West Monmouth School
|Motto||Serve and Obey|
|Chair of Governors||John Ernest Killick|
|Founder||Worshipful Company of Haberdashers|
|Colours||Navy blue, red and green|
|Website||West Monmouth School|
The school owes its existence to the charitable donations of William Jones, who died in 1615. He bequeathed money to the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers for the foundation of a grammar school in Monmouth. An accumulation of funds by the end of the nineteenth century encouraged Monmouth School to build a sister school to serve western Monmouthshire.
After much discussion and debate the town of Pontypool was chosen after land of 6 acres (24,000 m2) was donated by local landowner John Hanbury. In 1896 the foundation stone of what was then known as Jones' West Monmouth School was laid by the wife of John Hanbury. The school was officially opened by Lord Tredegar in 1898, to accommodate 70 boarders and 30 day boys. The total cost of erecting the school was estimated at £30,000.
The school became a County Grammar School (under the auspices of the then Monmouthshire County Council) in 1954, and the last boarders left in 1958.
In 1982 the school lost its grammar school status to become a comprehensive school when amalgamated with the three local secondary modern schools at Twmpath, Trevethin and the Wern. A new block (known simply as 'New Block') was constructed and now houses the mathematics, technology and some humanities classrooms. A new music and performing arts centre was built on the site of the old swimming pool in 2001 which gave the school some of the best facilities in Torfaen.
Expansion and changes of school buildings
The school's original building with its tall spires and grand entrance became too small for the school numbers. By 1934 a new 'Science Block' building had been added at a cost of £20,000 and contained extra classrooms and modern laboratories.
The school recently went through a six million pound overhaul that has seen numerous changes. The school now has performing arts facilities including an auditorium housed in the Haberdashers' Building. The special educational needs department has been expanded and there is a new cafeteria.
West Mon is the only school in Torfaen to have an AstroTurf football pitch which comes complete with floodlights. There is also a top-of-the-range performing arts centre and two large gymnasia. There are five IT suites and a comprehensive technology centre. The school also boasts a running track, tennis courts and the large Albion rugby fields nearby. The school has been extended once again; the old dining hall has been converted into classrooms and a new cafeteria built on the west side of the site. This is due to the amalgamation of Trevethin Community School which closed in 2007.
Notable former pupils
- Arts and Entertainment
- Sir Anthony Hopkins - actor
- Public Life
- Ronald Bridle - civil engineer and Chief Highway Engineer from 1975–80
- Air Marshal Sir Ivor Broom CB CBE DSO DFC - Station Commander of RAF Bruggen from 1962-4, AOC of No. 11 Group RAF from 1970-2, and Controller from 1974-7 of National Air Traffic Services (NATS)
- John Bryant - Chief Executive of Corus Group plc from 1999–2000
- Ivor Bulmer-Thomas CBE - Labour (then Conservative for two years) MP for Keighley from 1942–50
- Theodore Huckle QC - Counsel General for Wales
- David Gwilym James - Vice-Chancellor from 1952-65 of the University of Southampton
- Alun Gwynne Jones, Baron Chalfont of Llantarnam in the County of Monmouthshire OBE MC - former Foreign Office minister from 1964–70, and Chairman of the Radio Authority from 1991-4
- Noel Debroy Jones - Bishop of Sodor and Man from 1989–2003
- Prof Frank Llewellyn-Jones CBE - physicist who studied electrical conductance (ionization) in gases and spark ignition, Professor of Physics from 1945-65 at University College, Swansea and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales from 1969–71
- The Rt. Hon. Paul Murphy - Labour MP for Torfaen since 1987
- Rhys Probert CB - Director from 1973-80 of the Royal Aircraft Establishment
- Edwin Stevens CBE - inventor of hearing aids
- Terry Cobner - Wales international rugby union player
- Ken Jones - Wales international rugby union player
- Bryn Meredith - Wales international rugby union player
- Graham Price - Wales international rugby union player
- Iestyn Thomas - Wales international rugby union player
- Mako Vunipola - England international rugby union player
The school has been known by a variety of names over the last 100 years. Originally conceived as Jones' West Monmouth School it has also been known as Haberdashers' West Monmouth School, West Monmouth Boys' School and in later years West Monmouth Grammar School. Today the school is often referred to (incorrectly) as West Monmouth Comprehensive School. Internally the school use the shorthand names West Mon or WMS. There is at least one plaque in the school that refers to it as Jones' West Monmouthshire School. The official name, however, is West Monmouth School.
- "West Monmouth School". Torfaen County Borough. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- http://www.habs-monmouth.org/index.cfm?alias=allhistory History of Haberdashers' Monmouth Schools
- Serve & Obey: The Official History of West Monmouth School 1898 - 1998 by Arthur Crane (Pontypool: 1998). ISBN 0-9534668-0-9.