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 Cilian Aeron. I had an interview with the Rev. William Hughes, the Incumbent, who informed me that there was a small Sunday school connected with the Church, but no day school. The only day school in the parish is held in an old chapel belonging to the Presbyterians. This is in a dilapidated slate, very damp, and unsuitable for a schoolroom.
The master is quite a young man, without knowledge, tact, or experience; he had made several errors in orthography by writing the copies in the writing-books for the scholars to imitate. The reading and spelling was tolerably correct, but the scholars knew nothing , of the meaning of what they read. They could not answer a single question respecting Old Testament history, nor could they tell me where Jesus Christ was born, nor for what purpose he came into the world; they did not know where he was now doing in heaven, nor whether he will come again to this world.
It is a mere apology for a school, except simply for reading and spelling what is not understood. The writing was full of errors, unskilfully and most carelessly performed. In arithmetic not one knew the multiplication or pence table. The number of weeks or days in a year was not known by either; and the answer to how many days there are in a week was six, as usual. Not one of them could repeat one of the Ten Commandments. I obtained from the. Rev. William Hughes the schedule filled with the answers to the questions respecting the Church Sunday school ; and I was informed by him and by a Mr. Jenkin Evans, of Ty-nant, living near the church, who has lived sixty-three years in the parish, that there are no schools besides what I have above reported in the parish.
November, 30th 1846.
(Signed) HENRY PENRY Assistant.