Bishop Hedley High School
|Motto||Duw a Digon
(Welsh: God is enough)
|Type||Voluntary aided comprehensive|
|Local authority||Merthyr Tydfil|
|DfE URN||401829 Tables|
Bishop Hedley High School is a Roman Catholic secondary school, established in 1967, and located in Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. The vast majority of the pupils of the school stem from the Heads of the Valleys, serving parishes from Aberdare, Hirwaun, Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr Vale, Gurnos, Dowlais, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar and Rhymney. The school serves a catchment area of economic disadvantage which is a result of the decline of heavy industry, especially mining and steelmaking in the South Wales Valleys and the surrounding areas.
Bishop Hedley is a member of the Eco-Schools. As a school, it has gained a bronze, silver and a 1st green flag.
Bishop Hedley was established in 1967 due to the growing need to cater for the large populace of Catholic youth aged 11–18 in the Merthyr Tydfil and Heads of the Valleys area. The school was named after John Cuthbert Hedley, Bishop of Newport, who opened the first Roman Catholic Church (St. Illtyd's) in the Merthyr Valley in 1863. The school was expanded to a second phase in 1973.
Subjects and curriculum
In KS3, pupil partake in English, Mathematics, Science (in year 9, this changes to chemistry, physics and biology as they start GCSE Science early), RE, ICT, Welsh, French, Art, History, Geography, Music, Design & Technology and Drama.
In KS4, pupils study English Language, English Literature, Science, Additional Science, Mathematics, Welsh (Short Course), RE, and PSE. Pupils then have three choices out of ICT, Welsh, French, Art, History, Geography, Music, Design & Technology, Drama, Business Studies.Also at GCSE Welsh, students are offered a 'boost class' in Year 11 if these choose not to do GCSE Full Course Welsh at the end of Year 9. Students then boost up from Short Course to Full Course. This has been a success and continues to be a success. It is run by Head of Welsh, Mrs. Elaine Walters.
In KS5, pupils can study all of the other subjects mentioned as well as economics, sociology, health and social education, Drama (at Cyfartha, Law (at Pen-Y-Dre) and Media Studies (at Afon Taf). From September 2009, Bishop Hedley will be making the Welsh Baccalaureate mandatory for pupils in KS5.
In Years 9-13, Science is taught separately as Chemistry, Biology and Physics. The EdExcel Science 360 specification is used at KS4 - but at the present moment it is a GCSE Science and Additional Science course. Shortly, the school hopes to offer the three sciences separately. In years 7 and 8, Spotlight Science is used.
Bishop Hedley has recently been improved. 70% of the exterior of phase 2 is now completed, with the new colour red. Progress continues on completing the refurb of the exterior of phase 2. Bishop Hedley has also recently improved phase 1 main hall.
Bishop Hedley has a main hall, dance and drama studio, pottery room, gymnasium, two sports hall, football/rugby field, hockey pitch, three yards, three design and technology rooms, learning resources centre, music rehearsal room, two new 21st century science suites, 5 I.C.T. resources rooms (excluding I.C.T services in other areas of the school e.g., music room, LRC etc.) and a 6th form-specific revision area, common room. Pupils in years 12 and 13 also make use of the Careers Library. The MFL department has a specific room on the top floor, and the science department has a specific I.C.T. suite (opposite the main science department in phase 2). There is also a specific SEN and EAL area.
The MFL department has a French assistant from France attend every acedamic year to improve their and help in their studies of English, and help GCSE and AS/A2/A level pupils who have taken French. Classrooms are well-equipped, with every classroom having an electronic projector. This also aids the science department, which currently uses the on-board textbook for GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science. This is part of the new EdExcel specification. The school has also invested in a Pisys system, which has proved a great investment for staff and pupils alike.
Recent school report
Estyn inspected Bishop Hedley in November 2007 and said "The school has many good features, of which some are outstanding." Religious education is inspected separately at the same time. This was another positive report which said "The Catholicity of the school pervades all that goes on and provides a rich environment where pupils excel academically and grow spiritually. The school is highly effective in promoting Catholic values." It also said that "pupils at Key Stage 4 achieve high standards".
Bishop Hedley High School celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008. The culmination of various celebrations was a mass held on Tuesday 24 June 2008. In the afternoon, Father Mike Evans led a mass for the pupils, while in the evening Archbishop Peter Smith led the celebrations. Pupils, staff, parish priests, parishioners, councillors, representatives of officers from Merthyr County Borough Council, representatives of our partnerships with external organisations and past pupils celebrated the mass with the Archbishop.
Music from the mass was composed by Mr. Peter Lewis, Head of Music and a tapestry was displayed which had been created by Mrs. A. Richards, Mrs. G. Jones and Year 8 pupils. During the mass, pupils sang and the bidding prayers were read in the different languages of the school community - Polish, Portuguese, Filipino, Welsh and English. The orchrestra accomnpied all the hymns. At the end of the mass the Archbisop blessed all the crosses from the classrooms in the school. He also blessed the large cross in the Main Hall, formed from individual ceramic tiles joined together to form one large cross, which was created by the ceramicist Christine Chivers and current students.
Community & charity events
Bishop Hedley High School is a primary location for the 3G's community group. Yearly, there is also an annual OAP party for the residents in the local area. The School also has a Charity Day every term in the school year. The last charity day raised over £1,100 for three charities - the Mayor's appeal, Breast cancer care and to help with the purchase of a land-rover in Tanzania.
A successful modern twist on an old classic saw pupils in Year 8 and 9 praised by the manager of the Shakesphere Festival when they performed Macbeth at the Taliesin Theatre in Swansea. Their contemporary version featured dancing witches who rocked around the cauldron to songs such as "Soulja Boy", "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Rock Star". The idea was to make the play more accessible and enjoyable for teenagers. The cast was praised for their mature performances and the manager of the Shakesphere Festival recommended that some of them try for the National Youth Theatre when they are 16.
- Mark Serwotka (Aberdare), Current General Secretary Public and Commercial Services Union
- Kristian Dacey (Merthyr), Current Welsh Rugby Union hooker
- Mick Desmond (Ebbw Vale), formerly Managing Director of ITV and currently Commercial Director of The All England Tennis Club
- Chris Sullivan (Merthyr), style journalist, fashion designer and former front man of the 1980s New Romantics group Blue Rondo A La Turk
- Robert Sidoli (Merthyr), former Welsh Rugby Union lock
- Old Merthyr Tydfil: Bishop Hedley School - Historical photographs of Bishop Hedley School.
- School website
- Estyn Inspection Reports