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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 to-day the parish of Bettws Efan. I was not able to see the Vicar, as he resides at Penbryn. I was informed by several parishioners who attend the church, that there is no day or Sunday school connected with the parish church. There is a Sunday school at a place called Bryngwyn, connected with the Independents, and also a day school held in the same room. I visited this place and found that the day school had been dismissed the day before, for the Christmas holidays. I had to go from there about four miles, to see the master. I obtained from him the answers to all the questions in the schedule.  The room in which the school is held is well built, and erected in a convenient place of approach at a cross road.  The master is a young man, who has lost the use of one arm. He is not well educated which I ascertained by questioning him; but he is quick, and, would soon learn, and, I think would make  a useful master if he was properly trained. From all the enquiries I made I was only able to find these two schools in the parish.

(Signed)     HENRY PENRY, Assistant.