Willows High School

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Coordinates: 51°29′02″N 3°08′13″W / 51.484°N 3.137°W / 51.484; -3.137 Willows High School (Welsh: Ysgol Uwchradd Willows) is a secondary school located in the Tremorfa area of Cardiff, Wales. It caters for pupils aged 11 to 16 and is English-medium. As of September 2015, the headteacher is Chris Norman. He succeeded Joy Ballard, under whom the proportion of pupils attaining five A*-C grades rose from 14% to 50%.[1]

There were 657 pupils at the school during the 2012 Estyn inspection. The proportion of pupils receiving free school meals is 44%, which is much higher than the national average of 17.4%. Almost two-thirds of the pupils live in the 20% most deprived areas in Wales. Around 8% of pupils have English as an additional language. Twenty-nine per cent of the pupils come from minority ethnic backgrounds.[2]

The school site is extensive and dates from the late 1960s. Many of the buildings have since been modernised.[3] The school was built on the site of the World War II airfield RAF Pengam Moors. The school is named after the air balloon pioneer Ernest Willows who had his airfield on the site.

The school featured in the 2015 documentary Educating Cardiff.

The school motto is "Willows High School: Belong, Believe, Achieve".[3]

Estyn 2012 inspection[edit]

In 2012, Estyn rated the school as "unsatisfactory", reporting that it needed "significant improvement". The inspectors reported that, although pupils often had unsatisfactory English grammar and literacy skills, leadership was "adequate" and there were real prospects of improvement.[2][4]

The school has now substantially improved and according to education watchdog Estyn, is no longer a school requiring significant improvement. Willows High was featured in the Channel 4 documentary 'Educating Cardiff' in 2015.


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