Tribute to the former headmaster of St Teilo’s High in Cardiff who never excluded a single child


Tributes were paid to Teifion Griffiths, who was Headmaster of St Teilo’s Church, Wales High in Cardiff from 1983 to 2002.

The father of five children died aged 83 at the University Hospital of Wales surrounded by his family.

Alex Dunphy, a friend and former head of Fitzalan High in Cardiff, said Teifion is known for changing lives. During his two-decade tenure, no student was disfellowshipped from St. Teilo’s.

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Raised in the Gilfach Goch glens, Mr Giffiths moved with his family to London where his father and brothers ran the famous second hand bookshop Griffs on Charing Cross Road.

A proud Welshman, Teifion spoke Welsh and was part of the Welsh-speaking Welsh community in London. He attended Marylebone Grammar School before going to Aberystwyth University.

There he met the love of his life Julia, his future wife.

Their son Tudor became a headmaster in the north of England, Huw is a printer and publisher in Paris, Gareth an IT specialist and Harriet a primary school teacher. Her daughter Magdalen had special needs and sadly passed away just before Teifion in December.

Prior to college, Teifion served national service and was deployed as a weapons training officer in the Ordnance Corps.

After teaching at Dagenham, Buckhurst Hill and Walthamstow he returned to Wales and was Deputy Head of St Teilo’s before becoming Head.

Mr Dunphy said: “He was ahead of his time and believed in speaking to students and listening to them.

“No student was ever expelled from St. Teilos, and yet there was an orderly, business-like atmosphere. Under his leadership, Christian caring underpinned the work of his staff and governors, and the students learned to respect one another and work together.”

Working closely with other Anglican and Catholic schools, Teifion was Chairman of the Anglican Headteachers of England and Wales and an active member of the South Glamorgan and then the Cardiff Headteachers Association. He was also active in the Welsh Secondary Schools Association.

After his retirement he worked for a time again as a teacher at Woodlands Special School in Cardiff.

He worshiped in the Anglican churches in Roath and during lockdown sold many of his rare books at an unoccupied table outside his home, where he left an honesty box for buyers who would raise a thousand pounds for his local church.

Remembering his friend and colleague, Mr Dunphy said: “Everyone who came into contact with Teifion was enriched. He made life better for everyone.”

He leaves behind four of his five children and his wife Julia.

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