choral groups maintained by
the staff of 20 visiting music teachers. Interested pupils may choose to take GCSE music.
5. Pastoral CareEvery pupil in the Senior Section is a member of one of three senior Houses,
named after the Llandaff saints: Dyfrig, Euddogwy and Teilo. The pupils are
cared for by one of five House Tutors, who in turn are overseen by a
Housemaster/mistress. Housemasters, assisted by their tutor teams, are
responsible for pupils' pastoral care, oversight of their academic progress and
personal development. Pupils exercise their leadership skills within the House
context, growing in confidence and ability to relate to others, and to lead and
manage people and events.
Both boy choristers and choral scholars
have done work in the Wales Millennium
Centre, with Welsh National Opera, Bryn
Terfel and Carlo Rizzi, respectively. Music
in general at the Cathedral School is very
strong with numerous pupils at Grade 8
standard. The music department is
housed in the Jubilee building, with a full
range of instruments at one's disposal.
There are also specialist teachers in 20
different instruments. There are
numerous school groups as well, from
School Orchestra to Swing Band, from
Flute Group to Senior Chamber Choir.
Most recently, the school hosted its St
Cecilia's Day Concert at the Wales
Millennium Centre, showcasing the
broad spectrum of the school's finest
choirs and instrumental ensembles,
culminating in an impressive
performance of Fauré’s Requiem.
Drama has thrived only recently in the
Cathedral School but is rapidly expanding.
Recent performances include abridged
versions of Macbeth and Blood Brothers,
as well as HMS Pinafore, A Christmas
Carol and Wind in the Willows. Pupils
have begun writing their own work for
'gala evenings' and many pupils are on
the books of National Youth Theatre.
There are over twenty
different sports played at the
Cathedral School, with pupils
at international level
in cricket, badminton and rug
by, gymnastics and sailing.
Senior School pupils are
encouraged to be active in
sports teams. Unusual for a
choral foundation school, the
Cathedral also offers
scholarships based on
The Revd C.E. Butler (1880–1883)
The Revd E. Owen (1883–1889)
The Revd J.E. Stevenson-More (1889–1905)
The Revd P.R. Cleave (1905–1912)
G.L. Robanthan & R. Brice-Smith (1912–1919)
T.R. Coombes (1919–1946)
N.L. Westbury-Jones (1946–1957)
R.J.B. Hulland (1957–1975)
G.L. Hill (1975–1983)
J.C. Knapp (1983–1993)
D.A. Evans (Acting Head) (1993–1994)
P.L. Gray (1994–2008)
S. Morris (2008–2016 )