Fitzalan High School

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Fitzalan High School
Ysgol Uwchradd Fitzalan
Lawrenny Avenue
Cardiff, CF11 8XB
Coordinates 51°28′37″N 3°12′47″W / 51.477°N 3.213°W / 51.477; -3.213
School type Co-Educational Comprehensive (Community)
Motto ‘Veritas praevalebit’ (Truth will prevail)
Founded 1953
LEA Cardiff
Headteacher Cath Bradshaw
Staff 80+
Age range 11–18
Pupils 1500+
Medium of language English
Houses Dewi, Llewellyn, Glyndwr, Hywel,
Colour(s) Green/Black/Maroon
Publication Fitzalan News/Newyddion Fitzalan

Fitzalan High School (Welsh: Ysgol Uwchradd Fitzalan) is an large, co-educational, community comprehensive secondary school in Cardiff for students aged eleven to nineteen. The school is located in the Leckwith area of Canton in Cardiff, Wales. The school serves some areas which are economically disadvantaged. Over forty languages are spoken within the school community. In 2010 there were 1,440 pupils on roll including 254 in the sixth form.[citation needed]

The school's catchment area covers Canton, Butetown, Grangetown, Riverside. Principal feeder schools are Kitchener, Radnor, Lansdowne, Severn Road, Ninian Park, St. Mary the Virgin, Grangetown and Mount Stuart.

History – the origins[edit]

Fitzalan High School has links to Cardiff's first municipal secondary school at Howard Gardens, Adamsdown in 1884. The school later became Howardian High School and a Grammar School in 1941. Much of the school was subsequently destroyed by incendiary bombs in the Cardiff Blitz [1] during the night of 3–4 March 1941 in World War II. The school's girls and boys relocated to newly built buildings, Lady Margaret High School for Girls (1948) and Howardian High School for Boys (1953), in Penylan.[2]

After the war the building at Howard Gardens was partially repaired.[3] A new technical school was opened in September 1953 with around 200 boys. It was officially named ‘Fitzalan Technical High School’ in December 1953.

The Howard Gardens site was to be re-developed (as Cardiff School of Art & Design) and Fitzalan Technical High School acquired new premises on the present site in Lawrenny Avenue, Canton, Cardiff which were opened on Tuesday 3 March 1964. In January 1968 the school was renamed Fitzalan High School (dropping 'Technical'), becoming a comprehensive school.

Organisation and communications[edit]

Pupils are grouped according to their abilities with the more able pupils placed in an express set. Pupils with special educational needs receive specialist support in class to ensure that they can access the curriculum fully.[4] The school has four Houses: DEWI, LLEWELLYN, GLYNDWR, and HYWEL. The school has a website, and issues a regular newsletter on school activities. A School Council exists for pupils to raise any issues through this forum. It has many community links and local residents and interest groups, who are allowed to use the extensive facilities. The school has an established and published policy on 'anti-bullying' for all pupils. A Parent Teacher Association (PTA) was formed in 1978 called the ‘Friends of Fitzalan‛. It supports the school, raises funds, and helps organise social events.

In 2007 the school embarked on a program to reduce its carbon footprint after an audit by the Carbon Trust. Steps taken included installing "eco-quiet" computers, one of which was to be powered by a demonstration wind turbine.[5]

The school was awarded the NAACE Mark for excellence in the use of ICT in November 2005.[6]

Organised Sports and Arts

The school campus includes two gymnasia, a multi use dance studio, two indoor multi-use halls, two fitness suites, a sports hall, a swimming pool, four grass football and rugby pitches and an artificial cricket square. In addition daily access to the Gol Centre, comprising twelve five-a-side artificial football pitches, the Welsh International Athletics Stadium and artificial sports pitches. BTEC sport lessons take place both in the school and in Cardiff City Football Club.

  • In 1982, the school football team won the English Schools Football Association Cup, the first time that this cup had been taken out of England.[7]
  • Fitzalan has traditionally had a strong chess team, winning the Welsh Schools Championship in 1984 and 1985, and in 2001 and 2002.[8]
  • The school hall was used during filming for "School Reunion", an episode of the long-running British science fiction series Doctor Who, first aired on 29 April 2006.[6]
  • A BBC2 documentary called "Fitzalan — School of Dreams" was filmed in March 2006.[6]
  • The school transformed one of its gyms into a drama studio complete with brand new apparatus


  • A £300,000 refurbishment of the school's twenty-metre swimming pool, and named the Peter Perkin’s Swimming Pool in memory of the former chair of governors. It was officially opened in March 2009. Facilities are open to the local community after school hours. As part of the joint venture between the Sport Wales, Cardiff City Council’s Active Communities team and the school, a disused classroom has been turned into a fitness suite and multi-gym facility.[9]
  • Fitzalan was the first school to install state-of-the-art 5-a-side astro pitches (identical to that of Real Madrid), in partnership with Gôl Football Centres, and a new £600,000 sports hall. The hall has many uses, including Cricket, Football, Basketball, Netball, Tennis and Badminton.
  • Two new full-sized astro pitches were recently completed, and are located next to the Leckwith Athletic stadium.
  • The school introduced a new 5x60 regime – a Sport Wales programme aimed at increasing the number of secondary age pupils taking part in sport or physical activity for 60 minutes, at least five times a week. Pupils of any age can take part after school. The activities include football, netball, basketball, cricket, hockey and dancing.

Head teachers[edit]

Fitzalan Technical High School, Howard Gardens

  • 1953–1963, Mr Harold C. Eyre, BA

Fitzalan Technical High School, Leckwith

  • 1963–1967, Mr Harold C. Eyre, BA

Fitzalan High School, Leckwith (as a comprehensive school)

  • 1968–1983, Mr Peter L. Goble, MA
  • 1983–2004, Mr Angus Dunphy
  • 2005–2008, Mr Huw Jones-Williams
  • 2008–, Mrs Cath Bradshaw[10]

School inspections[edit]

Fitzalan High School is inspected every six years by the independent statutory body Estyn, as part of the Welsh national programme of school inspection, funded by the National Assembly for Wales.[11]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Bomb damage at Howard Gardens Board School, Cardiff, 1941 (photo),
  2. ^ Childs, Jeff (2012), Roath, Splott and Adamsdown: One Thousand Years of History, The History Press, pp. 180–1, ISBN 978-0-7524-8257-6 
  3. ^ Cardiff Schools & the Age of the Second World War, The Log Books: A Documentary History 1938-1945, Keith Strange, (undated document)
  5. ^ "High school kicks off city's ambitious plan". Western Mail. 2007-06-28. 
  6. ^ a b c "10 Facts You May Not Know About Fitzalan". Fitzalan High School. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  7. ^ "Fitzalan did city proud in beating best of England". Wales Online. 2 Feb 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  8. ^ O'Reilly, Margaret (5 July 2002). "Pupils are kings of the chess board". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  9. ^ "Fitzalan Makes a Splash With New Facilities". Sport Wales. 2009-03-12. 
  10. ^ "About Fitzalan". Fitzalan High School. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Report: Fitzalan High School Inspection 11–15 October 2004" (PDF). Estyn. 2004-12-13. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Floreat Howardia : The story of the Howard Gardens Schools, Cardiff, 1885–1990, (1990) Tom J Foster, A. M. Doe, Ian L Myhre, Published, Friends of Howardian High School, ISBN 0-9516708-0-8

External links[edit]