Reorganisation must not reduce our standards

says Grammar School headmaster

THE hope that no education re-organisation scheme locally would reduce the opportunities of any pupils now in the school, nor of those likely to enter it in the future, were expressed by Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School headmaster Mr. Gwilym Williams, delivering his annual report at the Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School annual distribution of certificates at the school recently.

In the earlier part of his report he had praised the excellent record of achievement the average examination pass rate was 60.5 per cent compared with the national average of 58.7 per cent, with seventy pupils gaining the highest grade ‘A’ marks at ‘O’ Levels. At CSE as many as 20 grade 1 passes were obtained.

A further improvement was made in November when 39 obtained a further 28 passes, including two Grade ‘A’, again higher than the national average. Three Form 4 pupils sat ‘O’ Level in Mathematics with 100 per cent success.

At ‘A’ Level 53 candidates sat in a range of 21 subjects, with a ‘A’ Level pass rate of 69.6 percent.

The best performance was achieved by James R. Thomas with three, Grade ‘A’ passes, which brought him the Rees Llewellyn Scholarship of the school, valued at £50 for each of the three years. In the special papers one pupil had a Distinction while six others had Merit passes.

Past Students continued to distinguish themselves in the academic field over a wide range of subjects with 1st Class Honours in law, geology and physics; second class honours in music, pure mathematics, botany, geography, Russian Studies, economics and geology.

The higher degrees of Doctor of Philosophy were awarded to Colin Picton (biochemistry) Peter Williams (Agricultural botany) and Peter Evans (Chemistry).

The news had just been received that Dr. Alwyn Williams, FRS has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow University.

In addition Mr. Williams drew the attention of his audience of special guests, school governors, parents and pupils that 23 pupils left last year to take up industrial apprenticeships in the area. Other pupils took up work in banking, the Civil Service and local government, but the remainder of the 89 returned to seek advancement by taking Advanced ‘A’ level subjects.

Mentioning again the flexibility of subjects and the way pupils were encouraged to achieve their aims, the headmaster said: “This means the pressures are applied, for example last year a group of 29 Form 4 pupils passed ‘O’ Level in mathematics, while a Form 3 pupil passed in music and is now studying the subject at ‘A’ Level”.

Here the headmaster stressed that these arrangements were only possible with the full co-operation of the teaching staff to whom he wished to pay personal tribute.

Turning to the achievements of the school in sport Mr. Williams said three senior boys were Mid Glamorgan champions in Athletics and a total of six represented Mid Glamorgan in the Welsh Schools Championship meeting.

At rugby good team performance was common and this covered the whole range from the Under 12 to the 1st XV. This success was due entirely of those members of staff involved in games — namely Mr. K. Rogers, Mr. H. J. Manning, Mr. T. J. Smith, Mr. K. Morgan and Mrs. T. J. Phelan. Two former pupils, Christopher Phillips and John Howard Davies (head boy) played for the Mid Glamorgan county team.

Exchange tours have taken place both in the junior and senior section with Billericay and Essex where both 1st and 2nd XV won.

Four pupils took part in the Mid Glamorgan ski course in Austria and Kevin Hope was awarded first prize as the best skier in his age group. The cricket team, under the captaincy of head boy Geraint Thomas had a very successful season losing only one match away to Brecon. Two boys, Michael Griffiths and Richard Thomas played for Mid Glamorgan. An outstanding performance by Richard Williams was marked by presenting him with a plaque on achieving the hat-trick in a match.

Further visits abroad are planned for the holidays, including a visit to Yugoslavia, with a visit to Germany projected for next year.

School societies had flourished, though the fishing club seemed to have suffered its demise from lack of success. The School Music Society, under Mr. J. Gethin Evans had been as active as ever, and in addition to the carol service items they performed at a Christmas Concert in the school much to the pleasure of the parents attending. A branch of the British Association of Young Scientists had been formed at the school and they recently organised a visit to the Science Museum in Kensington.

Efforts

Various activities had benefited from the efforts of pupils and staff (teaching and non-teaching) as well as parents.

Due to the efforts of Interact members and other groups of pupils between September and Christmas the total collected amounted to £134.42.

Probably the most concerted effort was the raising of some £1,500 for a school minibus. This money was raised largely as the result of a coffee evening in the summer and a Christmas Fayre at the end of November.

The social success of these efforts was very high and consequently a request by the parents for a Parents’ Association resulted in the setting up of this body on January 27. A programme of events has been arranged and the headmaster said that all parents present that evening who were not already members were invited to join. (A cheese and wine party was held at the Boot Hotel on Friday evening, April 9)

A more recent effort of sponsored walks, runs and swims had been directed towards gathering funds for the aged. This was largely due to the junior pupils putting in a physical effort while 6a and Alpha pupils organised events in the Park and Swimming Pool.

Recovery

Among the guests were two former headmasters of the school, Mr. G. P. Ambrose and Mr. J. Warren. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome them both and to see them looking so well”, the headmaster added. “Mr. Warren, I know, is due to go into hospital soon and I am sure you would wish with me for a speedy and complete recovery from the operation envisaged. We welcome too Mrs. Warren and are pleased that she has been able to come”.

Mr. Williams added that for the first time they had a complete governing body and he was grateful for their presence there that evening and for their interest and support of the school over the past year. “We need their support in many ways and they have shown enthusiasm and keenness in taking up all the problems presented”.

The headmaster then singled out for special mention Mrs. Tydfil Thomas of the Girls Grammar School “with whom we have had an excellent working relationship over the years, including several successful local functions in ‘home and away’ fixtures”.