Aspiration, Application, Achievement
Brynmawr, through its own efforts, provided the first Intermediate School in the County of Brecon at the end of the 19th century. Later when it became a County School, Brynmawr was valiant in its efforts to improve and extend the building and during the depression of the 1920s and 30s the town provided a Grammar School education for its senior pupils. After the passing of the Education Act of 1944 attempts were made to re-organise secondary education in the Brynmawr district to give every pupil the opportunity to be educated.
After several years of effort on the part of the District Education Committee and Secondary School Governors, the Local Education committee and the Ministry of Education were persuaded to provide a new Comprehensive School at Brynmawr. A site was found with adequate playing fields and a new school building was erected. On Wednesday 18th November 1964 the school was officially opened by Alderman T. Rowley Jones when the Grammar and Modern Departments of the Bilateral School were brought under one roof in the new premises at the Rhydw. Its purpose was and is steadfast and continuous and ‘to be of inestimable benefit’ to many generations.
Mr Ken Richards composed the music for the School Song and played the organ at the Opening Ceremony on this site in 1964. Mr Richards won an Eisteddfod Medal for the composition. At that time he was on the staff of St. Mary’s Church in Wales Primary School, Brynmawr. The words were by Mary McDonald Taylor, Headmistress of St Mary’s Church in Wales Primary School, Brynmawr:
‘This is a song of lives that are young,
Of hearts that are gay, and hopes that are strong,
Of steadfast endeavour to journey along
And to carve out a life that is free!
School, girls School!
School, boys School!
Set on a plateau of verdant green,
High in the hills where the air is clean,
And the world is specious not cramped or mean,
Up! Up for the School!
What though the furrow be heavy to hoe
The lessons too long and the intellect slow?
Determined to conquer, we’ll win out we know,
So we’ll set to our work with a will.
This is a song of a School that is game
To triumph in sport and to strive on for fame,
To live and to honour to keep fair her name,
Ag enwogion yr Ysgol Brynmawr!
School, boys School!’
The following Head Teacher names reverberate through the years from 1897 to the present day : Mr T L Williams, Mr T W Price, Mr B Birchmore, Mr Morris Jones, Mr T R James, Mr Michael Scott Archer, Mr Clive Boulter, Dr Michael Norton and Mr James Retallick – all very unique and intuitive Head Teachers who have put their own stamp of the school. It has been a continuous – sometimes stormy and tempestuous journey from ink-well to iPad!
In 1992 the school achieved Grant Maintained status and in 1996 became Brynmawr Foundation School. In 2012 after a hard fought battle, the school lost its sixth form and became an 11-16. Generations of Brynmawr students have passed through its doors and many dedicated teaching staff have given their all to make this a happy and successful place to work and study for the last half century.
Today the school’s motto is ‘Aspiration Application Achievement’ and the school believes in partnership and co-operation, not only between student and teacher, school and parent, but we are also proud of the partnerships we have developed with other schools, organisations and local businesses who work closely with us year after year for the benefit of our students. The school is committed to leading relevant quality educational experiences and to continue to make a difference to the learning journey of children in Blaenau Gwent.