One of Wales’ first Peace Schools celebrated

Jane Harries – Peace Educator Coordinator at WCIA

March 23, 2022

Cyfarthfa High School in Merthyr Tydfil is one of six schools in England and Wales to feature in a series of short films created by Quakers in Britain to show the power of peace education.

Cyfarthfa High School was one of the first schools to join the Peace Schools scheme launched by Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA) in 2018. The scheme supports schools in taking an holistic approach to peace, promoting co-operation, respect for difference and problem solving as well as developing an awareness of Wales’ peace heritage and supporting learners in becoming active, ethical citizens.

Cyfartha’s approach has been shaped by a group of pupil Peace Ambassadors and Assistant Head Tracey Griffith said: “Visits to Cyfarthfa Museum to learn about conscientious objectors and important figures in local history, such as Keir Hardie, were key. The annual Peace and Goodwill message from the children of Wales to the children of the world also inspired them.”

It was key that pupils understood the importance of peace at all levels, she said: personally, at school and on an international level as global citizens.

“Students get really enthusiastic about unpacking their local peace heritage,” said Jane Harries who coordinates the Peace Schools scheme for the WCIA. “At Cyfarthfa High School peace and justice issues are now brought into a whole range of different curriculum areas.”

Isabel Cartwright from Quakers in Britain, who visited the school with Breaking Waves Films, was impressed with the Cyfarthfa peace ambassadors.

“They were clear that a peace school is a place where everyone feels safe and valued and have helped build a respectful and collaborative atmosphere,” she said. “Watching them re-enact the tribunal of a conscientious objector was a highlight, and showed their ability to put themselves in another’s shoes.

“Right now thousands of Ukrainians and Russians have been forced to decide how to respond to war, whether through nonviolence or armed conflict, obeying orders or disobeying. It’s powerful to see young people reflecting on how those same dilemmas have confronted people in Wales, and developing their own perspective as ethical, informed citizens.”

The film shows pupils visiting their local war memorial, commemorating the people of Merthyr killed in the Boer War, and the Temple of Peace in Cardiff. Opened in 1938 by Minnie James, a woman from Merthyr who lost three sons in the war, the Temple was built to commemorate those who died in WWI, and to be a centre for work to promote peace and health. 

“Minnie James opened this Temple of Peace in the hope to create peace for our future, for the younger generation” said one student, “and we, as the younger generation, are standing here, hoping to do the same for our school.”

The Quaker films highlight primary and secondary schools that invest in building peace, whether by training in conflict resolution, exploring identity and inclusion or tackling global citizenship questions. The other schools featured are in London, Staffordshire, Leeds and Birmingham.

The series of videos from Quakers in Britain is building up to the release of a new report Peace at the Heart, a relational approach to education in British schools, to be launched 11 May 2022.

Notes to editor:

For more information, please contact Assistant Head Tracey Griffith on 01685 725222 or at

The film will premiere on the Quakers in Britain YouTube Channel on Sunday 27 March.

Find out more about becoming a Peace School at

The films were funded by the Network for Social Change.

Find out more at

Follow @PeaceEduQuaker on Twitter

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