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Help and advice for Reports of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the state of Education in Wales. 1847

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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;


I visited the only day school in this parish, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Evans, the Incumbent, on December 8th. A new master had just opened the school, one of Mrs. Bevan's masters having recently completed his term in the parish. The school is now an adventure one. The master appeared to be a sharp shrewd person, but wholly untrained. Some of the elder boys were making progress in arithmetic - They read the English Bible with tolerable case, but scarcely a single boy in the school understood even easy words.

Five of the best boys were called up to read by the master in the 110th Psalm. The corrections in pronunciation were oftener wrong than right; in some cases words rightly pronounced by the children were corrected by the master, and they were made to pronounce them wrongly "wrath" having been pronounced rightly, the master made the boy call it "rarth." I asked if questions were put to the children, and the master thereupon asked them who wrote the Psalms, to which the reply was Moses. Who made his enemies his footstool? The Devil. Crucifixion they thought meant stoning, and Bethlehem one thought was in Wales, another in England, and one far away. In general knowledge only one or two answered at all; the rest were utterly ignorant of everything.

- J. C. S. [Jelinger C. Symons, the chief commissioner in Cardiganshire]

(Gareth Hicks)