Warm welcome awaits

27th October 2000 at 01:00
Isn't Cardiff supposed to be a so-called happening place?

Cardiff is boldly hailed on its official website as "Europe's youngest and most dynamic capital city", though where this puts Europe's other dynamic capitals, such as Paris or Prague, on the league table is anyone's guess.

Nonetheless, Cardiff is a great place to live and work and very much a city of contrasts. It has schools in leafy suburbs where parents have high aspirations for their children. At the same time, it has big housing estates and schools with challenging children.

What is the local education authority like to work for?

Cardiff County Council is by far the biggest authority in Wales: it became a unitary authority five years ago.

It lays on a welcome meeting for all new teachers, followed up by an induction programme with specific sessions for newly qualified teachers. The authority also runs a full in-house professional development programme for all teachers.

Cardiff was recently praised by Estyn, the Welsh inspectorate, for its work in raising standards in numeracy.

Are there many challenging job opportunities?

The city isn't suffering from teacher shortages in any specific areas. "On the other hand, we're always looking for talented, bright, interested teachers," says Cardiff's chief schools officer, Hugh Knigt.

Cardiff has 140 schools altogether: 108 primaries, 20 secondaries, seven special schools and five nursery schools.

Can I afford to live there?

House prices seem reasonable compared with much of the south of England, but they are high compared with the rest of Wales.

A three-bedroom semi-detached house would cost between pound;100,000 and pound;140,000 depending on where it is in Cardiff. Towards the city centre there is more terraced housing, starting at around pound;70,000.

Expect to rent a one-bedroom flat for pound;350-pound;400 per calendar month.

What is there to do outside of school?

Cardiff is a lovely city. The centre offers great shopping and attractions such as the eccentrically decorated Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Stadium, which hosted the Rugby World Cup last year. There is also the National Museum of Wales, set in fine Georgian civic buildings.

The Cardiff Bay barrage development is creating a huge new harbour out of the muddy estuaries of the rivers Taff and Ely. This will be completed next April.

Outside the city, the South Wales valleys, the Brecon Beacons and coastal resorts such as the Gower are all within easy reach.

Famous sons and daughters?

Musical lot: singer Shirley Bassey, singer Charlotte Church, singer Shakin' Stevens and songwriter Ivor Novello.

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