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 a Sunday school in the parish of Llanfair Orllwyn, which was closed last week because of the severity of the weather.
It is held in a building belonging to a farm called Nant Garran. The room is built of stone, and covered with slates. It is well adapted for a schoolroom, except that another window or two is required to admit more light into it.
I examined all the scholars in it on what they were taught. Five read to me a portion of the 15th chapter of St. Mark's Gospel very imperfectly, but spelled very correctly. They did not know the meaning of the words, "priests, elders, scribes, consultation, bound, delivered, &c." They knew that Jesus Christ was the Son of God; that he came into the world to save sinners; that in order to do this, he died on the cross. They knew the names of most of his Apostles, and that Judas betrayed him. Only one boy could repeat any one of the Ten Commandments. They did not know whether Jesus Christ will come again into the world or not. The writing was, as usual, very carelessly and unskilfully performed. In arithmetic, no boy knew how much was 30d. The answers given were, 1s. 4d., 1s. 11d., 3s., 2s. 3d., in 30d. The multiplication table was not correctly known by any one of the scholars. They did not know how many months, weeks, or days there are in a year. The present master had the school at the commencement of this winter. One of the schools of Lady Bevan's trustees was held in this room last year. The master had received a tolerably good education, and I think he is capable of teaching the scholars better than they have been taught.
December 26th, 1846. (Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.