Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi

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Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi
Ysgol Uwchardd Caergybi New Logo.png
Established c. 1949[1]
Headteacher: Mr Adam Williams (2013 – present)
Assistant Headteachers: Mrs Nia Wyn Roberts
Mr Peter Nutbourne
Mrs Marion Sterrit
Mrs Stella Dennis-Bunting
Chair of Governors Trefor Lloyd Hughes[2]
Location Holyhead
LL65 1NP
53°18′41″N 4°38′23″W / 53.31131°N 4.63968°W / 53.31131; -4.63968Coordinates: 53°18′41″N 4°38′23″W / 53.31131°N 4.63968°W / 53.31131; -4.63968
Local authority Isle of Anglesey
Staff 70 (Approx.)
Students 874
Gender mixed
Sixth Form c. 100
Website Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi

Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi was the first comprehensive school in England and Wales, opening in 1949 as Holyhead County School.[3]


The school was formed in 1949 with the amalgamation of Holyhead Grammar and St Cybi Secondary school. Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch is said to claim the title of the first purpose built comprehensive.[4] Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni is recorded as Britain's first comprehensive.[3]

There was a number of reasons for the school to be the first "comp". The headmaster Mr Hughes was retiring and he was to be replaced by an enthusiast for Comprehensive education, Trefor Lovett. The new head became known as "the first apostle of the comprehensive movement."[5] The transition was also assisted by the close proximity of St Cybi Secondary school and Holyhead Grammar; the schools that would be replaced. Obviously the backing of Anglesey Education Committee was essential.

The changes that Mr Lovett brought about were not unexpected as he has previous taught locally at Vaynor and Penderyn schools. The new school was certain that a child's future should not be determined at age eleven with the eleven plus exam. Previously children in Britain had all sat an exam at the end of their Junior school education and this decided whether you would attend the Grammar School or a Secondary Modern School. Mr Lovett was convinced that this was unfair and that there should be a firm Catchment area so that all the students irrespective of their background or abilities would attend the one school.[5]

After two years, the new head reported,

The school is rapidly approaching my concept of what a comprehensive school should be. On the grammar side, the facilities are good. The technical side is also rapidly developing and with the erection and equipping of the new

engineering workshop the facilities or this type of education will be good. We have a large number of pupils of the modern school type and a real effort is being made to give them an education suitable to their aptitudes and abilities. Work of a far more practical nature must be introduced for these pupils and this demands further expansion in providing the requisite facilities and staff.[5]

The school today[edit]

In 2006 there were approximately 850 pupils in the school which included about 100 in the sixth form.[6] The school had falling rolls in the years before and is much reduced since there were questions in the early 1960s in the House of Commons to then Education Minister Chris Chataway enquiring how the school was to cope with a roll of 1400 pupils.[7] In 2010 the school has exceeded the Local Authority's projected figures.[2]

Twelve per cent of the students are able to speak Welsh fluently and four per cent have Welsh as their first language. The catchment area of the school is mainly the town of Holyhead and the area around the school has been highlighted as an area for development with nearly 30% of households having no wage earner. Estyn visited the school in 2008 and commended the school with regards to teaching and pupil behaviour.[6]

Five years ago the school moved its sixth form out of the old red brick Cybi building and put that in the control of the local authority. Since then the building has become dilapidated and the education authority announced in 2008 it intended to demolish the building. The building is still standing today (2012. As a result of the intervention of local county councillor, Robert Llewelyn Jones, CADW has given the facade a Grade 2 listing. This listing has prevented the local authority from continuing with its demolition plans and the site is now earmarked for a new super-primary school (subject to funding being available)

At present virtually all pupils in the Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi catchment area choose the school for their secondary education. The school's pupil numbers continues to rise and recent significant funding towards a new canteen/refrectory and technology block has succeeded in improving the school's facilities dramatically.[citation needed] Mr Martin Wise was the head teacher (succeeding Mrs. Margaret Chantrell) in Holyhead High School and he is ably[citation needed] supported by a team of dedicated[citation needed] staff. The 2012 GCSE results were the best ever, with a dramatic increase in A* and A grades.[citation needed] The A Level results were also amongst the school's best ever.[citation needed]

Notable former pupils[edit]

of the comprehensive[edit]

of predecessor schools[edit]


  1. ^ (Correction to) How the Tory middle classes invented comprehensives, Simon Hoggart, The Guardian, 28 June 2007, accessed 12 August 2008
  2. ^ a b Holyhead School to be Demolished, Daily Post, 24 July 2008, accessed 12 August 2008
  3. ^ a b "Ten Questions". The Independent. 25 October 2005. [dead link]
  4. ^ First comprehensive, New Shell Book of Firsts, 2003
  5. ^ a b c Holyhead County School Archived 28 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Holyhead.com, accessed 12 August 2008
  6. ^ a b 2006 Inspection of the school by Estyn, accessed 12 August 2008
  7. ^ Hansard, 22 November 1962
  8. ^ Glenys Kinnock MEP website. "Glenys Kinnock Biography". Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  9. ^ BBC. "Tracey Morris biography". Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  10. ^ Albert Owen biography, Guardian, accessed 12 August 2008
  11. ^ Richard Lyon footballer, Welsh International and Liverpool FC, Striker QPR honours Holyhead hero, BBC, 4 July 2003, accessed 12 August 2008
  12. ^ ‘CLEDWYN OF PENRHOS’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 22 Aug 2008
  13. ^ ‘WILLIAMS, David’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 22 Aug 2008