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The Reports of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the state of Education in Wales. 1847

This report was published by three English university scholars into the educational system in Wales. The three were Lingen, Symons and Vaughan Johnson. The report unfairly drew attention to the inadequacy of Welsh education . One of their main points was that Welsh children , and often their teachers too, could not speak English. The report was produced in blue books, hence the name. Apart from , and because of, the understandable outrage of Welsh people the report helped to forge a  greater sense of national identity and the publication was referred to as "The Treachery of the Blue Books" [Brad y Llyfrau Gleison]. One of the principal Welshmen who fought a campaign against the report was Evan Jones , better known as Ieuan Gwynedd, a  minister and a journalist . One of the report's statements was that Welsh was a " peculiar language isolating the masses from the upper portion of society". Sadly, for the Welsh language, faced with such criticism many people did opt for an education in the English language despite the efforts of Ieuan Gwynedd and others. [ Based on an article in"A Helping Hand "by W J Jones 1996]

This is an extract by Aidan Jones from the actual Report as far as it relates to this parish;

HENFYNW

I visited in the afternoon a Sunday school in connexion with the Calvinistic Methodists at Aberayron. There were about 200 scholars present. Teachers and scholars appeared to be busily occupied, and all the arrangements were directed and regulated after the usual manner in which these things are managed pertaining to Sunday schools among the Calvinistic Methodists.

I examined a junior class of lads who were reading a portion of the New Testament, and a more advanced class of females who were reading in the book of Numbers. In both they answered me nearly every question with tolerable accuracy, but they appeared less able to explain words than to answer questions on religious subjects in general. There was a very important and novel practice from what I have seen before in Sunday schools, adopted in this school, and that is the whole School repeats at the close every Sunday the Ten Commandments.

I visited next the Sunday school connected with the Independents, but I was unable to examine any of the classes in the school. From general observation everything appeared to be conducted in good order by steady, pious, and intelligent teachers. The business of the school was curtailed because the minister was to preach in the afternoon on the quay, near a new vessel before she leaves the port - a custom which has always been observed under similar circumstances; and most of the teachers and scholars were going to attend this service.

November 22nd, 1846 (Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.

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(Gareth Hicks)

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