John David Griffiths MA, MEd, LLM.
Director of Education, ret’d
David Griffiths was employed exclusively in the educational sector from which he is now retired. Initially he was a teacher but for most of his career he was an administrator, retiring as Director of Education for the County of Gwent.
He was born in Aberdare in August, 1941, the son of Mervyn M. Griffiths and his wife Mona, née Thomas. He attended the Town Council Infants’ School and, subsequently, the Town Council Junior School in Clifton Street, where he lived. His neighbours in the street included Adrian and Robert Servini and Gareth Edwards who were to become fellow pupils at ABGS. All of them appear in the 1957 school photograph.
In 1953, he passed the “scholarship” examination and entered Form 1 Alpha of the Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School. At school he was keen on chess and represented the school in the chess team. In the sixth form he took four A levels; English, Latin, French & Scripture Knowledge. After gaining a George Hall travelling scholarship in 1960, he went to Queen Mary College in the University of London, where he obtained an Honours degree in French with subsidiary Latin.
Following graduation, he took up a number of teaching posts. The first was a temporary appointment at Graddfa Secondary School in Ystrad Mynach and the second was a permanent post at Park Grammar School, Swindon, where he taught French from January 1964, to April 1965, before moving to Larkfield Grammar School, Chepstow, where he remained for the next five-and-a-half years. He also did some work in adult education at the time, teaching French in evening classes in Bargoed, Caerffili, Caldicot and Chepstow. Tim Brighouse, who subsequently became Chief Education Officer for Birmingham, was one of his colleagues during this period. The two young men frequently played bridge together.
In January, 1971, he entered educational administration, taking up an appointment as Senior Administrative Officer (Professional and Development) for Cardiff City Council and working under the leadership of A. J. Mackay, whom he admired greatly, and remembers with much affection. In March 1973, he stepped up to the post of Assistant Director of Education (Schools) for Cardiff, before moving to Solihull some twelve months later following local government reorganisation in Wales.
Returning to Wales in January, 1981, he worked for the next fifteen years for Gwent County Council, first as Assistant Director (Sites and Buildings), then as Deputy Director, and finally as Director of Education. He took early retirement from this post in March, 1996, when, as a result of a new round of local government reorganisation in Wales, Gwent disappeared as a county council and was replaced by five new unitary authorities.
Over the years, he continued with his academic studies, gaining an advanced diploma in education from the University of Bristol in 1974, an M.Ed. degree from Cardiff in 1976, and an M.A. from the University of London in 1986. More recently, (under the influence of his daughter), he turned to the study of law and obtained an LL.M. from the University of Bristol in 2009. He has also spent time improving his knowledge of Welsh and trying to gain some proficiency in Italian.
He is married to Eirwen (née Hughes), who also comes from Aberdare. The couple raised a daughter who is currently deputy principal of one of the London University Colleges. David & Eirwen have one grandson who is seven years of age. The rest of the family comprises three cats and two dogs, the latter being Charlie the Chihuahua and Daniel the Spaniel. His home, for the last thirty or so years, has been on the banks of the River Wye in a village near Tintern Abbey.