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 Cilcennin, and examined the school held in the parish school-room. This is a strong and convenient building, suitable for the purpose ; it was erected about sixteen years ago, at the expense of the parish, and on parish ground, and is open to all ; but there is no endowment or subscription made towards the support of the teacher, but any adventurer is allowed the use of it without any rent, and get what he can from the scholars.
The master who has it now has been a Dissenting minister, and a well-educated man, but he lies sunk into almost a melancholy state, which induced him to give up his charge. The school is just in the state it might be expected with such a master over it. The best of the scholars read most imperfectly; they knew nothing about what they read, and could scarcely answer a single question upon any subject connected with the Bible. The writing was most carelessly and slovenly done; and there was not a single scholar learning arithmetic. This is in a worse state, if possible, than the school I reported yesterday at the Calvinistic chapel.
I left schedules here for the Church Sunday school, and had an interview here with the Incumbent, the Rev. - James, who is a very intelligent gentleman, and who is willing to give every information in his power, and to assist the object of the Commission by every possible means. I left also schedules for the Independent Sunday school and the Wesleyan in this parish, and I could find no other schools in this parish than the above reported.
November 27th, 1846.
(Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.