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 today a day school near a chapel called Bethel, in the parish of Llangwyryfon.
This is nearly a new room, well lighted. and suitable for a school, erected by the Calvinistic Methodists. The scholars read to me a portion of the 34th chapter of Exodus, very imperfectly. They spelt pretty correctly; but they knew nothing of the meaning of what they read. Their knowledge of Scripture, Acts and doctrines was also very scanty and imperfect. There was no arithmetic taught. The writing was tolerable, considering that the teacher here was only a mere youth of 14 years of age, who is tolerated for want of a better. He appears a remarkably steady and well-behaved youth and he seemed to maintain complete authority and control over his pupils without any apparent effort, and to teach what he knows very well. If he were well taught and trained at a Normal school, he would make an able teacher. Mr. Davies, Pentre farm, and Mr. Jennings, Rhydfydyr farm, accompanied me here.
There is a day and Sunday school with the Calvinistic Methodists here. They have lately erected a very convenient room for a school at the end of the chapel, over a large stable and other outhouses. It is well lighted and ventilated. The school has been opened only three weeks. The master is a young man, and from the answers he gave me to several questions he appeared tolerably well educated, but he is not acquainted with any system of teaching. The school is on the principles of the British and Foreign School Society, but not conducted on that system of teaching. I examined each scholar; some appeared shrewd and quick, but the amount of general and Scriptural knowledge possessed by any of the scholars was very limited.
There is an Independent Sunday school here, at a chapel called Sharon, and a day school connected with it. I obtained the answers to the questions in the schedule from the Superintendent of this school. I could not find out that there are any other schools in this parish.
November 12th, 1846. (Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.