Cathays High School: “A highly inclusive and aspirational learning community where pupils and staff thrive” says ESTYN

In a recent visit by Estyn, inspectors found Cathays High School to have inspirational leadership and a culture of high ambition underpinned by the mission of ‘opportunities for all’.

In its report, the Education Inspectorate for Wales described the Cardiff secondary school as a

highly inclusive and aspirational learning community where pupils and staff thrive and leaders have forged an ethos where all feel valued and encouraged to excel.

Inspectors praised school leaders at all levels for maintaining an unrelenting focus on evaluating and improving all aspects of the school’s work, especially the effectiveness of classroom practice. They went on to say that staff are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and whole-heartedly committed to improving the life chances of pupils.

The report highlights that high expectations and well-established classroom routines provide a dynamic learning environment and that staff have an unwavering commitment to sharing good practice, improving teaching, and enabling all pupils to fulfil their potential. As a result, lessons are planned carefully and are adeptly delivered to stimulate pupils’ interest and inspire them to achieve highly.

Estyn inspectors noted that pupils place great value on and actively celebrate the school’s cultural diversity, treating each other with respect and successfully developing the key attitudes and behaviours that will help them to become life-long learners and ethical, well-informed citizens of Wales. They are polite and friendly and behave impeccably in lessons and around the school, displaying an undeniably positive attitude towards their learning and school life in general.

Reflecting on the school’s success, Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “I am delighted to read the positive comments from Estyn and the Cathays High School community should all feel extremely proud.

“The report brings to light the schools high aspiration for its pupils and itsambitious vision for a broad and balanced curriculum which develops the essential knowledge and skills that will enable its pupils to compete effectively for employment opportunities and higher education places.

“A highlight for me is hearing that Estyn recognises how the school demonstrates ways in which pupils embrace diversity and how this is celebrated through school life, they are exceptionally proud to belong to the school community, and thrive in the happy, safe, and caring ethos that has been established. It is pleasing to learn of the significant part that wellbeing plays at the school and that pupils feel, secure, respected and fairly treated, in turn they exhibit a high level of trust and respect for the school, its staff and each other.

Cllr Merry added; “I would like to congratulate the headteacher, governors and staff for their hard work and dedication which has resulted in this positive outcome, providing firm footings for an exciting future for the school.”

In response to the report, Stuart Davies, Headteacher at Cathays High School said: “I am really proud of the students and staff of Cathays High. It is great that their hard work, commitment and pride in the school has been recognised by Estyn, especially given the challenges of the last two years.

“The report really reflects the school and the inspection team clearly understood the work that my colleagues, our students and their families do together every day to make our community such a success. I was particularly pleased that our efforts at ensuring high quality teaching and learning experiences as well as the work we do to support the wellbeing of learners was recognised in the report and that it reflected the happy, harmonious and inclusive community that we strive to be”.

Chair of Governors at the school, Cllr Peter Wong said: “It’s a fantastically positive report that recognises the culture of success that staff and students have created at Cathays High School. I’m proud that our diverse Cathays High School community serves all of Cardiff, and I look forward to a having a new school built that both rewards and meets the ambitions of our students.”

The need to replace Cathays High School has been identified under Welsh Government’s Band B Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme as a priority scheme in need of investment.

If future plans are progressed the development would represent a significant investment in the local area and would provide enhanced facilities at the site, available for shared community use.

To read the report in full visitWelcome to Estyn | Estyn (