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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;

NANTCWNLLE

October 30th I visited the above place. There is no day school in the parish, with the exception of for about two months in the winter time. That school had not been re-opened at the time of my visit. The only school in the parish is the Sunday school held in the Methodist chapel. On my way to Nantcwnlle I met two heads of families, with whom I got into conversation. Amongst other things, they told me that it was entirely out of their power to give their children education, in consequence of the total absence of schools from the parish.

I afterwards met a little boy, intelligent looking, and about 10 years of age, to whom I gave a penny for answering me a few questions. Had been in school for a little time. Had heard of Jesus Christ. Did not know who he was, had never been told. Had never heard of the Apostles or disciples. Had heard of the Queen ; she lived in London, Did not know what she was doing. England was a place far away. Knew the name of the parish in which he lived. Did not know the name of the county or country. Had never heard it. Six days made a week; four weeks made a month. Did not know how many months or days made a year.

All people in this parish seemed very wishful to educate their children if they had an opportunity. The school held on Sunday in the Methodist chapel, is the only school

October 30th 1846 DAVID LEWIS, Assistant.

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(Gareth Hicks)

 

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