The Cathedral School, Llandaff

The Cathedral School, Llandaff is a coeducational independent day school located in Llandaff, a district north of the Welsh capital Cardiff. Originally established as a choral foundation to train choir boys for the affiliated Llandaff Cathedral, it is now part of the Woodard Schools foundation and continues to provide choristers for the cathedral. It is the only surviving Anglican choir school in Wales and is a member of the ISC, IAPS and the Choir Schools Association.[1] It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of leading independent schools.[2]

The Cathedral School, Llandaff
Main building of The Cathedral School, Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales.jpg
Cardiff Road, Llandaff


TypeIndependent school
Choral foundation school
Religious affiliation(s)Anglican
Establishedc.9th Century
1880 (current school)
FounderDean John Vaughn and Canon Nathaniel Woodard
Local authorityCardiff Council
Department for Education URN402015 Tables
Custos (Chairman)Gilbert Lloyd
HeadClare V Sherwood
Age3 to 18
HousesTeilo, Dyfrig, Euddogwy
Colour(s)Black, Maroon and Gold
Former pupilsOld Llandavians


The school chapel

The original part of the School House was the old house of the Bishop of Llandaff before becoming a school. It is by far the oldest part of the school, and has had the addition of a refectory, library and information technology suites. The Jubilee Building, Sports Hall, Gloucester Building, Lodge and Memorial Hall are all more recent additions to the school as its age range has expanded.

While Roald Dahl was a pupil at the school, he was involved in the "Great Mouse Plot of 1924", which he later described in his autobiography, Boy: Tales of Childhood. This is the first of numerous occasions in which he outlines in great detail the perceived cruelty of corporal punishment in schools. The headmaster at this time was Mr T. R. Coombes.


The Cathedral School consists of three sections: Infant School (ages 3–7), Junior School (ages 7–11) and Senior School (years 7–13). Sixth form teaching began in September 2013. In the 2012 Estyn inspection, the overarching judgements made by the inspectors were that the school's current performance was Excellent and that the school's prospects for improvement were Excellent.[3]


Junior SchoolEdit

Modern Language education begins early, generally during Key Stage 2. In the 2005 inspection, pupils were reported to have performed well above the national average in National Curriculum tests.

Senior SchoolEdit

A traditional academic education, with sciences separately taught by specialists, along with a range of modern languages (French, Spanish, German) in addition to Latin, is delivered alongside very competitive sport (senior pupils have an unusually generous amount of time allocated to sport) and opportunities in the Arts. Pupils have generally performed well in the GCSE exams. The school was ranked top co-educational school in Wales in 2012 for GCSE success.[4] Every pupil up to Year 9 receives music tuition for 45 minutes per week in class. Interested pupils may choose to take GCSE music.

Pastoral careEdit

Every pupil in the Senior Section is a member of one of three senior Houses, named after the Llandaff saints: Dyfrig, Euddogwy and Teilo. The pupils in each house are cared for by one of nine house tutors, who in turn are overseen by a housemaster or housemistress. Heads of house, assisted by their assistant head of house and their tutor teams, are responsible for pupils' pastoral care, oversight of their academic progress and personal development,[5] as well as participation in House Events.



The boy choristers have sung in the Wales Millennium Centre, with Welsh National Opera, Bryn Terfel and Carlo Rizzi. Music is very strong at the Cathedral School, with several pupils at Grade 8 standard. The music department is housed in the Jubilee building, with a full range of instruments available and specialist teachers of twenty instruments. There are numerous musical groups, including the School Orchestra, the Jazz Band, the Flute Group and the Senior Chamber Choir.


Drama has thrived only recently in the school but is rapidly expanding. Pupils write their own work for 'gala evenings' and many pupils are on the books of National Youth Theatre.


Over twenty sports are played at the school, with pupils at international level in cricket, badminton, rugby, gymnastics and sailing. Unusual for a choral foundation school, the school also offers scholarships based on athletic ability. All of the senior section take part in 2 lessons of Games a week, choosing from the seasonal sports of; Rugby, Football and Cricket (for the boys); Hockey, Netball and Rounders (for the girls); Rowing, Tennis, Climbing and Squash (mixed gender, year-round sports held outside of school)

Notable Old LlandaviansEdit

Former students of The Cathedral School, Llandaff are referred to as Old Llandavians.


  • The Revd C.E. Butler (1880–1883)
  • The Revd E. Owen (1883–1889)
  • The Revd J.E. Stevenson-More (1889–1905)
  • The Revd P.R. Cleave (1905–1912)
  • G.L. Robanthan & R. Brice-Smith (1912–1919)
  • T.R. Coombes (1919–1946)
  • N.L. Westbury-Jones (1946–1957)
  • R.J.B. Hulland (1957–1975)
  • G.L. Hill (1975–1983)
  • J.C. Knapp (1983–1993)
  • D.A. Evans (Acting Head) (1993–1994)
  • P.L. Gray (1994–2008)
  • S. Morris (2008–2016 )
  • C.V. Sherwood (2016–present)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Cathedral School, Llandaff". HMC. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  3. ^ School, Cathedral. "Estyn Report 2012". Cathedral School Llandaff. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. ^ The Times, 1 September 2012
  5. ^ Senior School – Pastoral Care
  6. ^ "Only Men Aloud member judge Cathedral School musical talent". South Wales Echo. 8 November 2010.

External linksEdit