Education in the 19th Century; the Bersham and Adwy School Log & Diaries
This log (below) provides a fascinating insight into education, attitudes and life in a rural Welsh community in the 1860s. It includes sections relating to Timothy Morgan-Owen and to James Pritchard Shelby and there is one reference to Thomas Francis Shelby. All of these can be found using the index in the left window.
Summary & Background
For many years children in the Coedpoeth/Penygelli area had to travel several miles to be educated at Wrexham or Brymbo schools. In the mid-1860s a committee of local gentlemen, including Mr. Low of the nearby Vron Colliery (this would go into liquidation in 1882 but re-open some years later), was set up to raise funds for a school. Land was bought but it was another two years before there was enough money for construction work on the boys' school to begin in May 1867. A newspaper report of the laying of the corner-stone [The Wrexham Advertiser, etc., Saturday, 8 June 1867. p. 6] reported speeches which stated how important was the education of the 'working classes' as technology reduced the need for manual labour and increased the need for skilled workers and how much it was to be hoped that parents would ensure their children availed themselves of this new facility. The buildings consisted of single-classroom-schools for each sex (each roughly 18m x 6m) and a master's house. The school opened on 6 May 1868, early enough for most of the Shelby children to benefit from an education there.
This was a time of considerable reform in education, some of which is reflected in the 1868-1888 Adwy Coedpoeth British School log/diary, below. The log/diary also reflects life in a mining community and at least two of the Shelby children were educated there. It was also where James Pritchard Shelby trained as a pupil teacher and there are many references to him in the log. The evidence for the former includes an entry in June 1870: "Mr Shelby and another called in relation to their children, they had been playing truant the previous day." Also, in 1879 Thomas Francis Shelby was awarded a school prize.
For several years the HMI for the school was Timothy Morgan-Owen; on one occasion his wife, Emma, presented the school prizes. Timothy was first mentioned in the school log/diary in 1877. In those days the HMI was more closely involved with the schools under his jurisdiction so there are regular mentions of his visits and of his reports. The HMI helped to determine the Government grant the school received, which depended on academic success and on the number of pupils regularly attending the school (the latter partly explains the Master’s obsession in the school log with absenteeism).
For centuries the education of the working classes had been neglected; up to the mid nineteenth century many people, including MPs, thought their education a waste of resources as factory workers and manual labourers had no need of such knowledge or skills for their employment. At Adwy school, "One boy’s father refused to let him learn poetry as it is of no use to him." There was also concern that improved education would be a risk to the cheap labour market. Often education facilities depended on charities and benefactors. James Owen was extremely lucky to have received an excellent education in the early 19th century, thanks to the beneficence of the ‘Lord of the manor’; in those days such an opportunity was extremely rare, particularly in a rural area.
Government funding for education was not initiated until 1833. This first grant, a mere £20 000, was administered by the National and British and Foreign school societies for the construction of schools under the supervision of the churches. Six years later a Committee of the Privy Council was established to supervise expenditure. At the same time Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth began to set up his own teacher training colleges and school inspectors (HMIs) were appointed, principally from the ranks of the clergy.
Before the Education Act of 1902 the training of teachers was largely carried out under the pupil-teacher system, first established in 1846. School children were selected as pupil-teachers and received three years concurrent training and education in preparation for the Queen's Scholarship Examination (later the Preliminary Examination for the Certificate) at 18. Originally, both their training and education took place at their schools under the supervision of the headmaster.
Successful Queen's scholars had the opportunity the opportunity to attend residential training colleges, mostly Church of England and run by voluntary societies, for 2 or 3 years. In the early years of Adwy school the only qualified teacher was the master and he had several pupil teachers for whom he was responsible. There were occasionally paid ‘monitors’, senior pupils who acted as assistant teachers. In 1856 the Department of Education was set up. By then, government was paying grants to many schools to cover their ordinary running costs and in 1862 this department introduced a system whereby grants and salaries were based upon inspection reports, those made by the HMIs. Some of the criticisms of this system were similar to current criticisms of SATs. Eventually, with a rapidly expanding population, with approximately 25% of children aged 5 to 12 not attending school and amid fears that Britain was falling behind other countries, it was decided that a state system of education was required.
James Pritchard Shelby became a pupil teacher in May 1878, when he would have been aged fifteen. Pupil teachers (PTs) were thrust into positions of authority very young so it is not surprising that the Master occasionally had to remind them to distance themselves from their pupils and to keep up with their studies. Pupil-teachers had a long day, starting very early in the morning, teaching a full day and often continuing after school hours; just after James Shelby began his training an entry in the school log/diary stated, "Lessons are given to the teachers who prepare for the Scholarship from 6am to 8am and from 7pm to 9pm." In January 1883 it is recorded that he had qualified as a teacher, after which the only reference to him was in February 1888 when, as part of the school prize day entertainment, he performed a humorous song, "The girl in the pinafore dress".
In addition, school holidays were very much shorter than at present - 3 weeks in the summer, a week at Christmas and about a fortnight at Easter – and on several nights a week the teachers staffed evening classes, primarily for the children working in the local mines. Each pupil teacher had their own class for whom they had to prepare lessons in all subjects and durng their training which lasted at least three years, they were examined at regular intervals. It was demanding work.
Initially the school was staffed by a Master and several pupil-teachers. It was poorly equipped with inadequate ventilation and a total lack of heating in the severe winters. Parents had to pay towards their schooling and there were occasions when arrears reached a level where their children had to transfer to Minera National School, occasionally only temporarily. In the early years attendance was not compulsory and non-attendance was all too common, either due to illness – the district was hard hit by several epidemics of scarlet fever, measles and whooping cough – or when children were needed to glean crops or to plant or gather potatoes. School attendance also fell when there were events such as local fairs or through truancy though this became less common over the years. With regard to illness, the log comments: "It is remarkable fact that our neighbourhood standing as it is in such an isolated position in pronounced by the Medical Officer to be the most unhealthy in the Wrexham Sanitary Union. There never passes a year without scarlet fever and measles carrying a considerable number of the younger population away." There were two headmasters of the boys school during this period and each lost one of their own children whilst there.
Amongst the many duties of the Master apart from the administrative running of the school were teaching a class, of his own, training the pupil teachers, imposing punishments on miscreants – corporal punishment was used sparingly – and supervising the many visits made to the school by members of the management committee (later the School Board), local business owners, the incumbents of local churches as well as others involved in education. The many visits perhaps reflect the fact that this was, according to Timothy, one of the best schools in the area. Amongst the usual items featured in the school log/diary written by the Master were the fluctuating attendance, the regular exams, the problems of collecting the payments from parents and the progress of the pupil teachers.
The following are edited extracts from the school diary/ log. They have been chosen for their relevance to James Pritchard Shelby or to Timothy Morgan Owen, for the information yielded about local life and for the way in which they reflect national events such as changes in the education system or industrial unrest. Omitted are references to regular exams, to specific classes, to the many visits made by individuals and to the many comings and goings of pupils or groups of pupils, though some entries were included as typical of such events.
You can jump to the next reference to the Shelbys (click here for the first) or to the next reference to Timothy Morgan Owen or to his annual reports (click here for the first.).
MayNumber of scholars present = 97 boys. Examined the Boys … and found great difficulty, as the greater number had never been to any school before.
63 new scholars attended today. The school is in a very awkward state, as it is not supplied yet with proper books and apparatus.
7 new scholars attend. The school is now in pretty fair working order, as we are supplied with apparatus and books.
Not many present as it being Wrexham fair day.
A Welsh `Cymanfa` held in Coedpoeth. Several of the chief ministers of the Independents present.
The weather still continues very hot, and we find it very difficult to interest the children in such a manner as to keep them attentive to their lessons. The ventilation of the school is not in very good order.
Two left school to work at the mines.
The candidates for the office of Pupil Teachers attend lessons at half past six in the morning. The lessons given the candidates today were Arithmetic and Mensuration.
An examination held. 175 boys examined and the majority were in a very backward state.
JulyThe school not so well attended, as there was an excursion to Bangor and a Ladies Club in the village.
The weather has been very hot for several weeks and the children are very restless.
The candidates [pupil teachers] have a grammar lesson at half past six this morning.
The whole school examined, found then rather backward. … The school breaks up for 3 weeks.
AugustThe school reopens after the midsummer vacation. Not well attended as several children are kept at home to work.
October… the scarlet fever is very prevalent in the neighbourhood
Edw. Jones, Adwy Clawdd, one of the schoolboys died of scarlet fever this morning. A very nice little boy and very fond of his lessons.
Not so well attended as usual as several of the boys were raising potatoes.
NovemberThe school money amounted to a great deal more than usual today as it was a Pay Day at the Vron and Minera Works.
A little boy named Enoch Hughes died of the Scarlet Fever. Several boys continue ill. The Scarlet Fever has been very prevalent in the neighbourhood during the last 4 months.
The cold weather has just commenced and several of the youngest children are kept at home for the winter. This locality is a cold and stormy place. Great inconvenience arises from the fact that we have no fireplace in the classroom.
Arrived in school about ten o clock in the morning …. Found a great number of the children following the procession to meet Osborne Morgan Esq. the Liberal candidate for the County of Denbigh. The elections are affecting the number in attendance at the school. Polling takes place at Wrexham and the school is not so well attended.
DecemberPayments of the children amounts to a good sum as it was a Payday at the Minera Works on Saturday. Scarlet fever is still prevalent in the neighbourhood and one of the boys died this week.
One of the schoolboys died this morning. Thomas Williams of Wern. He died of Scarlet fever.
The school not so well attended as usual, great many children being preparing for Xmas.
The school breaks up this evening for Xmas day, no other holidays allowed for this year
Prizes given to the best two in each class by Mr Low of Wrexham … and a great number of the boy’s parents attend.
One of the boys named George Edwards died this morning of Scarlet Fever.
Appointed a number of boys as curators for the week, to give out and collect slates in each class. To look after the fireplace = John Davies. In future the teachers of each class will have to be careful with the order and discipline of their classes, allowing the curators to find anything that will be required for them.
FebruaryW Low [proprietor of the Vron Colliery] delivered a lecture in the evening upon his proposed scheme of a Submarine Tunnel from England to France.
Several boys kept at home owing to a fair being held at Coedpoeth. Some parents seem to care very little about sending their children regularly to school. …Several boys belonging to Standard 2 have left for the Vron Colliery though some of them were very young.
MarchThe school very well attended though the weather is cold. A little boy belonging to the Infant Class died last Saturday.
Found out that a boy had been writing with a black lead pencil on a door, and I punished him well… Gave the whole school a lesson on Good Behaviour.
The weather is very cold and it snows heavily, attendance is smaller than usual.
A meeting held this evening in the school advocating "Building Societies"
Punished very hard some boys who had been throwing stones after a man on the previous evening.
AprilThe tea party very well attended. All the children marched in a procession through the place headed by members of the Committee. The tea was kindly given by the Management, as it was the Anniversary. A Concert held in the evening. The school fairly attended though it was Wrexham Fair Day.
I am convinced now that the defects in the order and discipline of my school are to be attributed to the want of energy on the part of it’s teachers, therefore I am determined to prepare beforehand, so that the boys will be supplied with sufficient amount of work for the day, and do the utmost in my power to check idleness on the part of my teachers as well as the school children.
MayThe order of the school was not very good during the time that the Copy books and Slates are given out and to do away with the confusion and noise all the pupils have to sit upright with their hands behind until they are supplied with everything they require and everyone commences their work at the same time. After they have finished their sums etc, they have to turn their slates over and put their hands behind.
I had to take the assistance of a monitor this week as … one of the Candidates [pupil teachers] has left, as he failed to pass his examination.
JuneSeveral scholars … leave school, for Minera national school as the payments in ours are too high.
A very bad practice is allowed to exist in allowing boys to leave class at half past eleven to take dinner for their fathers, though we prefer having them in school for 2 hours in the morning than losing them altogether
The weather is very close and the boys rather restless. The highest class is allowed to read newspapers twice a week.
JulySeveral boys are kept at home these days, as their parents are busy with the hay.
The weather has been very hot, we are under the necessity of turning the little children out to play several times during the day. Two or three boys were taken ill in school.
No school held this afternoon as there was a "Cymanfa" of the Sunday School belonging to the Independent making = about 2000 present.
AugustVron boys late this morning - found out that they had been gathering nuts instead of coming in time. Punished them accordingly.
The school breaks up for the holidays today. Pupils are advised on the necessity of working home lessons, conducting themselves properly during the vacation and attending school on the re-opening on Sept 6.
SeptemberThe school not as well attended on the first day, though as well as expected especially as a great many of the scholars were in the fields gleaning. Load of coal sent for the school from the Vron Colliery.
Very rainy morning. A tea party at Nant, and the school on that account was opened earlier this afternoon. Examined several classes and found they had forgotten much during the holidays.
Visited by … two of the School Managers. - informed them that we required a stove in the classroom before the winter sets in.
OctoberI find that I have been able to do but very little, and am ready to give up in despair sometimes … I am rewarded to a certain extent for which I ought to feel very thankful to God. On reviewing 3 or 4 months work I find there is some improvement.
Stoves brought for the school. … Snow on the ground, cold weather.
NovemberThe Potato Harvest, which keeps several children at home.
DecemberVery cold, snow today. Punished a boy for throwing snow after he was asked not to do so.
No school this afternoon on account of Xmas day being on the following day.
School not well attended, as there is snow on the ground, which makes it difficult for boys that live at a distance to come to school.
There are a great many pupils poorly; the measles is prevalent in the neighbourhood. About 23 boys are absent on that account.
I find some boys are leaving school without giving any notice, and their parents are as much to blame for not informing me when I send to enquire. I shall bring this matter before the committee at their next meeting
FebruaryFair held at Coedpoeth and several of the boys are late coming to school.
A strike at the Vron Colliery will certainly affect the school.
MarchA great number of new scholars admitted. The boys that were employed at the Vron Colliery are now out of work and the leading men of the Union have ordered them to attend school. The number in school today above 230 and the place is crammed seriously affecting the order and discipline of the school
Several new scholars attend today some of whom had been before but had left for another school. The school pence have been very small today and have been so for some time as there is a strike in the neighbourhood.
Opened early this afternoon, as there was a funeral of a Deacon taking place at the Adwy Cemetery. The school rather noisy for some time. The potato planting keeps several from school.
MayThe … boys were rather noisy and I had to punish them on that account. The Pupil teachers have very little command over the children and are very careless.
June The boys are late coming to school as we have no bell. One boy’s father refused to let him learn poetry as it is of no use to him.
Mr Shelby and another called in relation to their children, they had been playing truant the previous day.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
The school very well attended as our Tea Party takes place on the 20th of this month. One generally finds that before the Tea
party the school is much better attended that at other times which clearly shows that the attendance of children might be much
There is nothing but Compulsory attendance that will entirely do way with the irregular attendance, which is the greatest obstacle a teacher has to overcome.
The annual Tea party took place today. Above 500 children present. George Clarke Esq. kindly allowed the use of the Park for the children to enjoy themselves. A Grand Concert held in the evening.
JulyNot so many in school today July 7th as it was the day for the funeral of Evan Jones of Penygelli.
No school today as there was a large meeting held in Salem Chapel.
A Club marched round the neighbourhood and a number of children stopped at home in the afternoon.
AugustDelivered the prizes to all the best in the different standards. The delivery of prizes accounts for the good numbers at the re- opening of the school.
SeptemberSeveral boys who had left for other school returned today. I find it very difficult to get the pupils to pay for school. The arrears are being above £10.
A large meeting held in the Assembly Rooms tonight to take the necessary steps towards electing a School Board in the district. Resolution recommended such course adopted
Thos. Jones from the Vron admitted to school. The boy is above 9 years of age and does not know his letters, and there are a great number in the district of the same function.
NovemberThere was a long talk in the Committee this evening in relation to a school board.
DecemberSchool fairly attended though there is a heavy fall of snow on the ground and the weather is very cold.
School broke up 23rd for Christmas Holiday for a week.
Not many children present as it is New Years day. Very heavy snow which makes it difficult for pupils to get to school.
Sent out notes to parents of those boys who attend school irregularly. One complained that her child did not learn, when the fact was that he had not attended 100 times last year,
A School Board Meeting held, a resolution in favour of the adoption of a School Board was carried with an overwhelming majority.
FebruarySeveral boys play truant, as the weather is very favourable for sliding. Not many present as there is a large Fair in Wrexham.
Sent out to several parents to ask them to pay for school, but was very unsuccessful.
The parents are very careless about paying, there being above £12 due now.
Great agitation prevails in the neighbourhood in relation to the School Board.
MarchExamined the 2nd Standard in reading, found them fairly proficient considering the average age of the pupils belonging to this school is only 8 years.
Her Majesty’s Inspector visits the school on March 8th.
Severe illness in the Masters house, which made it almost impossible for him to attend to his duties properly.
No school held this afternoon 30th, as the Master’s youngest child died this morning.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors Report.
The order in the school is only pretty fair and the same may be said of the education. The tendency to copying is considerable, the reading is generally slovenly, the writing of the Upper Standards is very inaccurate and the failures in arithmetic are rather numerous.
Much work is needed to render the condition of the school quite satisfactory. Geography is fairly taught.
I am to request your attention to H M Inspectors remarks.
One tenth is deducted from the Grant to the Boys School for imperfect discipline and instruction and my Inspectors feel hesitation in allowing an unreduced grant to the Girls Schools.
The Masters child was buried on Monday 2nd, so that there was no school upon that day
The whole school examined and the results of the examination recorded in a book for reference after the holidays. The school broke up for 3 weeks.
SeptemberMr Hugh Jones, chairman of the Bersham School Board paid a visit to school on Tuesday, examined the whole school, and found that many scholars had forgotten a good deal during the vacation. The Guardians of the Wrexham Union have adopted the boarding out system and a great many of the pauper children attend this school.
A Tea Party held at Salem Chapel Coedpoeth on Monday, which kept several boys at home. The Tea party and Clubs exercise a very bad influence upon the school, for the children are generally kept at home on such occasions.
A Band of Hope Festival held today, there was no school held in the afternoon in consequence thereof.
A letter received from the Education Department stating that the time of our inspection would be changed from March to October which came upon us very unexpectedly.
OctoberSchool fairly attended though several children are absent on account of the potato harvest
John Warner returns to school after being working for 3 or 4 months, Joseph and Jesse Evans returned to school after being at Minera School for a considerable time.
The school was visited by John Rhys Esq. H M Inspector of Schools. The number examined being 75. Number present in school =217. Infants under seven = 53.
The report upon the Masters Certificate was made in the following terms =
"The children in this school are very carefully taught, and I have passed a most auditable examination, there is a great necessity for compulsory education".
DecemberGave up the charge of Adwy & Coedpoeth on Wednesday to take the charge of Taliesin Board School 10 weeks after the school year ends, so that there still is 10 weeks grant coming to me next year.
(Richard Morris has now left the school and Griffith Joseph Jones is the master)
Took charge of the school Dec 26th. Allowed the Pupil Teachers to carry it on as usual, found things in a very awkward state, no books, no slates. I might say that the school was without everything.
Did nothing this last week but examined the school and I am quite downhearted at the prospect before me. We can never get them to pass the Government Examinations.
Report of H. M. Inspector.
The Boys school is conducted with considerable skill. The least satisfactory subject is arithmetic. At present the children are want to hang up their caps in the main schoolroom, as long as this arrangement continues anything like moderately good discipline is I fear out of the question. It would however be well if a door were made for the Boys classroom to the yard as that the children occupying the former might be let out without disturbing the organization of the entire school.
Signed Hugh Jones, secretary.
Carried on my work of inspecting the school. The school both as regards discipline and knowledge is in a shockingly low condition.
The school is remarkably well attended and the boys are gradually coming round. There is a marked improvement in the discipline but I am very much displeased at the remarkably low state the school is in.
Had to punish some few lads very severely for playing truant this week. I find that it is a very common thing amongst them so I must set about to be severe upon the culprits.
New children are continually admitted; on average at present is between 140 to 150. Soon I hope that it will reach 160 or 170.
I am now at the end of my first month in Adwy and Coedpoeth Schools and during this one month I have been obliged to use corporal punishment more than I did during the whole time that I was at Gellifor and this is simply owing to the discipline being so lack before I came here.
FebruaryA committee met on the first and granted £10 towards books and slates etc, which are sadly needed here. We have sent for the books, which we will expect next week.
We have advertised for an assistant, as the work is very heavy. The attendance increases and over 40 new admissions have been made. They are all children who had once attended this school. There is a very marked improvement in the appearance of the children. Their clothes are much neater and they also keep their hands and faces tidier.
MarchMr Rhys [HMI] inspected the schools this week (his visit of surprise). The school was crowded with boys; we had 100 above and 61 below 7 on the day of his visit.
Mr Hugh Jones, secretary and Mr Rogers treasurer visited the school. On Thursday the Evening school was visited by the above two and Mr. Boaz Jones and John Owen from the Vron. They were surprised at the number attending the night school and the progress which some of the colliery lads appeared to be making. It is a very great shame that these lads were not sent to the day school.
AprilMany of the children went to the fair this week. The attendance if any was even smaller than last week.
We had the higher classes (both boys and girls) practising at 5.30 and until 7 o`clock. They are now in a very backward state and require a great deal of training to become anything like satisfactory.
MayThe School Board has taken over the school from the first of this month. We hope they will take some means to improve the ventilating of the classroom and also make a porch to put the caps up.
Admitted two boys from Wrexham B.S and one from Minera N.S. Attendance is very large, the school is crowded to excess. I had to send the infants to be taught in the playground and they got on well.
AugustRe-opened after the Midsummer holidays. We had intended opening on the 12th but the repairs going on inside prevented us from doing so. Gleaning affects us a little. The repairs which are going on, the backward state of the school when I had it must affect materially on the examination, which is now approaching very close.
SeptemberWe had to refuse many new scholars because we have no room for them. Parents I find take it very unkind and are almost ready to compel us to take their children. We are very anxious to get the Infant School opened as it grieves us very much to have to refuse admission to the children.
OctoberWe are all working very hard. When the Infant School is opened we expect to get on even better than we do so at present. The infants keep us very much behind.
NovemberReceived a new series of books towards the schools. The singing lessons for the children in the evening are exceedingly well attended. I find the girls very backward especially in discipline in coming in and going from school. They are improving wonderfully in their singing.
DecemberThe schoolwork was much interrupted by the gas-men who were busy putting the gas in for us. The gas will be a real convenience for us especially for the night school.
We are now compelled to work with two less than we have had in the teaching staff during the greater part of the year. … The school broke up for a fortnights holiday on Dec 31st
December 31st: The Reports of H. M. Inspector came to hand today. Summary of the Inspectors report on the Boys Department.
On the whole the children acquitted themselves very creditably. The class examined in grammar were hardly up to the mark; the same applies to the infants. I entertain hopes however that when the latter have been moved to a separate building there will be a general improvement. More blackboards and easels are requisite in the Boys school.
This school has been well taught.
STAFF [Report included results for the exams taken by some of the pupil teachers’. The staff consisted of the ‘Principal Teacher’, Griffith J Jones, four pupil teachers and two paid monitors.]
Signed ; Thomas Bury, Clerk.
John Edwards [paid monitor] is … teaching with us still though it seems that it is his intention to go. He wrote to the colliery as soon as he can get an employment.
The schools are very crowded especially the Higher standards.
John Edwards has left for the colliery. Brookes is still teaching with us but he cannot now teach as well as he used owing to his anxiety to go to College or learn of the result of the examination.
The Board met this week. They have agreed to pay me £2 a week for the Night School work but I am to pay for the assistance given of the Pupil Teachers.
FebruaryJohn Lloyd was this week engaged as a Monitor (instead of John Edwards) and is to be paid according to £7 per annum. He seems to like the work but is too much given to play with the children out of class. Brookes entered Bangor N. C. as a first year student.
The Board appoint … an assistant to our Schools. ... We were very badly off for assistants in teaching, the school being so very large. It would be a very great blessing if the Board would go on enlarging our schools. If the grant is lost this year it will not be the fault of any of the teachers.
MarchThe night school is not so well attended as it has been. Many having joined the choir that are practicing for the Mold " Eisteddfod"
The Staff of Teachers now consists of;
Mr Griffith J Jones Headmaster. Certificated. First Class.
Mr Eli Baddily Assistant Master. (Ex PT Two as assistant)
Mr William Jones P.T. (Fifth Year)
Edward Griffiths P.T. (Fourth Year)
Thomas Rogers P.T. (First Year)
Edward Roden Paid Monitor
John Lloyd Paid Montor
AprilThis week I did very little work owing to the illness and death of our little boy Taliesin Llewelyn. We buried him on Saturday at Llanynys Church, Vale of Clwyd. I was unable to attend Night School from the same cause.
MayGriffiths works very satisfactorily with the infants when we take into account that he had no practice till the beginning of this year.
Rogers and Roden also work very well but John Lloyd does not at all please me in teaching, he is a great deal too rough with the children and is very much inclined to play instead of teaching
This week we sent several new scholars home, as we had no room for them in school. It is a very great pity that the Infant school is not built and also that our schools are not enlarged. Something must be done and that very soon.
This week another batch of new pupils were dispatched home. The parents feel very much from refusing admittance to their children. There is clearly a case in which a hardworking teacher is punished for working to get his school on. If the average goes above what it should ought to be the grant is totally withheld.
JuneThe singing class with the children in the evenings were begun this week. On Jul17th we intend giving a concert at the Wesleyan Chapel Coedpoeth.
The School Fees book was audited on Tuesday by Mr C Roberts, St Asaph at the Board Room in Wrexham. Mr Roberts complained of the arrears which I find impossible to do away with unless we refuse to take the boys that pay badly in at all.
Several boys have gone to work who had actually made up their attendances, and I am afraid that we will find it difficult to get them to attend the examination.
JulyThe school broke up last night the 17th with the Infantile Concert for four weeks. The Concert passed off very nicely and people were surprised at the value of the prizes given. Mr. Low the proprietor of the Vron Colliery was our chairman. The value of the prizes given was above £6 and were bought from the Scholastic Trading Company London.
AugustOpened school today after the holidays. The attendance was smaller than I have ever seen it owing to a Good Templar Demonstration on the Minera Mountain. They had a most miserable day of it, the rain coming down in torrents. As the attendance was so small I allowed some of my teachers who were Good Templars to attend the Demonstration.
Very little work was done this day owing partly to small attendance and partly to my feeling exceedingly tired after walking from Gellifor here last night through the rain and wet.
SeptemberThe thing that is very unsatisfactory in this neighbourhood is payments of the school pence. The arrears in the Boys school alone amounts to nearly £20.
The new classroom is much healthier and more convenient than the old one. The ventilation is excellent, but the ventilation of the main room and the first classroom is extremely bad. It is very trying to work in either of these at the best of times but extremely so when not a breath of air is stirring outside. It is only hoped that the Board may find land soon to go on with their extensions.
OctoberThe attendance this week and last has not been so good, great numbers are suffering from the Hoopng cough. Those in the First Class even are suffering severely especially Maurice Hugh Jones. His parents tell me that the blood scatters in every direction when he is coughing. I only hope that it won’t affect the examination.
The number in school was very large, no place for sitting.
The attendance not so good owing to the potato harvest. Received my parchment. The report upon it was "This school is doing exceedingly well".
NovemberThe younger children are suffering very much from hooping cough. I am working till very late with the Pupil Teachers that are leaving for College Xmas. Mary Rogers the Pupil Teacher from the Girls school is now under my care as also Miss Williams and a young lady from Acrefair.
There is a great deal of sickness in the neighbourhood especially in the children, scarlet fever being very prevalent. The attendance of the infants is very bad owing to this cause. Davies, Miss Rogers and Miss Williams who receive lessons from me are working very hard and I expect they will stand very high at the Scholarship examinations next Xmas.
DecemberThe sickness in the neighbourhood is on the increase. A great number of the children have died of scarlet fever. Great care is taken when a child is ill in a family that the remainder stay at home as to isolate the sickness as much as possible.
Had to correct Edward Roberts and John Lloyd (two monitors) for playing with the children in the Playground. Proper distance must be kept otherwise the teachers will have no influence over the different classes. No communication is allowed between the teachers and their pupils.
The school reopened this week after the holidays. The Eisteddfod Choir has taken most of last year’s youngsters. Those that attend make very nice progress.
The night school is not well attended. The school suffer very much from sickness. The infants attend very badly owing to the prevalence of scarlet fever, measles etc.
The Board met this week. The Government Report was read which was considered very satisfactory.
Summary of H.M. Inspectors Report.
Day School. " This school is doing exceedingly well"
Night School " The night school is doing very good work in this neighbourhood"
Signed Thomas Bury. Clerk.
MarchThe sickness in the neighbourhood is gradually dying away and the infants are returning to school. Had to leave school on Wednesday to go to bury an Aunt in Caernarvonshire. Mr Rhys, HM Inspector visited the school during my absence. He complained of the dirty state of the schools though we have them swept daily, it must be confessed that they are done very unsatisfactorily by the present person though she gets 5/- per week for the work and 6d towards the fire kindling.
Night school very backward. Mr Baddily not working very steady. [His work had been criticised previously.] The Night School ought to be made to pay in such a neighbourhood as this.
AprilGood Friday. No school today. A holiday has been given till Tuesday morning. Mr Baddily left early morning yesterday for his home.
The school was carried on this week by the Pupil Teachers and myself, Mr Baddily not having returned. The attendance continues to increase in the Boys school.
MayThe Night School was examined by Mr Jones H.M. Inspector. Very few in attendance compared with previous years due to Mr Baddily’s carelessness.
Gave a concert with the children at Brymbo B School, several boys at home unwell.
Progress as usual; little corporal punishment was used, the children being remarkably obedient. Mr Baddily gave notice to leave.
JuneGave two concerts for the benefit of the Eisteddfod with the school children.
Have had my salary increased on Wednesday by a quarter of the grant to my present salary of £140.The Board guarantee me £80 and my house and coal. This is owing to the good standing of the school in the neighbourhood. The increase of one fourth of the grant is equal to an increase of £50, which together with my house and coal makes my salary equal to £220 to £230.
The "Maelor Eisteddfod" being next week I broke up school today for a week and arranged to begin Monday week.
JulyThey are very long time beginning the New Infant schools though the contract has been signed since some time.
The school was broken up today 30th for a fortnight. The attendance is increasing from week to week and boys are drawn from 3 miles distance. The average this week was 185.5 the number on the books was 351 and the school pence amounted to £2-5-9. The receipts in school fees have doubled since I took charge of this school.
AugustThe school was re-opened, on Wednesday 21st. Mr Geo Bristow began his duties as assistant Master in the role of Mr Baddily resigned.
SeptemberThe boys are working beautifully.
All the teachers work very well with the exception of Robert Jones, he is almost useless as a teacher. Has no control whatsoever in his class. He has neither voice to make himself heard nor hearing to hear the teachers, children or myself answering or speaking to him. He is totally unfit for the office of teacher. Examination of Pupil teachers in school. All made very fair papers.
This day is the end of our school year and a very hardworking year it has been for us, The school alone has averaged 7 hours a day and including the time given to Pupil Teachers it has amounted to 12 hours a day. The boys have been kept at work especially these last few weeks from 9 to 12.45 or 1 pm and from 1.30 pm to 5.30 and even 6 pm.
NovemberThe Night school is making very good progress under Mr Bristows charge
DecemberThe attendance is very satisfactory. When the Vron school opens I dare say it will affect the attendance to a very great extent as a large number of children come from this place and the South Sea. The Vron Bd. School will be within a few minutes walk from each place.
The Grant for the Boys School amounted to £163 .11 or 16s per head.
Girls £99.2 or 13s 4d per head
Night School 14s.4d
Total £176 .17
School opened today Jan 4th, the night school is to be opened again this evening but as it is very cold I am afraid the attendance will be reduced very much.
Several of the First Class boys and some of the Second have gone to colliery or to business. A few I am sorry to say are under age.
FebruaryA large number of children are at home with colds. The lowest classes are badly affected especially the Infants.
The school attendance this week very small, three were buried this week. Weather very unhealthy. Today the Vron School was formally declared open. Our Boys and Girls took part in the demonstration. They held a concert under my leadership at the school this evening. A deputation from the Brymbo Board attended to ask us to take part.
The Night School very badly attended, the average being only 15. Vron School opened on Monday about 20 of our boys have left to attend it. They came from the Lodge and South Sea.
We are greatly annoyed by the workmen about the School.
MarchHad to punish two truant players. On the whole the school is very free from this fault. As we send very often after the boys we are almost sure to find out if a boy plays truant.
The Night School is doing badly this year; Mr Bristow seems to lack the energy to carry on at night very satisfactorily.
The Night school is completely done for; Mr Bristow has given it up.
MayThe arrears of the schools are gradually increasing and we cannot keep them down. Some boys will not pay for their schooling. They are making very slow work at the building of the schools and it is not likely that they will finish them at the rate they are going on now.
The men are now working and hammering away in the very same room with us. It is an impossibility to get on well, indeed it is as much as we can do to keep the boys together.
JuneWe cannot make any progress. I am really downhearted. We are working in clouds of dust which is unbearable.
There is such a draught in school that it could be used for winnowing peas. Several boys have stayed at home on account of it.
JulyBroke up today, 9th and heartily glad to do so as I am sick and tired of working among these men.
AugustNo school, we were out of school for eight weeks on account of repairs.
SeptemberOpened school on Tuesday 3rd though the school was not nearly finished. I am afraid that we will fare badly at the Inspection. Our average was very good for the first week being over 200.
Attendance is really excellent, I seem to have the sympathy of the parents for they were very kind to my PT`s when they called for the children to announce that the school was opened. Average 252.
On Monday we were surprised by receiving notice of the Inspectors visit. We fully expected that he wouldn’t come till the latter end of October.
OctoberThe boys have worked tremendously hard since we received the notice. They always work well but since last Monday week they have been there regularly by 6 am.
The Infant School being ready for opening. Attendance good, discipline excellent.
DecemberTwo boys were brought in this morning who had played the truants on Wednesday and Thursday. Used corporal punishment as it was not the first time they had been doing the same. We use very little corporal Punishment except in very grave cases.
Attendance very good considering we have an epidemic in the neighbourhood. The measles is everywhere and almost in every house from Erthig to Bwychgwyn. We have had so many ill at one time. My own little boy is very ill with it.
A large number of Infants at home. We have but very few in school. We broke up this afternoon for a week’s holiday.
Summary of the Inspectors Report on the School.
In spite of the interruption consequent on the repairs of the school and the alterations made in the school buildings both departments have done very well. The average attendance in the Girls school must not exceed the limit allowed by the dimensions of the school room and classroom under Article 17a or the grant may be withheld.
H Rogers has passed an unsatisfactory examination, should she be required to complete the staff and fail to the same extant next year the grant will have to be reduced under Article 32.
The Infant mistress appointed by the Board could not come and consequently we had to apply for another.
This evening there was a distribution of Prizes to the boys who passed at the Government Inspection in October. Present were The Mayor of Wrexham (Dr Eyton Jones) and the Mayoress, Mr Low Esq. … Hugh Jones Esq. Chairman of Bersham school board … etc etc.
The Infant School was opened ... The attendance at the Infant School was unsatisfactory owing principally to the state of the weather. We are seriously diminished in numbers by the disappearance of the infants.
… the Board at this mornings meeting appointed an attendance officer.
FebruaryMr Roberts the appointed Attendance Officer called to see us. Gave him a list of a few who were absent.
MarchHad to punish three boys for truant playing. The teachers come very well to lessons at 6am.
[Several reports about Mr Lofts being late & his work being unsatisfactory, Roden’s protracted illness & the general progress of the staff.]
Weather very rough and affected the attendance this morning. Robert Jones and N A Jones absented themselves from lessons at 6 am.
Mr Lofts … seems to be a great deal too fond of his own way and when remonstrated with is a great deal too impertinent. It is evident that he has spent but a small part of his time in teaching since he left College or he would have more sympathy with the general work of the school.
The attendance this week has not been very good owing to the cold and miserable weather.
AprilThe Hooping Cough is up and down the country everywhere, especially among the infants. A great many are kept home.
Good Friday. Broke up yesterday for a weeks holiday as I attend the Conference of Elementary Teachers at Liverpool. The Girls continue on this school for next week and do not break up along with the boys. Bersham Boys, Girls and Infants broke up
We were visited this week by Mr Jones, Vron and Mr Roberts Ruthin. Both seemed very much pleased with the building and especially with the ventilation and earth closet.
MayLessons in Physiology are very much liked by the boys, they long for them so that they can carry something strange home. The parents seem to be also delighted with what the boys tell them. … The teachers work well. Mr Lofts I understand has or is about sending in his resignation.
Had complaints of some boys’s misconducting themselves in going home from school. Gave a lecture in proper conduct in going and coming from school which I am glad has had the proper effect.
Jun 30 to Jul 24 the school broke up for three weeks Holidays.
AugustThe Wrexham Eisteddfod but very slightly affects the school. Mr Lofts left and Mr Evans came temporarily to fill his place.
SeptemberMr Evans our Temporary assistant works very well so far. The boys work with a will they seem to be anxious to please in every possible way. The Pupil teacher examination was last Saturday held at the Wrexham British Girls school.
OctoberThe Scarlet fever has broken out and it has greatly affected the attendance at school. This and last week several boys have been laid up under it, some boys being boys who are to be presented having made up the required attendances.
Scarlet fever is on the increase. Several new boys are under it. Upwards of forty infants alone are suffering from this sickness. It must greatly affect the Grant in our case if the boys will continue ill. The boys that attend school are almost without an exception suffering from colds and some cough very badly.
I feel very disheartened with the fever spreading so much in the neighbourhood. The attendance at the examination was never before affected by any epidemic as we have at present in the neighbourhood. The week continues so damp and foggy that it is really surprising that the country is as healthy as it is.
The Annual Government exams took place this week. The boys have done very well indeed. I was afraid that the change in teachers might have affected the lower standards but they did as well as usual. The work done by the upper standards is not yet known but in reading we had no failures and the Grammar and Geography was very well done.
NovemberWe are badly short of teaching power and shall be glad when the new assistants are appointed. The Pupil teacher lessons are not very well done so far owing to their being new and strange.
Summary of the Inspectors Report on the School and Remarks
Boys School. " This school continues to do very well and will no doubt do better when the
Infant Department has been for some time at work"
Girls School " The Girls have passed a satisfactory examination in the standard subjects but they will be expected to improve in Arithmetic and Grammar.
Infants School " This school has made a fair beginning"
T Rogers, E Roden, R Jones, J Lloyd Jones. E Roberts and HA Davies have passed fairly under article 19 but the first, second and fourth named pupil teachers must attend to Arithmetic and History, the third to Arithmetic and History, the fifth to Arithmetic, the sixth to Spelling and History and the last to Composition and Geography.
The regulation laid down by article 70 precluded the admission of J Morgan. As six pupil teachers have been admitted in the Boys school a second certificated teacher should be appointed without delay to take the place of Mr Lofts otherwise My Lords will be unable to recognise more than four Pupil Teachers ( article 701)
DecemberThe weather is very bad for school attendance and for work while in school. At times the fog makes it so dark that it is almost impossible to see what is being done. The Board have appointed Mr H G Jones of Rhyd-ddu as a first assistant and at their next ordinary meeting they will prevail to appoint a second for whom they are now advertising.
Broke up today for Xmas week, we expect two new assistants.
Mr Morris the second assistant came here on Saturday last. Mr Jones on Wednesday they are both from the neighbourhood of Carnarvon. … Both are Bangor trained.
The school is now in full working order with a force and I trust my official staff. The Pupil Teachers on the whole do their work well.
MarchWe are now free from any epidemic and the only thing that militates against our success and attendance is the weather.
AprilReopened after the weeks vacation. … Had some discussion about admitting boys from other townships to the Bersham Schools. My argument was as long as there is room the more we admit the better for our Board in every way. The school pence and the grant received by them reduces the rates. It is also a credit to the teachers that the parents must think highly of the school to send their boys two or three miles to our school when two or three schools might be nearer home. At present I draw between 15 and 20 boys from Brymbo School, two from Broughton and a large number from Minera. Three of the best boys of the First class have walked for years to me from outside our School district, consequently I should put an objection to have our doors closed against outsiders.
Examined the First Standard, they were extremely backward when they came from the Infant school. They are now making a little progress. The majority were hardly able to say their letters and none could add two lines of figures together. The work has been very hard indeed with these little ones.
JuneHad a case of truant playing this week. As the boy had played on more than one occasion before I was obliged in this case to resort to corporal punishment and that pretty severe. In a neighbourhood like this and especially in the cases of boys drawn from a distance it is most difficult to find when a boys actually plays the truant. As each teacher is made responsible for his own class we are able in that way to keep a sharp eye upon each boy.
Mr Jones the assistant was obliged to leave school to attend to a County Court Case at Portmadoc when he summoned the School Board for non-payment of grant due to him under Article 196.
Broke up this afternoon for the midsummer holidays. Had to break up before the end of the week as the Wesleyans had engaged the room next week for a Bazaar, for which they required a part of this week to make their preparations.
JulyOpened school this morning after the usual three weeks holidays. The attendance rather small and as there was a tea party in the neighbourhood and that the school would be completely empty in the afternoon. Gave the afternoon off as a late holiday.
[Several visitors wrote comments in the visitor’s book: "This is the best boys school I have ever had the pleasure of visiting", "I am very much pleased with the manners and arrangements of the boys" and "A full school, active teachers and an almost all seeing master. Plenty of light, sufficient ventilation and an earnestness on the part of the instructors help to implant cheerfulness and animation of the children"]
The school is not nearly as full as it was before we broke up, the classes are almost mere skeletons.
On Friday the Board day as many as two dozen parents were summoned for neglecting to send their children to school. The cases of a few were adjourned, others were ordered to be proceeded with forthwith. This looking up of the irregulars is doing a great deal of good.
SeptemberThe Pupil Teachers were kept at their lessons this evening till 9.30 pm. Thos. Rogers was absent this morning from 6-8am.
Gave the final touch to the boys this week. The examination of Girls school taking place on Monday, I shall be unable to attend much to any work besides the morning school routine.
The examination of Pupil Teachers takes place at Wrexham tomorrow, Saturday at 9.30 am.
On Monday till Thursday the annual Government Examinations took place. The school was examined by T Morgan Owen Esq. H M Inspector of School. The examination was conducted differently this year to any years of my experience. Mr Owen gave the result of the Pupil Teachers exam, the boys did very well and seemed to give Mr Owen great satisfaction.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
About 31 boys came down from the Infants school. 20 of whom don’t know a single letter and have no notion of forming letters on their slates. How they are to get on will be a puzzle. They are extremely dull at present.
The attendance this week was not equal to last week and I don’t fancy that an attendance officer is up to his work. I believe that he gives time which he ought to give to the school to his own business - Tailoring.
DecemberOur Pupil Teachers taking them through and through are really very good teachers. The classes are well disciplined and yet they are very kind to the children. The teachers are kept apart from the Pupils at play hours. They are always forbidden to mix up with them on any occasion; the result is that they are well respected.
The attendance keeps very well when the state of the weather is taken into account. The continuous downpour of rain must affect the attendance very considerably. The trade of the neighbourhood is now so bad that with the present difficulty parents are able to get a little food for their children. The arrears of School pence is increasing considerably and we find the greatest difficulty to get any money whatsoever in.
Broke up for our Christmas holidays. We give only a week this year. The Board very kindly gave me leave of absence for 3 months next summer to commence from the first week in May. I intend going than over to America to see my relatives and friends.
Opened school the 31st but it was not well attended.
The Report has given great satisfaction to the Board at least so I am told. Personally I am very satisfied. Of course I hope to do better next year.
We were under a disadvantage compared to other schools. We were the first school to be examined by Mr Owen in this district and the style of examining was entirely new to us, but for all that I believe that we had stood the test very fairly and under the circumstances we have done remarkably well.
 Summary of the Inspectors Report on the School.
Boys school. All in all this is a very good school. It is quite evident that the greatest care is bestowed upon the Boys work by the Head master. All the papers were remarkably neat The weak points were the Grammar of the third standard, the Geography of the third and fourth standards, and the transposition in Literature.
I know it is difficult to teach Welsh boys to write English in their own words still with patience and practice it can be done. The singing in which the girls joined was most favourable. The physical geography was good. The tone of the scholars was most praiseworthy. The reading throughout, the grammar of the upper standards and the geography of the fifth and sixth standards were particularly note worthy. More desks, some loose benches and water for the lavatories are wanted. The writing and arithmetic of the pupil teachers were decidedly creditable.
Girls school. The reading was very good, but there were a few failures in this subject The spelling was good but the other subjects in consequence of Mrs Davies’s serious and prolonged illness were not so satisfactory as in past years. Two complete sets of books, some loose benches and maps of Europe, Asia and the world, also some slates are wanted.
Infants school On the whole this school has passed a fair examination. The arithmetic and form will need attention. Both spelling and intelligence were quite good. The singing was too noisy. More slates and books are needed. The lavatory has no water.
[The report concluded with information about pupil teachers and examination results.][ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
Today being New Years Day the number was much smaller than it has been for a very long time. Am very sorry that I opened this week, it will destroy the average for all the truants.
Have received the certificates for distribution. We intend distributing these artefacts at a public meeting on Monday evening Jan 21st. Admission by ticket only. School was visited by Mr Joseph Jones, member of the School Board who inspected the premises about the school. The Board are to be praised for the care shown by them for the property of the ratepayers.
Have admitted some new boys to school. I find a great difficulty to get the proper certificates signed by the register of Births and Deaths. Parents obliged to paying the required fee. Two boys have been admitted who didn’t know where they were registered, if they were registered at all.
The distribution of the certificates and prizes took place yesterday evening at Adwy Chapel. A report is to appear in the Saturday local papers. The attendance was very large the room being crowded in every part by the parents of the children and those who took an interest in the work of the school.
Attendance very fair. A man in business should not be appointed Attendance Officer. There is a general impression through the neighbourhood that our present officer has his favourites and it is very natural that he should favour his own and his father’s customers.
FebruaryEdward Roberts would make an excellent teacher if he applied himself to the work but now he is troubling himself about entering the ministry, which is certainly not of any assistance to his work in school.
Have had a new stock of books for all the classes. The books were supplied by the Board as a Third set. Slates have also been ordered but have not yet come to hand.
The Board meeting was held in one of the Boys classrooms. Complimented on the boys excellent discipline and regular marching. Called the attention of the Board to the Boys playground, the want of gravel etc.
MarchThe Board met yesterday and the teachers salaries were paid.
AprilNow must answer advertisements for situations in Schoolmaster.
Have engaged another gentleman to take charge of Mr Jones’ class during my absence. Mr Fothergill our new assistant entered upon his duties. I am anxious during my short absence that there shall be as little change as possible in the usual style of teaching the different classes.
May Mr Jones has mostly been in charge this week. This plan has given me an idea how the school will be managed while I am away.
[Mr. Jones took over in the absence of the Head Master.]
Gave a holiday on account of Mr Jones’s departure to America. This is my first week to take charge of the school. The average is lower than it has been for some time owing principally to the very bad state of the weather.
[The Head Master, Griffith Joseph Jones, and his family sailed from Liverpool on 4 May 1887 aboard the White Star steamer, Celtic. On Thursday 19 May 1887, 350 miles from Sandy Hook on Lower New York Bay, their ship was in collision in fog with another White Star steamer, Britannic. Five steerage passengers on the Britannic were killed. A report in the Wrexham Advertiser confirms that Griffith J Jones and his family were aboard the Celtic. Both ships returned to New York and anchored off Sandy Hook Bar on the morning of Sunday, 22 May, from where the passengers were taken into New York on tugs.]
Mr Morris s [pupil teacher] has been absent all week on account of serious illness of his father. His place has been filled by James P Shelby.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Attendance today much lower than usual, owing to it being the Anniversary of the Wesleyans.
Lessons are given to the teachers who prepare for the Scholarship from 6am to 8am and from 7pm to 9pm.
JuneMeetings are held almost weekly this part of the year at the various Chapels which greatly affect the attendances. Last week it was held at Wern Chapel, this week at Nant and a Tea party at another the same day.
Broke up for Midsummer holidays on 27th.
JulyEdward Roberts did not turn up today. He was at Carnarvon. I understand that he has an inclination for the ministry and this I am afraid does a great deal of harm to his school lessons.
Three tea parties took place yesterday which kept a great many from school. These tea parties and chapel anniversaries quite spoil the average at the school.
AugustAnother Tea party and chapel anniversary. Attendance very small today on account of that. I should be very glad if I could arrange to get the tea parties altogether the same day.
The attendance is much better this week. Have written to the parents of some boys as I find the attendance officer either does not call or does not succeed to get the boys to attend as regular as they ought.
There appeared to be a trifle more noise than usual in school. I am extremely particular about the discipline and rather pride myself upon it. The discipline has been on several occasions well spoken of both here and at Gellifor. Consequently any breach of discipline either on the part of teachers or scholars greatly pains me. Order is Heavens first law and no school can be very successful unless the order is good. There is nothing so pleasing as to go to a school where everything is done as if it were by machinery. When changes are done every child finding himself in the right place at the right moment. No confusion is thus caused and everything works most harmoniously.
Attendance not so good owing to Tea parties at the beginning of the week and the wet weather today and yesterday.
Edward Roberts again absent on Monday from schoolwork and lessons. He was away on Sunday on his usual preaching excursions. Government did wrong in repealing the Clause in the Code which forbad teachers to preach. Teachers cannot possibly get on with their schoolwork and preaching work one or the other must suffer.
SeptemberAt the examination today the school did fearfully bad. A window was broken by some collier boys last evening and this morning found out through enquiries that one of the school children was along with them. They agreed to pay 1/3d towards putting another pane in.
Some days the school is quite overcrowded. It would be well if we had another classroom for we are obliged at the present to make use of the porch daily and when the winter will come on we shall feel greatly annoyed with the crowded state of the school. To work the school effectually we ought to have two other classrooms and only use the main room for writing, dictation and singing lessons. The classes make much better progress in the classrooms than they do in the main rooms. It is a great pity that all our large schools are not built upon the classroom system.
The teachers are obliged to work very hard to get their backward boys to the mark.
Attendance is very fair but a large number that will have not made their attendance will have barely got through. I have given several names to Mr Roberts daily of irregular scholars but on enquiry find he has not called upon them. In many cases of irregularity I send my teachers after the children myself and I find it does a great deal of good.
OctoberEdward Roberts Pupil Teachers was absent yesterday and today with a bad face. He has sent notice to the Board and will be leaving about Apr 1st. He intends entering the Ministry
Received a letter from the Clerk of our School Board concerning religious teaching in the school. The resolution was brought forward at a meeting some weeks ago. It does not affect our schools but very slightly as we have always read a portion of the Scripture and prayed at the opening of the schools. We generally questioned the bys upon what was read and I suppose there is nothing in the resolution forbidding that practice until we are told not to do it we shall continue to do so.
Copy of letter received from Thos. Bury Esq. Clerk of Bersham School Board concerning the daily reading of the Bible in the Schools of the Board.
United School District of Bersham, Clerks Office, Wrexham. 3rd Oct 1878
"I beg to forward for your guidance the following Resolution carried at the last meeting of the Board with reference to the reading of the Bible in the schools. You will observe that no other religious instruction is insisted upon."
Copy of Resolution.
" That in each of the Board Schools a portion of Holy Scripture without note or comment be read at the opening and closing of School by the Head Teacher"
Edward Roberts is home again with a bad face. This is extremely annoying when a large class of 60 boys depend on him and no other teachers able to take charge.
We were visited by Dr Davies, Wrexham and his assistant ... The school was extremely full when they called and Dr Davies said that for the health of the boys the school ought to be considerably enlarged by the addition of at least another classroom.
The arithmetic during the week was all done on paper, the boys work very neatly and I hope to show my neat and clean work next week at the Annual Government Inspection. The books were examined by the Vice chairman of the Board. Tomorrow I have to take all down again to be examined by Thos. Bury Esq. the Clerk.
This week we had the Annual Government Examination. The examiner was Morgan Owen Esq. Hon. Inspector of Schools for the counties of Denbigh and Flint. Visited by Mr Morris HMI assistant. I was very much pleased with the manner of the examination was carried out and I believe the boys requited themselves very fairly indeed. Out of a total of 252 boys on the schedule only 6 were absent and they had left the neighbourhood. The questions in Physical Geography were very stiff. The boys sang very well indeed. The pieces they sang were. May Day, Ioriad-y-dydd, Jerusalem my glorious home. Mr Owen was well pleased with the singing.
NovemberOn Monday Mr H B Jones, first assistant having gone to Llanberis to bury a cousin was absent from school.
My Certificate has been returned by Mr Owen with the following new entry upon it.
" From the model state of this school I am glad to report that Mr Griffith J Jones is an excellent teacher in every sense of the word"
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The above is a highly satisfactory entry and I am exceedingly pleased with it and trust to be able to obtain a similar entry next year.
The schedules are to hand. In the First Standard the passes for R, W & A = 100%
Held an examination upon the whole school to decide the distribution of certificates and prizes. Miss Parsonage has done remarkably well much better than her predecessor at the Infant department did. The Night class did also very well, not a single failure amongst the number presented for examination.
Edward Roberts Pupil Teacher has applied to the Board to be released at Xmas. He requires to go to a Prepatory College to prepare for a scholarship at one of our Congregational colleges. His preaching has very greatly interfered with his teaching and lessons.
December [Dec, 1878]I find it very difficult to get the boys to buy their books, trade being so bad in the district. A large number of the parents attending our schools are now out of employment and consequently the boys must go without their books. It is a great pity that we have no funds upon which we can fall in order to supply the most needy with books. As it is at present the children get into debt both for books and school fees and many parents I am sorry to say care little whether they get out of debt or not.
James P Shelby promises to become a very good teacher; he has the abilities and simply wants application and encouragement.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
The school is fairly attended though it is very rough and has been all through the week. It seems as if we were going to have a hard winter and if that be the case it will affect the attendance at school, the majority being but poorly prepared for a cold frosty winter.
Mr Morris was away this week attending the certificate Examination at Bangor Training College. So we had to work with one hand less and a very hard week it was. Edward Roberts was allowed to depart this week. Roden the 5th year Pupil Teacher taking his place until the next examination in October. We received the Report of H M Inspector this week.
Mr Morgan Owen's method of examination is highly satisfactory and is a sure test of the children’s abilities and of the teachers’ capabilities for importing knowledge. No lazy teacher can escape without detection for the questions given are such that only a most careful training of the children can produce the desired results.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The attendance has been exceedingly small during the week owing to the very severe weather. Today we had no school owing to a bazaar in aid of Minera Church being held in the Boys school-room. The sale of fancy goods commenced on Friday and continued till a very late hour.
We are now busy preparing for our annual distribution of prizes. The teachers are not very well up with their lessons. I have a great deal of trouble to get them to study at home and I am often obliged to keep them in school till a very late hour.
Weather still extremely severe and as a matter of course the attendance is anything but satisfactory. There has been a great deal of emigration from this neighbourhood owing to the depression in trade. The Vron Colliery which employed so many hundreds having been entirely stopped. This emigration has also affected our averages.
February The distribution of prizes last evening passed off very satisfactory. The room was crowded and £6 was cleared as profit towards the School Fife Band after paying all the expenses.
Wrote to Morgan Owen Esq. HM Inspector this week to enquire whether the `World` would be allowed for Geography for 5th and 6th Standards. My staff not being very large enough to divide the 5th and 6th Standards into two classes I find it very difficult to teach them separate years in geography and it would greatly ease my work to have the two Standards with the same Geography.
A committee of the Board met to take into consideration the accounts of the late school prizes. They are extremely pleased with the good surplus in hand. Am busy making out a list of parents whose boys are in arrears of School fees.
Received a reply from Morgan Owen Esq. who very kindly acceded to my request with regard to the Geography for the 5th and 6th Standard.
The letter was dated " Bronwylfa, Rhyl. 12 Feb 1879 " and said. St 5 & 6 = The World in Geography next time "
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
Attendance greatly improving. Had to punish two boys for climbing the school walls, appointed two boys, Shem Williams and Edward Daniel Williams to look after the walls and closets.
A boy Allen Williams from Rhos Berse has been playing truant for some weeks. He seems to have gone quite out of the control of his father who appears to have no authority whatever over him. It would be a blessing if the boy was sent either to a reformatory or on board a training ship. The case has been before the Board on more than one occasion.
" The whole of the work of this school was deserving of the highest commendation."
"The specimen needlework and knitting were good. The grammar, reading and arithmetic were all good. The paperwork was not as clean as it should be and the writing was wanting in neatness. The writing should be larger and rounder".
" This is now a decidedly good Infant school"
Total Grant for Boys School was £246-19-0
The total for the departments = £ 451-10-0
In addition to the above £3-17-8 was allowed for the school fees of boys possessing honour certificates making a total sum of £455-7-8 received from the Department for the Penygelli Schools.
This has this year again been a very satisfactory increase of Government Grant. The Board are glad to state that nine boys have this year gained "Honour Certificates" granted by the Committee of Council on Education making a total of 14 now held by the boys of this school. These entitle the holders to this year’s gratuitous education upon condition that the holders make up the prescribed number of attendances at school and pass the requisite standard during each of such years.
Two of last years recipients lost this title to them and as a matter of course the Board lost the advantage.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The following boys successfully passed in English literature and physical geography.
Third years course.
[List includes] James P Shelby
At the beginning of 1878 it was proposed to present the boys and girls with prizes and certificates according to a scheme then made known.
(a) Prizes in each department for those who made the highest number of attendances in the school year.
(b) First and second prizes in each standard for reading writing and arithmetic.
(c) In the first and second classes on, prizes for each of the following subjects, grammar, geography and needlework.
(d) Certificates to all those who passed the Government Examination in Specific subjects.
The following scholars will be presented with prizes for regularity of attendance.
The Boys school was open during the past year 458 times. Boys most regular in this attendance were.
The Girls school was opened 432 times and the following were the most regular attendants.
The Infant school was opened 411 times
The following boys will receive prizes for Reading, writing and arithmetic.
Thomas F. Shelby. [One of 12 listed]
[ Next Shelby entry ]
The report of H.M Inspector and the results just read prove that the elementary education imparted in these schools is of the highest order, the teachers do their duties thoroughly towards the children place under their charge and it is therefore no matter of surprise that the schools are second to no other elementary school in the county. This being so, the question is asked whether parents do their part in assisting the efforts of the Attendance Officer and teachers to secure the entire benefit of this efficient teaching.
The schools have accommodation for 800 children in average attendance and at the close of the year ended Sept 30th 1878 the attendance in each department was =
Boys. Registered 327. Daily average 229. Average percent present 70. Average absent percent 30
Girls " 240 148 62 38
Infants " 221 120 54 46
Total " 788 497 63 37
Out of 788 on the register an average of 291 have been absent daily throughout the year. This increasingly is a source of great loss to the Board as so much of the grants depends upon regular attendance of the children. No child can be presented for examination without having made at least 250 attendances. Every time a child is absent the qualification for examination is endangered and the average attendance is reduced, and as a result the Government grant is reduced in the same proportion. As a result of this the school rates will, in the same degree, be inevitably increased.
Parents are earnestly requested to have this in mind and if they can by the regularity of their children’s attendance enable them to reap the fullest advantages of daily education and thereby increase the grants and reduce the rates.
At the present time when the Government requires so much at the hands of the teachers of our Elementary schools, and the regulations of the Education department are so difficult to comply with, that those who have charge of our Grammar schools should have the sympathy and support of all parents in the discharge of their arduous duties.
MarchTwo boys had to be chastised for theft. Having stolen a piece of "black-pudding" from a pork butchers shop. The whole school was stopped while a lecture was delivered on the wickedness of the act. They all seemed very greatly affected and made solemn promises not to repeat the act. I invariably in serious cases of breach of school discipline make use of the Bible and use it as the basis upon which our rules are formed and the rule by which all our punishments are guided.
Attendance not yet as good as it used to be. Poverty seems to affect our attendance very much and the appearance of the neighbourhood generally is much poorer than it was even a twelve-month ago. The boys are unable to get the required books and sit for days together without any scrap of an exercise book of their own. I have to supply a large number with papers and exercise books continually in order to push the work on as I believe that nothing equals good work done on paper.
The classes are making very good progress on the whole. The Measles and Scarlet Fever is very prevalent in the neighbourhood a large number being laid up by it. This does of course greatly affect our schools. … Have had several of my teachers at home this winter for days together.
On Thursday (27th) the ordinary monthly meeting of the Board was held when the following resolutions were passed.
(1) "That the Board resolve that it be an instruction to their teachers that there ought to be no admission of children from other schools when they had made 250 attendances in school year until after the inspection of such school except by an arrangement with the teachers of schools from which the children are to be removed."
(2) "Admitting children from other schools while in arrears of fees should be in all cases discouraged and no such children should be admitted to Board Schools except upon condition of paying all their future weekly fees in advance."
(3) "Receiving from other schools during the last three months of this school year children who are likely during that time to qualify for an examination should also be discouraged and a satisfactory reason for the change of school should be in all cases insisted upon and a communication made to the teachers of such school before allowing new admissions of the class referred to"
MayOn Saturday Apr 26th the Head Teachers of all the departments received a letter from Thos. Bury Esq. Clerk to the Bersham school board, ordering all children who did not bring their school pence to be refused admission to the schools. Acting upon their instructions a large number of boys were sent home for their school fee. Some returned but the majority stayed home. The weather was beautiful all through the week so that taking other circumstances into account we ought to have had a much better average than usual had this new regulation not come into force. I am afraid that this rule of prepayment will cause a great many parents to send their children to other schools which would indeed be a great misfortune and entail a great loss to grants.
Average again this week about 30 lower than it should be. The receipts in school pence is no improvement on what it would have been had some other means been taken. This method of sending boys home will cause I am afraid a great reduction of grant. [Various criticisms of monitors/PTs then …] They are very different to James Shelby who almost without exception gets up his lessons thoroughly well.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Attendance better this week. School pence come in remarkably well. The receipts this week being over £5-10-0. A large number turned back to get their pence and most of those never returned. Had to punish two boys for truant playing. The boys as a rule are very good in coming to school when they are sent by their parents. Our misfortune is that we have a large number of parents with no interest whatsoever in school and the education of their children but would allow them weeks together to run around in the wildest state.
[‘Attendance meetings’ were held for the parents whose children failed to attend regularly but these meetings were not always well-attended!]
JuneI understand that at the Board meeting a motion was brought forward by the Chairman ... proposing to alter the staff and salary of the assistants at Penygelli Boys School. The idea is I believe that it would be much cheaper to work the schools with the young men who are now finishing their time as P Teachers. I am very sorry to find any of our members taking this course of action.
The schools are now doing well with the boys papers and it is a great mistake that the staff should be disturbed. I am well pleased with Mr Jones especially and I shall be very sorry to lose him from the school. He has such a kind way about him and is well liked by all. We have worked very harmoniously together and never had occasion to find fault with Mr Jones’s method of working. The matter is to be further taken into consideration at a special meeting to be held Thursday Jun 12th 1879.
Mr Jones and Mr Morris sent in their resignation as it was quite evident that the Board were determined to reduce the expenditure somewhere, and they have it seems made our department the scapegoat for their sins in going to such expense with their buildings. Messrs. Roden, Lloyd and P Jones were offered the assistant vacancies at greatly reduced salaries to what Messrs. Jones and Morris are receiving.
Mr E Roden to receive £40-0-0 per annum
Messrs Lloyd and Jones £30-0-0 each per annum.
This will make a reduction of at least £40 in the staff expenditure. This arrangement means a great deal of extra work upon my shoulders without any extra pay but most likely the result will be a reduction in the salary of the Headmaster.
Attendance continues very low owing to the orders of the Board not to admit any without their school fees. We ought to have at least 50 more daily. Home lessons done very fairly by the Pupil teachers …
In a large school a great deal of careful supervision is required to see that dull boys are not allowed to lag behind. Young teachers naturally feel it tiresome to keep a watchful eye on the laggards but under the present system of payment by results it will not do to pay special attention to the sharp lads and neglect the slow ones. To obviate any neglect of this sort every teacher keeps a small book in which he reports each child’s progress and whether likely to pass the Government Exam or not. As a rule I find their remarks very correct and it is seldom that I find a boy reported as bright is dull or vice versa.
Today I am holding an exam upon the teachers. They seem to be doing very fair especially James Shelby. He is really a very clever boy and does the whole of his work remarkably well.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Broke up yesterday for the Midsummer holidays, our allowance at this time of the year is three weeks so we will reopen again on July 28th.
AugustThe tea parties held in the Chapels greatly affect our attendance. Children who are not here on a Monday often stay at home during the week. Our compulsory system of payment is also a source of bad attendance.
The receipts from School pence is not equal to what it was. This is all due to the great depression in the trade of the district. A large number of people are quite out of employment and have been so for months.
Attendance today very small owing to a preaching meeting at the portion of the neighbourhood called the Nant. Mr Morris has opened a Night School again but it is very badly attended, things being that bad in the neighbourhood that the young men have no money to spare. The attendance would now be very high if the works went as well as they did some years ago.
SeptemberOn Wednesday a little boy from the First class was taken seriously ill in the school. The attack was in the form of some kind of `fit`. He was taken home when he rallied a little, by the teacher of his class.
On Thursday afternoon the Board met. There was a discussion about rumours which are afloat concerning the severe corporal punishment which has been going on in some of the Board schools. The Board resolved to call the attention of the Head Teacher of each department to the rumour, requesting them to use the greatest caution in resorting to corporal punishment which should be administered as rarely as possible.
OctoberHad to punish several boys for interfering with some of the Minera N School pupils. It seems that in passing the above school some of the pupils throw stones after them, the result is that the boys coming down here returned them the compliment and gave them a sound beating.
Received the following letter on corporal punishment from the Clerk of the Board, the cause of the letter being sent was some rather severe punishment which took place in the Girls School, at least as I am informed by the attendance officer and some of the members of the Board.
United School District of Bersham.Clerks Office, Wrexham
20th Sept 1879
Sir. At a meeting of the Board held on the 25th inst I was directed to write to the Head Teachers requesting their attention to the question of corporal punishment, a discussion on the subject having resulted in a resolution that I should do so and state the it is the wish of the board that such punishment should be resorted to only in extreme cases, and be dealt with at the hand of the principal teachers only and where practicable at the close of the school.
Thomas Bury, Clerk
A dispute occurred between two teachers in the school on Wednesday. My attention was called to it from the classroom. It appears that one had interfered with the discipline of the other. After school I gave all the teachers a sound lecture upon the importance of looking to their own classes and not interfering with one another, in other words `Upon minding their own business to use plain English`.
Received Childs forms from Mr J Morris, Journal Office. I get the majority of my certificates signed directly by the Registrar of Births and Deaths. I shall use these declarations merely for those whom we shall be unable to find through the Registers as the parents I am sorry to say are not to be trusted to a year or two now that they understand the `bye laws`. In fact we once had gross case of even altering the entries in the Bible for the purpose of getting a boy to work a twelve month earlier then he would have been otherwise. For these reasons I believe it best to get the original certificates from the Registrar in all cases where they are possibly to be obtained.
The attendance this week has been very thin. A large number are lying under the Scarlet fever, while a still larger number were away in the fields gleaning or using a local term "Sangoring"
The Scarlet fever is on the increase in the neighbourhood at an alarming degree. Philip Jones was absent from school yesterday owing to illness. He has visited a lady practitioner at Birkenhead but does not seem to be much better.
Gave a list of absentees to the Attendance officer but he conferred his inability to get any on the list to school owing to orders having been given by the medical officer for the District that all should stay at home if fever was even in the same street. I consider this a most foolish action on the part of the Medical officer and of course very detrimental to the progress of the school. I think if fever had not actually broken out in the house the child should be allowed to attend school, now especially that Examination is upon us. We have never had to contend with so many difficulties before. This is very discouraging any time of the year but doubly so now on the eve of the Annual Government Examination.
November The Scarlet fever is still rather more on the increase. Find it very difficult to get the boys to buy their own books. Though the works are a little better, yet the wages are very small and consequently parents find it very difficult to find the money to pay for their children.
Thomas John Jones` lessons are very badly got up and James Shelby is also far from satisfactory.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
John Lloyd and Philip Jones and William Jones do not attend lessons the two former having completed their apprenticeship and the latter leaving at Xmas.
Mr Morris left on Monday having been appointed assistant to a school in Yorkshire, so now we are one less in the staff.
Was obliged to be absent again this week owing to the death of my father in law. Have been asked by Mr Bury to be present at the next Board meeting when I hope they will do something about my salary. It will be very unfair if I will have to suffer in pocket on account of the overcrowding of my school. However I must have patience and wait.
A Committee of the board held on Wednesday when a large number of parents attended. The following parents were ordered to send their boys to school regularly. They were = Thomas Edwards, Nant. William Taylor =, Coedpoeth. Frederick Vaughn, Talwrn. Robert Evans, Nant. John Jones, Plas Buckley. and David Evans from Williams Square.
DecemberHad to correct two boys from the First class for coming late to school. Three boys from the lowest classes were also punished for playing on the Coedpoeth Lake instead of coming to school. As an encouragement to the First class boys to work hard at their lessons I made them a present of a football to be played with during the dinner hour and on Saturday afternoons.
A Commitee meeting was held when the following resolution was passed, the annual distribution of prizes will take place as usual. It was suggested that owing to the crowded state of the school at the last distribution of prizes that the charge for admission will be this year 1/- and that no children under 14 be admitted on any account. It was suggested that a second concert be held the following evening at a lower rate of admission. Mr Williamson, Penygelli Hall, guarantees the selling of £1 worth of 1/- tickets
My Certificate has come to hand, raised to the First class with the following entry made upon it by Morgan Owen Esq. ‘This is the second best school in the district of Denbigh and Flint`. I am well pleased with the entry. The Board have fixed my salary at £195 per annum to be paid from the end of the last school year Sept 30 1879.This sum is very satisfactory and will make the total of my salary including payment for PT`s at about £200 including house and coal over £230. I have certainly not been dealt with very hard
Attendance is not what it should be. The attendance officer is at his wits end and yet still unable to get the children to school. After summoning the parents, the Board and the officer do not seem to insist on the payment of the fees. The result is that compulsion is almost a dead letter and boys and girls play in the street before the very house of the attendance officer.
Was very unwell during the whole of the week, I fancy at times my health is fast breaking up owing to the hard work that I have gone through of late. Last winters work seems to have greatly told upon me. Edward Henry Jones from the First class had to be kept in from his meals twice this week owing to an inclination that he has to be insubordinate. I believe that he has been under the delusion that he was entitled to more liberty than the other boys, however he has been taught different and I trust that it will do him good
Mr HO Jones our first assistant left today.
I shall have a very small staff this coming year. School breaks up for the Xmas Holidays
Summary of M H Inspectors report. December 1879.[Presumably made by Timothy Morgan Owen. Comments on specific years are omitted.]
Boys School … This school is the second best in my district, that of Denbigh and Flint.
Girls School … Both needlework and knitting on the whole were pretty good. The Fourth standard should attend to buttonholes and the Fifth standard to marking. The order could be improved, perfect stillness should prevail throughout the school during the sewing work. The singing was good.
Infant School …. Order and singing both good. The needlework could be improved.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
Commenced school today after the Christmas holidays. Found that hardly any of the children had done any lessons. Find it very difficult to work this large school with my very young staff. Am now busy preparing for our annual concert.
February Have been greatly troubled this week on account of the School Board election. This seems to have taken up everybody’s mind and I have hard work to fill up the forms for the various candidates. Singing lessons every night this week and after singing had to attend committee meetings on school matters.
Last night our annual entertainment came off and it proved a thorough success. The schoolroom was crowded though our admission was 1/- each. The receipts will be over £11-0-0 a good sum from a children’s concert. Have had two new monitors from the Board. They were not my best teachers but were pushed on me by their friends through the Board.
James P Shelby and Thomas Jno. Jones have not worked hard at home.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
The School board election took place today. A great number of people failed to vote, the poll closing too early. A great number were also without their names on the register.The following is the state of the poll for The Bersham School Board.
1 Richard Phenneh. Rhostyllen 999
2 Hugh Jones (present vice chairman) 859
3 S T Baugh (present chairman) 780
4 Issac Jones (new man) 724
5 Joseph Jones (an old member) 598
6 Thomas Roberts (new man) 466
7 Heth Jones (new man) 448
8 George Gibbons (new man) 189
9 Tudor Rogers (old) 98
There being only 7 members on the board the two last are out. I believe that 4 out of the 7 will go in for the policy of the late Board. Dr Gibbons, whose great cry was `Reduction in salaries ` is out in the cold. The old members who so warmly supported the schools during the last 14 years have all been re-elected. Mr Hugh Jones who has always gone in for good salaries coming in `Second` and Mr S J Bough `Third`
We do very little corporal punishment in schools now. The boys are really very good especially when it is considered from what kind of homes many of them are drawn.
Kept the teachers long at work last evening, each had to do a certain amount of arithmetic before they went home.
March The attendance on Tuesday was very small owing to a very severe storm of wind and rain. In the morning the ground was thickly covered by snow. The storm was one of the severest that was ever witnessed in this part of the country. The shutters had to be kept on the shop windows all day. This kind of weather has been more or less felt all week causing the attendance to fall greatly below what it generally is.
Progress of Pupil teachers very unsatisfactory. James P Shelby has improved a little.
Two cases of playing truant came under my notice this week and were dealt with privately and publicly before the whole school. Today I have taken the Pupil Teachers in drawing and geometry, they worked very well up till 12 o clock. Saturday mornings re generally devoted to the lessons of the Pupil Teachers when I am not obliged to be away form home.
On Monday James P Shelby and Albert Ashford were absent at a football match. I don’t approve of absence from duties except in cases of real necessity but these were exceptional cases.
April The school reopened on Monday the 15th after the usual Easter Holiday. Attendance very poor throughout the week owing no doubt to the Parliamentary Election at Wrexham at the March Fair commencing.
James P Shelby was absent till Thursday at Ruthin but brought a letter from Mr Owen [presumably Elias Owen, James's uncle, who was a vicar & an HMI living near Ruthin at the time] as an excuse for his absence. No doubt he was anxious to witness the election at Denbigh.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
The attendance has been anything but satisfactory. A large number of children seem to run wild about the streets and no attempt seems to be made to get them to attend school. They are certainly from the lowest class of society in the neighbourhood and would be of very little credit to any school, but their example is very injurious to others. The question being very often asked `Why are so and so allowed to have their children running about or at work when they ought to be at school`.
The attendance has never been as irregular as it is at present. It is certainly no credit to he attendance officer that the attendance is worse now then it has ever been. The circular on the next page was sent to all teachers under our Board.
Copy of resolutions passed 29th April 1880
It was resolved that it be an instruction to the Attendance officer to compel all children of proper age to attend school and is to inform the parents that the Board will no longer insist upon the Teachers requiring prepayment of School fees but will authorise limited credit to be given for the fees where necessary and in case of non payment within 3 months the board will insist enforced payment by County Court proceedings, and it is to be an instruction to the teachers not to send any child back from school in future merely on the ground of not being prepared to pay the school fees.
School Fees Arrears
It was resolved - that a return be furnished by the teachers for each school showing the amount of the floating debt for the arrears of School fees at the end of the last school year 30th Sept 1879 and also on the First day of 1880.
Progress pretty satisfactory when the teaching staff is taken into consideration. The monitors and one of our PT`s are almost useless as actual teaching is concerned, The weekly examination did not exhibit great care on the part of the majority of the children, much of the work was very carelessly done and this was especially the case in my own class.
Whit Monday is kept as a general holiday in the district and the school was not opened till Tuesday. School fees were less than any week this year owing to the holiday and the very irregular work of the neighbourhood. Trade is worse than it has ever been and some parents find the greatest difficulty in getting the school fees paid.
Amounts of Grants earned by Teachers under Bersham School Board for the year 1878 - 79.
Penygelli Boys School [Staff for other schools were also listed]
G J Jones Head Teacher 195-0-0
Edward Roden Ex Pupil Teacher 40-0-0
John Lloyd " " 30-0-0
Phillip Jones " " 30-0-0
James P Shelby Pupil Teacher 15-0-0
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Thomas J Jones " " 12-10-0
A W Ashford " " 7-0-0
David J Price " " 7-0-0
JuneThe attendance low and the school pence very hard to be got in owing to the great depression in the trade. Sent a large number of bills but I don’t know how much money will be brought in on Monday next as a result of this bill sending.
Mr Owen the Diocesan Inspector for the district called this week, he examined our National Schools in Religious Knowledge.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The measles greatly affect the attendance at school and considering the large number of families that are down with it the attendance be considered very fair. Thomas John Jones is again absent the Scarlet Fever has broken out in the house and two or three children are ill with it.The school still going down in the average owing to the large number under the measles. It is remarkable fact that our neighbourhood standing as it is in such an isolated position in pronounced by the Medical Officer to be the most unhealthy in the Wrexham Sanitary Union. There never passes a year without scarlet fever and measles carrying a considerable number of the younger population away. This year almost every house seems doomed to have some of its members under the measles. The epidemics greatly affect the attendance and efficiency.
JulyOwing to the way the school dwindled down in numbers we had to break up on Wednesday for our Midsummer Holidays. I trust that when we reopen on July 26th that we shall have a much better attendance than during the last six weeks.
Attendance very small. A large number still under the measles. One of my little ones was taken ill of the measles during the holidays but has now recovered; this kept me at home and prevented me from going anywhere except during last week when I went to the Hydropathic Establishment at Southport.
Shelby works well at his lessons, Ashford and D J Price very unsatisfactory in their work.
September Working very hard, the boys are all in good spirits. The teachers flinging themselves into the spirit of the work, they go at it with a will. Two boys played truant, were punished in the presence of the other boys.
Several parents were summoned for the non-payment of their children at school and without exception were fined 5/- including costs. Have been all this week greatly upset by one of my little girls being ill with the scarlet fever. This has hindered me greatly with my schoolwork being obliged to stay in after school hours. I disinfect my clothes every morning and use a large quantity of carbolic acid about the house and in the school. I hope it will not spread.
Gave the evening to drill the Pupil Teachers in their work for tomorrow.
Shelby is fairly up his work, the rest are very unsatisfactory.
Shelby seems to suffer greatly from his chest, which affects his reading at times causing him to stammer.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Several boys were absent this week gathering up potatoes. This is a great annoyance close to the examination. Scarlet Fever is on the increase a large number is laid up from each school. It is most peculiar that this neighbourhood is more subject to epidemics in the months of September and October than all through the year. At the Government Inspections visit we have every year some who cannot attend on account of measles or scarlet fever. This causes a great loss to the School Board Grant.
Lessons very badly got up by Ashford and Price. Shelby was not very satisfactory but better than the two names First.
Thomas John Jones only attended one lesson during the week.
David James Price, Albert Ashford and W H have not learnt a single lesson during the whole of the week.
Thomas John Jones was very unsatisfactory and James P Shelby came without his geography lesson on Wednesday and Saturday.
Again the monitors Ashford, Price and Shelby have come without learning their lessons. The Euclid of Shelby was very unsatisfactory and no map had been made. Thomas John Jones made no map and all the other lessons were badly got up. I have this evening been in school from 5 to 8pm in order to get the teachers to learn their homework here, as they do not do them at home. I feel that I punish myself with these long hours.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
The attendance was very small owing to the severity of the weather.
DecemberWeather very cold and the attendance is greatly affected by it. The Pupil teachers did their work better then they have been doing for some time with the exception of Ashford.
There is a great deal of sickness among the lower classes and many are unable to come to school.
Received the Report of HM Inspector Morgan Owen Esq. upon the schools with which I am very highly pleased. Have never received a better report.
Broke up yesterday for the Christmas week, School reopens on January 3rd 1881.
 Summary of the Inspectors Report on the Penygelli Board SchoolsBoys School. The Geography of the Second and Third standard was thoroughly good, of the Fourth standard, Colonies very good, England and Wales good, Scotland pretty fair, their map knowledge of Ireland and Colonies was excellent, of England very good and of Scotland good, of the Fifth standard decidedly good, of the Sixth standard good, and their map knowledge very good. The Grammar of the Second and Sixth standard was very good, of the Fourth and Fifth standard good, of the Third standard fair. The standard work of the First and Second standard was good in every respect, in the Third standard the Reading which has improved in intelligence since the last Examination and the Arithmetic were good. In the fourth standard, the Reading as regards pronunciation was good, but it’s intelligence could be improved, the poetry was read too much like prose, their spelling and writing were very good, their Arithmetic was highly creditable, most of the boys worked the test problem correctly. In the Fifth standard both Reading and Arithmetic were good, some of the composition was very good, and the rest of it except for about half a dozen was good. The Sixth standard did very good work in every respect. In all the standards the writing was neat and round and legible, and the Arithmetic was characterized by neat figures, correct method and results.
Literature - in the Fourth standard the repetition was about very good and intelligence and composition were very fair, in the Fifth, Sixth and ex Sixth standard the repetition was very good, and a great part of the Composition was of a creditable and original character.
The Latin was fair; more care should be takes to distinguish Tenses, Moods, and Voices. The Mathematics was fair. T C Jones did good work in this subject and in Latin also. The Physical geography gave evidence of great labour on the part of the School Staff and of Scholars. I should recommend as much oral teaching as possible in this subject as many of the answers were of too formal and similar a character. Rodens notes of lessons were of a high order.
Shelby`s work was of a commendable character.
[ Rest of report & next Shelby & Morgan Owen entries ]
Tone and order were excellent. The amount of work done in this school has won my highest admiration. I only hope the little boys are not overworked. Both teachers and Pupils are thoroughly earnest in what they do. The singing was particularly well rendered. The Registration was good.
Girls School Care is evidently taken with the singing but it lacks heart, it is too constrained. The specimen Needlework was on the whole of a good and comprehensive character that on the day of examination did not come up to my expectations, more attention should be paid to the code on this subject. The grammar was good throughout the school. The work of the First and Second standard was thoroughly good. In the Third standard, the reading was intelligent so long as it was conferred to one set of books, but not satisfactory when the second set was resorted to; the spelling was good, the writing was neat but it should be larger and rounder. The mechanical part of the Arithmetic was correct but few worked the problems. In the Fourth standard, Reduction and simple problems should have further attention; the Reading and Spelling were very good. In the Fifth and Sixth standards the work was thoroughly sound in every respect. Domestic economy was of a promising character. H L did good work in this subject. The tone was excellent. The order was an improvement of that of last year. This school is steadily and surely attaining a high position. The Registers should be kept cleaner.
Girls School Care is evidently taken with the singing but it lacks heart, it is too constrained. The specimen Needlework was on the whole of a good and comprehensive character that on the day of examination did not come up to my expectations, more attention should be paid to the code on this subject. The grammar was good throughout the school. The work of the First and Second standard was thoroughly good. In the Third standard, the reading was intelligent so long as it was conferred to one set of books, but not satisfactory when the second set was resorted to; the spelling was good, the writing was neat but it should be larger and rounder. The mechanical part of the Arithmetic was correct but few worked the problems. In the Fourth standard, Reduction and simple problems should have further attention; the Reading and Spelling were very good. In the Fifth and Sixth standards the work was thoroughly sound in every respect. Domestic economy was of a promising character. H L did good work in this subject. The tone was excellent. The order was an improvement of that of last year. This school is steadily and surely attaining a high position. The Registers should be kept cleaner.Infant School Registration was good. The girls in the First standard did well; the Boys were not so satisfactory, their work was uncertain. As a whole the work of the First class was good. The Second class were pretty good in Arithmetic, Writing, Form and Colour, they were pretty fair in Tables and Intelligence and fair in other subjects, this class should avoid simultaneous answers. The Third class was a large class of very little children, it is in a promising state, they were good in Alphabet and Spelling, pretty good in Arithmetic, Form and Colour, in other subjects they were fair. Some of the Needlework was good as specimen and as examination work (The Pupil Teacher Taylor does not work as well as the other Teachers, she taught the Second class of Infants) The tone was good, but the order was not quite firm enough. This be in consequence of Miss Parsonage’s regrettable illness. She is most kind and sympathetic in her teaching.
[Dec, 1880] J P Shelby has passed well, and T J Thomas, E Davies, S E Price, S L Taylor and A Jones fairly, but T L Jones should attend to Arithmetic.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Davies (whose Arithmetic needs attention) should be informed that she is now qualified under Article 79, but not under Article 60.[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The weather continues very severe and the schools are very cold. A large number are absent and the wonder is that so many come to school, as the snow is so deep upon the ground and frost so very severe.
Shelby was absent from lessons and school all day on Friday. He suffers from a very severe cold on the chest.
I take the teachers generally every Saturday for Drawing and History lessons. James P Shelby was there as were all the others. JP Shelby is the most careful and correct worker in this as well as in other subjects.
Attendance fair though the weather continues unfavourable. We are now busy preparing for an annual concert, which is only a fortnight off. The children’s concert always takes well in this neighbourhood.
FebruaryThis morning very little work was done, owing to stage used at last nights concert being removed. Last nights concert was a splendid success in every sense of the word. Upwards of £13-0- being made from sale of tickets. The children never sang better and all seemed pleased
March Had to punish several boys for playing roughly with snowballs and throwing snow to some of the girls. Yesterday when I came to school I found a new boy had been admitted to the First class. He used to go to the Rhos Board School but left as all the boys in his class had gone to work.
Today James P Shelby came without his Grammar being done. His History was also very badly got up.
Had to punish two boys for truant playing on Thursday. They went to Wrexham without the leave of their parents. On Monday the children’s annual concert was repeated to a crowded house.
James P Shelby so far does not work as well as he could but he is by far the best boy amongst the teachers.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
It being Board day [Mr Hugh Jones and Mr Joseph Jones of the Bersham School board] visited the schools to see if anything was required in the shape of school materials and respecting my assistants application for an increase in salary. At the meeting my assistant had his salary increased by £10 cash per annum from March25th.
James P Shelby is working at Scripture; the exam takes place a fortnight tomorrow.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Many children were absent today. The arrears of fees are on the increase. The works are again very bad and consequently it is most difficult to get the boys to pay.
Attendance not very good. The present officer does not seem to have the same influence of our late man. I have no doubt that he will improve with experience.
JuneThe weather very sultry and the school room full. William H.H.M. (pupil teacher) was absent from Wednesday morning. His grandmother with whom he was living being dead. He asked permission to be absent.
As we break up tomorrow for our Midsummer Holidays we held a proper examination again today with a better result than that on Friday last, though it was far from satisfactory.
JulyBroke up at noon. Gave the boys their homework during the holidays. We are to reopen again on Tuesday August 2nd. Monday being Bank Holiday it is useless to open on that date. The holidays are to continue for four weeks
AugustOpened school this morning August 2nd, attendance very small. The average this week is only 128, the smallest average we have had during the year. Neither children nor teachers were in very good humour for work. Our attendance officer seems not to be able to do his work very satisfactorily. He lacks energy and perseverance and is no doubt too young for his work.
A Committee of the Board was held on Friday evening. About a dozen parents were ordered up to attend the committee but several were absent themselves. Those who attended promised to send their boys more regular in future. The school fees have fallen low again owing to the continued depression of trade in the neighbourhood.
SeptemberOne of the parents called to complain of the ill treatment received by his child from one of the Pupil Teachers. After school I enquired into the matter and found that there was no foundation for the charge. Our Pupil teachers are on the whole very kind and fore bearing and are not inclined to treat their pupils cruelly or in an unkind manner.
The boys are working heart and soul now and the progress made is really wonderful. I stay in with the Pupil Teachers in the evening as one or two of them even now will not work at home. Pupil Teachers Examination tomorrow at 9am in the Free Schools Wrexham.
OctoberHeld the examinations this week. On Monday two boys were punished for playing truant on Friday afternoon, this is rather a rare occurrence at present but when it does occur I am rather severe upon the culprits.
Received the following notice re School Fees from the Clerk of the Board.
Bersham U D School Board. Meeting held on 30th June1881.
On the Motion of Mr Barnet, Seconded by the Chairman Mr Baugh.
It was resolved ` That in view of the recent decision of the Queens Bench Division in Saunders V Richardson reported to the Board by the Clerk in which the full court decided that it was the duty of parents to cause their children to attend school and send their fees, and having regard to the continued increase in arrears of school fees in this district the Board resolve that in all cases the children’s school fees to be taken are to be payable in advance and that the rules must be adhered to and after the reopening of the schools after the Midsummer Holidays, and that in future the Board will decline to entertain excuses for the fees having been allowed to fall in arrear`
During the past week we have held a series of examinations in each class. The boys are very well up in their paper work and I expect them to do very well.
The attendance was very good today considering that it was the First day after a great deal of hard work and excitement caused by the `Annual Government Inspection`
November I received my `parchment` with the following entry by H M Inspector, T Morgan Owen Esq, `Excellent tone and order`. I am greatly pleased with the above entry. It could not be better.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
On Thursday I received the schedule from the Clerk. The boys have passed a splendid examination.Today Friday I arranged the classes for next years schedule and also named the teachers who would be responsible for each standard.
Shelby absent on Wednesday afternoon with a sick headache.
The school these days is working under great difficulties as we are reorganising the school altogether and we are making the changes by degrees.
Shelby assists now with the Sixth and ex Sixth standard and I allow him to do a little reading for himself as well.
An Attendance Committee meeting met on Wednesday when several parents were called to appear before the board.
Pupil teachers were absent again from lessons. Their lessons are very badly got up. Thomas John Jones, Shelby and come with their lessons undone.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
Three boys sought admission today, one from the Minera NS, and the two others from Brymbo. Refused admission to one as he was in arrears of school fees at the school last attended.
DecemberSent circulars home with the children informing parents that no one would again be admitted without prepayment of school fees.
Attendance this week was much less than last week, the reason for this was that we sent a large number home for their pence. The school pence received this week was the largest for the whole year, being £4 within a few pence.
Attendance not so good since we have begun to refuse admission without school fees. Broke up for the Xmas week. Holidays for one week only.
1881 Summary of Inspector’s Report on the Penygelli Boy’s Board School
Boys’ School – The Registration was very good. I am glad to leave that for the future. There will be no corrections. Both Tone and Order were excellent. I was extremely pleased with the selection of the School Songs. The singing is about the best in the District, the voices were sweet and very nicely blended. It was very correct in both time and expression. The grammar of the second, sixth and ex-sixth standards was very good: of the third standard fair: of the fourth standard pretty fair: of the fifth standard good. The Geography of the second standard was excellent: of the third standard pretty good, with some very good answers: of the fourth standard good and thorough: of the fifth standard pretty good, with several good answers, their map knowledge was very fair: of the sixth and ex-sixth standards very good in every respect. The standard work was simply of an excellent character throughout the school. The Physical Geography was as good as can be expected from Boys of the age of those who took this subject:
Questions that required a little thought were not attempted; those of a routine character were answered most fully. The Literature was good in Composition, and very good as a whole in other respects. I was very pleased with the assistants: they appear to me to work from the best motives: their notes on lessons were very good ones.
Shelby’s work, though not so good as it was last year, was good. Ranks next, Jones’ lesson the Pigeon was of a practical character. The school fees for A. Carrington, D.C. Evans, G. Goodwin, E. Jones, J. Jones, L.J. Jones, T. Jones, Peter Parry, Powell Parry and C. Williams have been allowed.
W. H. M. has passed well, and J.P. Shelby, (S.E. Price, and E. J. Taylor) fairly. Shelby should attend to Composition, T.J. Jones, Euclid.
Headmaster Mr. G. J. Jones
Assistants Edward Roden, John Lloyd. Phillip Jones
Pupil Teachers James P. Shelby, Thos. J. Jones, Wm. H. M.
Thomas Bury, Clerk
[ Next Morgan Owen & Shelby entries ]
Attendance at beginning of week very small but greatly improved toward end of the week. School fees very good, over £2-5-0 against about £1-13-0 for the corresponding week last year.
School fees are increasing. Over £3 again this week. The Teachers do their homework with the exception of Thomas John Jones.
Attendance very small owing to a very severe snowstorm which has been raging since early Sunday morning. The roads just about here are almost impassable. The teachers had no heart to work with such small numbers, every class was a mere skeleton.
Have worked extremely hard preparing for the distribution of prizes, which takes place next Monday. I believe the singing is better than it ever was. We have worked well and I expect a good result. The expenses this year will be close to £20. The main sum in the expenses is the attention to gaslights and the erection of a permanent stage. School fees continue to be well paid, though the works are very slack at present.
The Children’s Annual Concerts and distribution of prizes took place on Monday evening last. The School was capitally attended though we charged 1/- for admission. The children seem to give excellent satisfaction to those present
March School fees very good considering there was no payday anywhere.
Shelby does very good work, he takes French lessons from the Rev Browne and I believe makes satisfactory progress.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
On Tuesday evening the children’s annual concert was repeated when T Morgan Owen Esq. very kindly took the chair and spoke in a most encouraging tone of the work done in the schools.
[ Next Morgan Owen & Shelby entries ]
AprilBroke up yesterday (Thursday 6th) for our annual Easter Holidays. The teachers before leaving worked through and took stock of all books and belongings to school, and found everything correct.
Attendance fair, school fees not coming in so well. The men in the neighbourhood have struck at the collieries. There is very great excitement through the district. This is certain to affect both attendance and fees.
School fees came in this week better than expected. They amounted to over £2. No prospect of men going back to work. They seem more determined than ever not to work at the terms offered. A great many of our best man are leaving our neighbourhood for the South Wales and the Lancashire and Staffordshire coalfields. The children don’t seem to be in a humour to work at all.
Attendance and school fees are falling rapidly owing to the continuance of the strike among the colliers. There is a great deal of suffering in the neighbourhood and this greatly affects the schools both as progress and attendance. Sent notes enquiring for absentees and this raised the attendance greatly by the afternoon.
The strike greatly affects our average and the progress of the children. All seem to have lost heart. A large number of children are kept home to gather coal along the coal tips and several are obliged for want of the necessities of life to go out begging. The Teachers work fairly with their own lessons.
The strike among the colliers continues and greatly affects our schools in every way. The children taking the example of their elders are inclined to be rebellious and the discipline on that account is more rigid. A soup kitchen was opened for the poor this week.
Progress very unsatisfactory owing to the unsettled state of the neighbourhood. Today some hundreds of people came from Rhos-Llanerchrugog as a mob causing the greatest uproar. Very little work could therefore be done in school.
June The men at the Vron Colliery began working today, as did also those employed at Plas Power and Grosvener Collieries, thus terminating the strike in this immediate neighbourhood. The Attendance was rather better some days this week. This will come right again now that the men have gone to work.
Attendance better. Progress more satisfactory. Everything looks brighter.
Shelby and Thomas Edward Jones work very well. School fees amounted to £2-4-0 the highest since the colliers strike.
JulyLeft school in charge of Mr Roden who was to break up for the Midsummer holidays on Thursday July 6th . My health has not been well for some time hence the reason of my leaving two days before my holidays begin.
James P Shelby was absent attending the Scholarship examination at Bangor.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
AugustOpened school this morning after 4 weeks holidays. Attendance very unsatisfactory. School fees came in very badly. The trade in the district is in a very bad condition and this greatly affects the school. Both Teachers and children seemed in no humour to work.
Attendance this week was very good. School fees come in very badly. On Monday next we will have no school owing to a Sunday School demonstration in the neighbourhood.
I attended the Eisteddfod at Denbigh on Friday last and Monday. Left school in charge of Mr Roden, Senior Assistant and other teachers, they got on very well. On Friday morning I held an examination of the whole school when all the classes did fairly well. In the afternoon the school was badly affected owing to a club walking in Coedpoeth. On Monday the Sunday Schools were out walking and holding the annual tea-meetings. Upwards of 1600 children and young people turned out. The schools were closed. The Attendance at school does not compare favourably with this time last year. The Attendance officer seems to have had but very little influence on the parents of the children generally.
A great many children were sent home for their school fees this week. This has brought the attendance down very low. A Committee of the Board was held last evening when it was decided that several parties should be summoned. The Pupil teachers do their work at home in anything but a satisfactory manner. They are to come to school tomorrow for a half days work.
SeptemberWe had an attendance Committee meeting on Wednesday evening when several parents attended to give the reason for their children’s absence. In every case the reason given was poverty - no money to pay the school-fees, but really this is only an excuse as parents equally poor pay regularly. A Committee visited the school in order to see what repairs were required
A large number of children were absent this week. The reason given by the Attendance officer was that they were gleaning. Our system of weekly examinations ensures a thorough acquaintance with each child’s abilities and what progress he makes.
James P Shelby was absent from lessons this morning. He had been sent to his work by his parents but did not come. About 8 o’clock his brother came to enquire for him but he had not been to work at all. On enquiring of the other teachers I found that he complained of Rheumatism.
Attendance very good. The Pupil Teachers worked fairly well with their lessons this week.
OctoberWrote to several parents whose children are very irregular but who have the required number of attendance (250) reminding them of the examination, the irregularity of their children and its effect upon their success at the forthcoming Government exam. I do this very often during the year and the teachers themselves send out also enquiry notes.
Received the copy of notice of inspection, Examinations and inspections will take place on Oct 24th, 25th and 26th.
This evening the examination is over and we have now only to wait patiently for the result.
NovemberOn Tuesday we had the schedules to hand. The results very satisfactory with the exception of Physical Geography. Several parents came to procure new books for their children.
Results of scholarship exam to hand. Shelby only took Second class; we fully expected that he would have stood well up in the First. I cannot account for the position he has taken.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
The children admitted from the Infant school attend very regularly but the great majority are very backward. About 30 don’t even know their alphabet.
DecemberThe 'Report' to hand. it is a very excellent one. Am glad to find we have done so well and above all that we have given such excellent satisfaction to Her majesty’s Inspector.
The Grant is also much larger than last year but not more per head. Our average was larger and we presented more boys. The measles have broken out amongst the children in the neighbourhood. Several at home ill, should it increase it will greatly affect the schools.
Broke school up for Xmas week on 23rd.
Attendance this week was very fair. School pence very low. Several children at home with the measles. Began out practice for the Annual concert. As several children have been coming without their school fees of late we this week sent all those whose payday was last Saturday home for their fees with the result that the fees have been raised to £2-10 already. The teachers do their work well in school but their home lessons are not well done.
The school very well attended, some days as many as 215 were present.
 Summary of Inspector’s Report on the Penygelli Boy’s Board School.
Boy’s School – Tone and order were both excellent. The grammar was very good; the analysis of the fifth and six standards deserves special notice. The Geography of the second, fifth, sixth and ex-sixth standards was very good; of the third standard good and map-knowledge very good; the fourth standard was good in Colonies, and pretty good in British Isles; their map-knowledge was good. The standard work of the first standard was pretty good in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic were very good; of the second and fifth standards very good; in the third and fourth standards the spelling was pretty good, their other subjects were very good: the sixth and ex-sixth standards did excellent work.
The style of the work was of a thoroughly superior character. The Latin and Mathematics were both good. The Physical Geography of the second stage was fair, and of the third stage good. The Literature of the first stage was good, and of the second and third stages very good. This school maintains its high position for hard, honest and intelligent work. The singing was good.
The pupil teacher Shelby did very work and good work. The assistants are superior young men and appear to me to be very desirous to help their able chief.
The passes in Literature of the scholars numbered 183, 184, 185, 186, 187 & 188 on the Boy’s School Examination Schedule have been disallowed under article 21(E).
The school fees for E. Edwards, E.L. Edwards, W. Griffiths, E. Jones, W.A. Rogers,
A. Carrington, D.E. Evans, G. Goodwin, T. Jones, and E. Williams have been allowed. J.P. Shelby and W.H.M. have passed well and T. J. Jones fairly, but Jones should attend to Euclid, Algebra & History.
Shelby should be informed that he is now qualified under both articles 60 & 79.
[ Next Shelby entry ]
D.J. Price’s name has been removed from the Register of Pupil teachers serving in this school.
Headmaster Mr G.J. Jones
Assistants Edw Rogers, John Lloyd, Phillip Jones
Pupil Teachers Thos. J. Jones, Wm. H. M. , Thos. E. Jones
Paid Monitor David J. Jones
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
Have been using all my spare moments to arrange for our annual concert when The H M Inspector T Morgan Owen Esq. has very kindly consented to be present. Mrs Morgan Owen is to distribute the prizes.
School Board elections seems to be on everybody’s brain. There is a most strenuous effort being done to throw out the old members.
Spent some time to prepare for our annual concert this evening. Mr & Mrs Morgan Owen attended to distribute the prizes. The children were delighted to have Mrs Owen give out the prizes. The attendance was really excellent considering that we are in the middle of a contested School Board Election.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The Triennial Election of School Board Members took place today Feb 26th
The constitution of the board is not altered. The old members favourable to thorough efficiency have been re-elected. The township has been thoroughly roused at this election and they have shown great wisdom in selecting the best men. Though one very good man is out. Mr Johnson, Vron who has been connected with education for upwards of 20 years.
MarchAttendance and school fees have improved wonderfully this week. Mr Williams Penygelli Hall called this afternoon to complain of the ill treatment of his little grand daughter by one of the teachers in the school. I informed him that could not interfere with the discipline of any other department beside my own.
AprilOpened school after a week’s holiday. Attendance very small owing to the holidays and the meeting held at the Presbyterian Chapel, Adwy`r Clawdd.
A Fair at Wrexham ` Dydd Llan Pawb` which greatly affected the attendance at our school and will injure us all week.
MayHoliday on Whit Monday. The attendance very low throughout the week. Was absent myself on Tuesday, I visited 4 of the Liverpool Schools, with Mr Crocket of Gresford. I found the rooms much superior to any County schools. Each class had a room of it’s own which is a great advantage to good progress.
The Board meets today, the assistants from the Girls and Infant schools have applied for an increase in salary. I sincerely trust that they succeed, I have done all I can for them, they are miserably paid. The senior assistant only gets £20 and the other only £18. These sums are less that what Pupil Teachers get at the end of their Fifth year.
JuneThe attendance is not so good as it ought to be owing to the bad state of the work and as our Board enforces prepayment of our school fees several parents keep their boys at home. It is a very wise plan to make parents pay in advance as it teaches honesty to the children
AugustThe school was reopened on August 7th. The school was opened under the charge of my assistants and Pupil teachers. I was confined to bed very ill and have been unable to make any entry until today August 31. I have suffered a great deal but am glad that I am gradually recovering again. All have been very kind to me.H M Inspector Morgan Owen Esq. sent me a kind note and called personally to see me.
SeptemberAm still very weak and unable to go to school. W Roden informs me that the teachers are working as well as they can. An examination was held today with fair results.
OctoberThe Girls and Infant Departments were examined this week by T Morgan Owen Esq. Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
Work very satisfactory but find the requirements of the present code very difficult to come up with and as a result we look forward with pleasure to our annual exam.
NovemberIt has been a very rough week and this has slightly affected our attendance especially in the lower standards. We gave a holiday on Friday and Thursday. We expect the Schedules during the course of next week.
DecemberThe Schedule has not yet come to hand. This makes it very awkward, as we cannot work the classes until we get them. Attendance this week is much lower than it has been for sometime, we must have more regular attendance if we are to succeed under the new code. Two of our Teachers were examined on Thursday at Brynteg School.
Broke up today for the usual Christmas Holidays. School reopens on Monday Dec 31st. We only give a week at Christmas. Schedules to hand this week, result equal to expectation though not up to the usual results, this is due I have no doubt to my long continues illness
Attendance good. Home lessons got up very well and on the whole neatly done. The weather continues very open and therefore very favourable for a good attendance. Thomas John Jones left today for Garston as an assistant at the N. School. Mr John Lloyd, our second assistant has gone to Salford as a Police Constable. What a change to become a Policeman from Schoolmaster. I am afraid that he will never succeed and make his mark in the force so as to raise himself into a fair position. He is not firm enough to make a successful policeman.
On Tuesday I paid our Attendance officer Mr Albert Edwards the sum of 5/- being the amount of a fine received from John Edward Edwards (Tedw) Adwy`r clawydd.
Sent to Mr Morgan Owen a list of our proposed pieces for recitation for his approval.
(1883) Summary of Inspector’s Report on the Penygelli (Boy’s) Board School
Boy’s school: "The Geography of the first standard was good: of the second standard very good: of the second standard very good: of the third standard moderately fair and map knowledge fair: of the fourth standard good and many very good answers. The History was thoroughly good, with some very good and very many excellent answers. The grammar of the third standard was pretty good; of the other standards very good. The Poetry was very good in Reception but somewhat lacking in intelligence and grasp of meanings of words and allusions. The standard work of the first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh standards was excellent in many respects: of the third standard Reading and Arithmetic were pretty good, spelling very poor: of the fourth standard, Reading pretty good, Spelling fair, and Arithmetic good. The singing was pretty good. Tone and order were excellent. Registration was very good. Year after year this school has produced wonderful results, this year its excellent master has been ill over three months consequently the specific subjects were discontinued. Taking every circumstance into consideration it affords unqualified pleasure to be in a position to recommend this Department for the Excellent Merit Grant."
S.E. Jones has passed well, and W.H. fairly. T.J. Jones should be informed that he is not qualified by this examination by Article 50 or 52. He can be qualified for Article 50, only by passing the Examination Specified in Article 46.
Boy’s School - £197-11-3
Girl’s " - £126-10-0
Infant’s " - £107-15-6
Total - £431-16-9
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
FebruaryAttendance good. The Board decide to advertise for an assistant at their meeting held yesterday, but the salary offered is really miserable, only £30 per annum. Monitors are of very little use in the work of teaching especially in a large school. The appointment of Monitors in the Girls school was deferred for a month. Miss Agnes Jones has been transferred from the Infant school to our Girls department. Recieved our new stock from Manchester.
Mr Isaac Williams and Mr Joseph Wilcoxon at their visit on Wednesday spoke about Mr Thomas John Jones returning to our school as an assistant and asked if I had any objection, which I certainly have not as he has proved himself an excellent teacher even though he was unsuccessful in his own exam. He has always done very well and is a capital disciplinarian. His class is always in perfect order and he is never idle. I feel very sorry that he should have done so bad at his last examination, the most important one of the whole that he went through. It was impossible to persuade him and I feel that his whole apprenticeship has been thrown to the wind.
Mr Hugh Jones, vice chairman of the Board called today concerning his son Thomas John Jones’s application for the vacancy in our school. Three members of the Board had called asking him to get his son to apply. I quite agreed to it for the reasons stated before. The salary offered is also too small for anyone to apply who does not live in the neighbourhood - who can live upon £30 per annum?
We had a case of truant playing this week, the boy was from the Fifth standard. No excuse was given for neglecting school and at the request of the parents I caned the boy pretty severely. This will I hope nip this tendency to truant playing in the bud and will also be a lesson to the other boys who be inclined in the same way.
Attendance on the increase and is considerably in excess of last year and owing to the very mild winter the children as a whole are more regular.
MarchTwo boys in the first class were punished for fighting, blame being attached to each side. They were two of my nicest boys in the class and I was very sorry to be obliged to correct them on this matter. The attendance continues really well, this week it as 220 on average attendance.
The average attendance in the Infant department is somewhat less than for the same period last year owing to the great prevalence of Hooping cough among the children, which began to be felt after the Government exam, The Infant school is now only beginning to recover from it’s effects.
AprilOpened school this week after the Easter week, attendance very fair.
MayAttendance lower than at the beginning of the quarter, school fees also less than what they were owing to the works being in a very low state.
Attendance this week has not been very good owing to the boys being kept at home for potato planting but expect it to improve from this.
Attendance this week has greatly improved this week. The reason for this be principally that potato planting is over. Examination in Chemistry took place this week. During this last fortnight the time has been given chiefly by the teachers to Organic and Inorganic Chemistry.
JuneAll the Teachers work remarkably well, Thomas Edward Jones does his own work beautifully and hardly ever misses a lesson.
Attendance excellent, papers very well done. Held an examination this morning in Grammar with all Standards, some passed exceedingly well others were rather weak. My daughter Myfanwy was examined in the same passing after school and she did it beautifully.
JulyThe school was closed yesterday for the usual Summer Holidays of four weeks. Attendance was exceedingly good for a closing week. The school fees raised amounted to £2-8-0. The school fees for the first 3 months of the school year amount to £100 in the Boys department alone. Paid £34-0-11 to the bank as School fees for 13 weeks.
AugustAttendance has considerably increased during the week and Teachers and children are getting into the working swing. Thomas Edward Jones does some very good work and his grammar and arithmetic are really excellent. Was sorry to hear of the death of a fellow teacher Mr Lee Rees, Llanfynydd which took place on Tuesday last. (13th)
SeptemberToday received notice of annual examination. School exam, 20th October. Pupil Teachers exam, 25th October, Girls Board School Wrexham. School fees very good. The Pupil Teachers are doing very good work.
End of school year. Averages considerably higher than last year. School fees are also about £16 more than they were for the year ended Sept 30 1883. This is very encouraging.
OctoberExcellent work done during the week, the exam held today showed excellent results throughout the whole school. I earnestly trust to equal if not better than any last year.
The Annual examination took place this week. Upwards of 700 children were present. We anticipate a very good increase in grant. Miss Griffith transferred upwards of 40 children from the infant school to the Boys department. The Duplicate schedules came to hand this week, in the Boys school we passed upwards of 97 per cent and in the Girls over 90. Infants have done better than on previous years
NovemberThe boys are just beginning to feel their feet in their new standards. heard the result from Bangor; he did not succeed to pass. He was very much disappointed and we all feel the same. Admitted seven new boys this week, four from Bersham Village School and three from Minera N School. I refused admission to two other boys from Minera as they owed school fees.
Admitted three boys again from Minera and refused admission to four others. If a child owes school fees I always make it a point not to grant that child admission until the fees are paid.
DecemberA most miserable week. Snow several inches deep at the beginning of week. Rain in tonight at end. This bad weather has affected the attendance in every department. The night school progresses very favourably. Good attendance and excellent fees. School open some weeks for 4 nights, but the regular nights are Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
School fees received very satisfactory considering the state of the country. The Teachers work very well especially so Thomas Edward Jones. Broke up today for a weeks holiday, the school is to open on January 5th 1885.
1884 Summary of Inspector’s Report on the Penygelli (Boy’s, Girl’s & Infants) School
Boy’s School:- "The Geography of the first standard was pretty good in the main; of the second standard excellent; of the third standard very good; of the fifth, sixth and seventh standards decidedly good, with excellent map knowledge. The grammar of the second, fifth, sixth and seventh standards was excellent; of the third standard good; of the fourth standard pretty good. The Poetry of the first, second, third & fifth standards was good; of the fourth standard pretty good; of the sixth and seventh standards very good. The standard work was thoroughly good in every respect; a great part of it was simply excellent. The Tone, Order and Registration were excellent. The singing by ear, though good, was not what it has been: the work of the second division varied from fair to good, of the third division pretty good to very good (but the second standard was very poor in naming notes by ear) of the fourth division good to excellent. The work done in this school and the spirit in which it is done is richly deserving of the highest praise."
Girl’s School:- "The Tone and Order were excellent. The Registration was very good. The Singing was good. The Needlework was good both as regards specimens and work done on the Examination day. The grammar of the second stand was very good; of the third, fourth and seventh standards good, of the fifth standard fair; of the sixth standard pretty good. The Poetry of the seventh standard was excellent, of the sixth standard very good, and of the other standards good. The Reading of the first standard was weak, and of the second standard fair. The rest of the standard work was of a good character as a whole some of it was very good. Bearing all things in consideration I am inclined, with a certain amount of hesitation to recommend this Department for the Excellent Merit Grant."
Infant’s School:- "Some of the work of the first standard was good, there was a great many excused the examination in this class. The first class were very good in form, good in arithmetic, vivâ voce, spelling and occupations: fair in Writing (with some good) and Repetition of Tables, but pretty good in intelligence of latter subject; moderately fair in addition on slates and Reading; moderate in Colour, objects generally, and Natural Phenomena. The second class were very good in Spelling, Tables, Form and Colour, good in arithmetic, vivâ voce, pretty good in objects and Natural Phenomena, weak in arithmetic on slates. The third class did well. The singing by ear was pretty good and moderate in other respects. The Recitation, Exercises, and counting were creditable. The marching was fair. The Tone and Registration were good."
T.E. Jones has passed well, and W.H.M. and C.E. Gibbons fairly. should be informed that he is now qualified under both articles 50 & 52. [Report ended with list of school staff.]
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
Opened school today after a week’s holiday. Attendance good considering it was the first day after a week away. Neighbourhood now very free from any sickness. Teachers all attended. May who of course was not to return has gone away to Glasgow to be reading there for college, he has gone for the first twelve month as a private student. Edward Goronwy Griffiths has been appointed to take the monitorship, which becomes open by leaving. He is a quiet but good boy. Admitted several new boys from Bersham and the rest from Minera and Vron. In each case made the usual enquiries as to school fees paid. Two boys were refused admission as they owed school fees in the school (Minera) they were leaving
Work going on as usual. There is a gradual fading off in the night school, the attendance that at one time was excellent is now getting less and less. Received a letter of congratulation from Mr Bury written at the request of the Board upon the results of the Government examination.
FebruaryAttendance rather lower this week but school fees the highest being over £4. Have been ill the whole of the week, I caught a very serious cold at a funeral of one of my First Class boys last Wednesday when I got very wet. Have been obliged to call the doctor in again. A very serious cold with a bad cough and night perspiration, which greatly weakens me. School in charge of Mr Roden. Scarlet fever has broken out in the neighbourhood again. One boy from Standard three was buried today. Have given orders for the greatest possible care to be observed in admitting children to school from the parts of the neighbourhood where scarlet fever cases have occurred.
The Scarlet fever begins to tell on our attendance. It is the lowest for some time past. School fees about £2-3-0. I have not been able to attend school again this week owing to the severe cold from which I am suffering but hope to be able to attend next week, my cough is much less than it was.
Attended school this week but feel very weak and quite unfit for work. Attendance owing to the bad weather and the considerable amount of sickness in the neighbourhood is considerably lower than it was a few weeks ago. Scarlet fever and mild diphtheria seems to be rather on the increase. We have now been troubled with the above since sometime in September. The attendance at the Infant school is affected more than at the Boys and Girls schools. School fees this week only a trifle over £1-10-0
March Usual progress to recorded at the day school, night school making satisfactory progress but the attendance has dwindled from an average of 80 to almost the half. This has always been the history of night schools in this neighbourhood. The school fees this week made upwards of £4-10-0 the largest received this year. Admitted two new boys. Examination of night school took place on Wednesday evening when 52 attended to be examined. Mr Morgan Owen assisted by Mr Morris examined the school. Hope for very fair results. Day school admitted two new boys. One from Lodge, Brymbo and another from Southsea.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
Everything shows that the school is in a very flourishing condition. Never more so. Average higher and school fees paid more regular than ever.The night school attendance has greatly fallen off compared to what it used to be. The fees and grant will I trust pay for trouble taken during the whole of the winter. We have now got through the years work and after the Easter Holidays we shall begin to capitulate the work so that by the midsummer we hope to be pretty forward again.
AprilReopened school after the usual Easter week. Owing to the very irregular way in which the works are going on at present the school fees and attendance is now affected. Children being sent home for their fees do not return for the rest of the week. If the children are allowed to come without their fees they will not pay at all.
Some of the classes are now working on papers and do their work very fairly. Thomas Edward Jones has worked well during the last half year and I anticipate good results for his papers tomorrow. He is a good steady worker and does his work very thoroughly. I have no doubt of his passing well, as usual as he is thoroughly well up in his work
MayWeather very rough and has greatly affected the attendance. It is nothing like the end of April and beginning of May. Hope to see the attendance now improving. School fees unsatisfactory. Have suffered during the week from a gathered face which has made it difficult for me to work but I stuck to school all week.
This week the teachers have been released from their regular studies as they were attending Spring Examinations at the National School Ruabon. Mr Roden took three classes, Thomas E Jones and Thomas John Jones one each. They are afraid of the result with the exception of Mr Roden who hopes to do very fairly.
The registers were examined by Mr John Tudor Rogers and found to be correct. The attendance has been affected by the breaking out of measles amongst the children. I understand that
the Minera School has been already closed and as this attendance has been greatly reduced I sincerely hope that we will not suffer to any great extent before the Holidays commence, the first week in July. It has been very difficult to work in school owing to the great heat during the whole of the week. It has been unbearably hot up to Friday afternoon, quite a change from previous weeks. Edward Gordon Griffiths at home during the whole week with a very bad sore throat but I hear that he is better.
Attendance continues fair notwithstanding that the measles continues to spread among the children. The infants seem to suffer mostly and their attendance is going down fast. Thomas Edward Jones, Pupil Teacher in his 4th year is working very well. He is doing very good work and I anticipate excellent results when he goes in for his scholarship exam. He is a persevering boy and very fond of his books. He does not idle his time in the least but is always working. He is a thoroughly good boy in every respect and one who is certain to make his mark wherever he goes. The younger monitors are not so very fond of their books but are making fair progress.
JulyAttendance going down, sickness spreading fast among the children and I am afraid we will forced to close before the usual time which will greatly injure our arrangements for our holidays. Hope sincerely it will not be so.
The Board met yesterday June 6th and decided to close the school for five weeks from today owing to sickness amongst the children, school will reopen August 4th.
AugustAttendance very low. Measles still raging amongst the children and it is a great pity that we were obliged to open today. We have not had such a low attendance for a very long time. School was opened by Mr Roden on Tuesday as I failed to arrive in time, my wife fearing to travel on Bank Holiday when the trains are so crowded. Attendance is also affected by the Tea parties, which take place every Monday during the latter end of July and the whole of August.
We are now just beginning to feel that we are doing a little work. Today held an exam on all the school. Mr Roden, Mr Phillip Jones and self conducted the exam, result pretty fair.
During the week ended today all are throwing their whole energy into the work.
School fees have come in well for the year. I hope by the end of next week that the school fees will be equal to last year. Last year they were over £118 or an average of about £2-2-0 per week. The weekly examination was much better throughout the school.
Dated Sept 29th 1885
Penygelli & Bersham Board Schools.
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st inst announcing that the Collective Exams of PT`s will be held on Saturday the 31st day of October 1885 and on Saturday the 10th day of April 1886 at 9.15 o’clock and to supply the information requested therein.
I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant
To T Morgan Owen Esq. HM`s Inspector of Schools, Education Dept, Whitehall, London SW
This information is needed to evaluate. HM Inspector to provide a sufficient supply of papers. If not furnished within 7 days he cannot be responsible for providing for the examination of your Pupil Teachers and Candidates.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
OctoberOn Wednesday we completed the school year and find that owing to the great sickness that the average attendance is about 3 less than for the year ended Sept 30th 1884. The school fees are a trifle larger. The amount received for the Boys school this year is over £119. School visited by Mr Edward Henry Jones an old scholar for some time at Penygelli. Feel exceedingly tired at the close of this weeks work.
A miserably wet week, the attendance varies almost every day owing to the bad weather. The work during the week was very good. Thomas John Jones gave object lessons to the First class. The lesson on Climate was a most intelligent one.
Examination took place this week. I anticipate very good results. Her Majesty’s Inspector and his assistant carried on the examination in a most fair manner and every child had a chance to do well. I find that the results of the annual examination correspond very nearly to my own results and I am hardly disappointed in the manner that the boys do their work. They have good practice with their paperwork. I never spare foolscap.
NovemberThe result of examination came to hand on Tuesday. We have done remarkably well, we have passed upwards of 97 per cent. Boys have worked well. The Girls have not done quite equal to last year but have done well for all that. Miss Jones has had an excellent entry on her parchment with which she is greatly pleased.
We have been greatly disturbed during the week by public meetings held in the Boys school on political questions. These meetings greatly affect the schoolwork as it sometimes takes sometime to get the school into order for working next day. I should be pleased if the Board refers the schools to both parties. The schools are left in a most dirty condition after the meetings and the school cleaner cannot possibly clean them after the late hour that they are over. We have there fore to work in the dirt and filth. Two meetings are to be held again next week.
DecemberNo school today owing to the schools being used as polling booths for the general election. Very unsatisfactory work done during the whole week. The election seems to upset children and all. We shall all be glad to see it over. I left home yesterday early in the morning and did not return till about 10 o’clock in the evening.
Report to hand this week with which we were very highly pleased. All the schools have done well. The Teachers in the Girls department and those in the Infant school with the exception of Miss Ada L Jones have done very badly. Thos. Edward has done very excellent work he has obtained the full grant every year. So far he is a thoroughly good boy with this books and a very intelligent teacher.
Broke up today for the annual Christmas Holidays. Boys and Girls came well together to the last. They came no doubt for their weekly papers. We give out 460 papers weekly; a lady in Kent sends them to be distributed amongst the children. The paper is `The Christian Herald` written by the Rev Wm. Baxter, Clergyman of the Church of England.
1885 Summary of H.M. Inspector’s Report on the Penygelli & Tabor Hill Schools.
Boy’s School - "For the ninth time I have pleasure in reporting upon the excellent character of the work done in this school."
Girl’s School - "This is a thoroughly good school upon the whole; its needlework was from pretty good to good. Its Tone on the examination days was excellent."
Infant’s School - "The first class need attention in Reading, Writing and natural phenomena; conversational information could be better imparted. The rest of the work of the Infant’s was from moderately fair to excellent. The Discipline should be improved at once."
Evening School – "The standard work of the third standard was weak, that of other standards was good, in English out of thirteen presented, seven passed and six failed."
[Report concludes with information re pupil teachers' exams & staffing of school]
Thomas Bury, Clerk.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
School reopened on Monday last with a very gallant attendance in the first class. The week of reopening is usually a poor week but this week the attendance was very fair. I have been minus an assistant this week, which has caused me a great deal of trouble. Thomas John Jones my Third assistant has gone to Scotland to college.
Attendance exceedingly good considering the state of the weather. It is extremely cold with a great depth of snow upon the ground. Children coming from poor homes must suffer most acutely. I have a large number in my school with their feet actually through their boots. There is a great amount of suffering at present in the community especially amongst the colliers. Work is very scarce and those who are at work are only able to work for about five or six times in a fortnight and how can they possibly keep a family upon say about 10/- or 12/- per week. It is an utter impossibility; I don’t know how it can be done. I am sure the shopkeepers must be suffering greatly in pocket. My wife has done a great deal for the poor, and gives away both goods and money. I only wish I could do more; we have the will but not the means. There has not been such an amount of suffering in the country since I have been here, fourteen years now. this sore distress amongst the people soon pass away.
All the Teachers work well. We have not had such a winter for many a year. Attendance wonderfully good considering what fearful cold we are having. I have been able to keep to my work regularly. I had a slight cold for one week only but got on with it and was able to get to school every day, find myself much stronger this winter than last. Last winter I suffered greatly from colds and was obliged to keep indoors for some weeks. Weather continues very bad with deep snow upon the ground. School damp and miserable from the snow carried in with the feet of the children.
FebruarySchool visited today by two of the members of the Board. Registers examined and found to be correct. The weather has moderated in its severity this week with the result that the attendance is much better than it has been for some weeks. The snow has almost cleared off the roads. The boys are better able to come to school without damaging their feet than they were. Great stir in the neighbourhood with the School Board Election. The cry is to reduce some salaries and in order to do so to drive the old members out and put new ones in their stead. The election is to take place next Monday week at three Polling stations- Tabor Hill Infant School, Boys School, Penygelli, and at the Church School Rhostyllen. Hope a good board turn up.
A rough cold and miserable week throughout. The bad weather has caused the average to be down to below where it was last week. This week it was only 213, whilst last week it was over 220. School fees were very low owing to no pays taking place at any of the works. The youngest Pupil Teachers do not do their work in very satisfactory manner. Home lessons very often not done. There is no school on Monday next owing to the Triennial Election of a School Board for the Township of Bersham.
The Election of School Board took place today Feb 11th with the following result, first seven elected.
Mr Joseph Wilcoxon (an old member) 1318
Benjamin Harrison (new ") 1025
Hugh Jones (old ") 735
Joseph Jones (old ") 650
John Daniel (old ") 628
George Gibbons (new ") 513
Thomas Davies (new ") 423
Ellis Abraham (new ") 324 not elected
William Pattinson (new ") 309 " "
Thomas Davies (new ") 265 " "
S T Baugh (old ") 216 " "
MarchVery severe weather. March came in like a lion. When school was opened on Monday but two or three boys put in an appearance. It was impossible to get to school through the front way, the steps being quite blocked up and the entrance quite filled with snow. Snow has also filled the porches and has worked its way through the windows, a severer week I never remember.
Attendance low again this week owing to the severe weather that we have been having, it continues extremely cold with a very severe frost but there was a very agreeable change towards the close, the snow going away nicely. Progress in school is pretty fair. The work is very hard as we only have two assistants and the rest being very young teachers. It is very trying to us all and I feel very sorry to be obliged to push my young teachers on when the teaching work is so heavy for them. They cannot possible keep the large classes of the school in good order and increases my labours tenfold. The Motto of our Managers should be `Efficiency first and economy afterwards` Tomorrow I have my own examination of our Pupil teachers, am afraid they may not do well. Thomas John Jones, First year Pupil teacher was at home for three days this week again with a bad cold. He loses much more of his school time than any of the other teachers. Not being as strong as the others I suppose.
A great number of children are ill with a kind of swelling in the neck called the `mumps` .I understand that it is very catching and consequently all coming from families where the children are suffering from this affection of the neck are ordered to stay at home until they are well.
This has greatly affected our average and in addition to the bad weather will considerably decrease our average attendance for the present school year. We had an examination of the whole school today and find some boys very forward and some very much behind. Tomorrow our First Pupil teacher’s exams for Wrexham District takes place. The centres are Wrexham, Penygelli, Brynteg, Ruabon and Llangollen. About 11 or 12 are to be examined in our district ( Penygelli), they are solely from under the Bersham School Board
The Wrexham Association for the Quarterly Examination of Pupil Teachers. 1886
(These are the names that appear on the Schedule)
Subjects that were studied were - English, Arithmetic, Geography, History, Euclid, Algebra, Mensuration, Sewing, Music, Domestic Economy, Latin, French.
John Jones Penygelli Boys Year 1
E G Griffiths " " "
Pryce P Jones " " "
M E Evans " Girls "
Marg. J Jones " " "
Mary.C Jones " " "
Marg. E Jones " Infant Year 2
Ada L Jones " " "
William L Williams Penygelli Boys "
William James Jones " " "
Thos. Edw. Jones Penygelli Boys Year 4
Wm H Lea Bersham Boys "
Henry K Jones " " Year 2
Ada Blew Bersham Girls Year 1
Daniel Monslow Bersham Infant Year 2
Ruth Stephens " " Year 4
AprilAttendance very low owing to the continued sickness amongst the children. John Jones First year Pupil Teacher at home again ill and a monitor only in charge of his class. He loses a great deal from illness. The school must suffer in this manner especially as our staff at present is very weak.
John Jones returned to school today after an absence of 4 days from school. William Price Williams, monitor was ill yesterday and did not attend school. Attendance continues extremely low. The cold weather did not affect us as much as the present sickness amongst the children. School fees are very hard to get, works are as bad if not worse than ever they were. The look out is really very serious both for parents and children.
School was visited today by the Rev Thomas Davies Baptist Minister, a member of the Bersham School Board who examined the register and found the same correct. We had an examination of the school today. The boys have done fairly well. Paper work much improved to what it was.
Attendance this week better than what it was. Several of the children who were ill have returned this week. Considering that the Wesleyan fair was held the attendance was really good. Next week am afraid that it will be low again owing to the Easter Holidays and Good Friday, after Easter hope to have better attendance.
On Wednesday Geo. Gibbons and Thomas Davies two members of the Board visited in order to see what repairs were needed. They at the same time examined the registers.
We also broke up for the usual Easter vacation today. We have suffered greatly in the attendance during the last four months. It is hoped that the attendance will be better after the Easter Holidays and the sickness at present in the district at present clear away by the end of next week
MayAttendance today not very good. All the Teachers turned up early. The attendance officer seems to have quite neglected his duties and hardly ever visits the schools.
Attendance continues in a very unsatisfactory state. The number on registers is equal to what it was last year but the average is much less. The attendance officer does not at all attend to his duties. He is at present very negligent and in my opinion never visits but few of the children. The Board should certainly see to this without having their attention called to it by the Teachers.
School visited by some of the members of the Board to see what alterations were required. Board met yesterday and formed a resolution that religious knowledge should form a part of the school curriculum and quoted schools where religious knowledge is taught, but when they cannot get above `fair` as a merit grant.
A holiday on Monday being Whit Monday. Attendance fees very low. Sent notes out to a great many parents but it produced but very little good as the attendance officer has quite left, as never paying us a visit. Had to punish a boy named Edwin Roberts for playing truant. A truant playing is a very rare occasion in this neighbourhood. Price Parry Jones ill during two days this week.
Attendance continues very low. Boys who attend fairly regular make excellent progress. Price Parry Jones continues ill he has not been in school during this week. I am sadly afraid that he will not be able to continue on as Teacher. He looks terribly bad and is in a very weak condition.
JulyAttendance very low due owing to the breaking up for Holidays. Last week is always very low as is also the first week on opening. The school is to reopen again on Tuesday after Bank Holiday (August 3rd)
Average this week is very low, only 145 with 250 on the registers. The lowest that we have had for years. On enquiry I find that the boys are engaged gathering bilberries or whortleberries. The country as regard the coal trade is in an exceedingly depressed state and school fees as a consequence are exceedingly low.
Attendance much better this week though it is still not exceedingly good. There were on average nearly 60 children absent each day, most were found to be on the mountain bilberrying.
An examination was held today with only fair results. Average 206
An examination held this morning. Attendance exceedingly good. Sent word to parents to send their children regular and especially to let them attend at the weekly exam. Pupil Teachers are doing very fair work and their progress is very satisfactory on the whole.
SeptemberAttendance very good throughout the week. Two cases of truant playing. I was also obliged to expel one boy from school as his mother interfered with the discipline. Having being very slightly punished for tampering with the desks in the classroom during the dinner hour he went home. Upon his returning to school next morning he was tapped upon the hand whereupon he again went home at the dinner hour by the orders of his mother. His mother having come to school in the mean time was told that he could not be admitted unless he apologised for his breach of the school discipline, so far he has not done so and consequently he cannot be readmitted. The boys name is Benjamin Ellis and he lives in South Sea.
This has been rather an irregular week. Tea party on Monday in one chapel and an anniversary on Sunday in another. These tea parties and preaching meetings are the ruination of our schools.
OctoberThe Pupil Teachers do their own work in a very satisfactory manner. The examination held today showed very good results. Mr Thomas Edward Jones my senior Pupil teacher received the result of Scholarship examination today. He occupies a most honourable position being 60th on the general list throughout England and Wales and First on the Bangor list.
Good attendance and very good work done during the whole of the week. The teachers throw their heart and soul into their work. My assistants will second my efforts to keep up the thorough efficiency of the school. During the whole of last year we have been working minus one assistant, which greatly increased the work of the remaining teachers. I sincerely trust that the Board will grant us an assistant during this coming year as Mr Thomas Edward Jones is leaving for college.
Attendance very satisfactory. All worked well during the week. Hope to do well at the exams next week Girls examined this week on Thursday and Friday as were the Infants.
NovemberAttendance very low. Boys engaged in potatoe picking. Some who were in 5th & 6th Standards are about beginning to work, but the attendance ought nevertheless to be much larger.
Headmaster was absent on Monday having gone to London on the previous Friday evening to see the Colonial Exhibition. Returned home by 7am on Tuesday morning. Schedules not having yet come to hand I have been unable to reorganise the schools. Hope to have them next week. Attendance very low. Mr Roberts the attendance officer works fairly well but he could do better I have no doubt if he were to exert himself. Several boys who ought to be in school are running about the streets.
Pupil teachers lessons done very well on the whole. They also do their own lessons in a very satisfactory manner. They are very kind to the boys. We have no complaints of ill treatment on their part. This is really an excellent neighbourhood for allowing the teachers to have their own way without any interference. It is very seldom that I have any complaint concerning any of these. They all work hard and seem to have the interest of the school at heart and not working simply to their time but they work for the best of motions.
A most stormy and wet week causing the attendance to fall down less than ever. Rain came into my classroom on Thursday and Wednesday in Infants. The wind must have displaced a little on the ventilator. One large square of glass was blown into the room on Wednesday evening. It was most fortunate that it was done at night and not during the day school hours or many a child might have been hurt. School fees low. Pupil Teachers quarterly exams tomorrow.
Attendance is still very unsatisfactory. Pupil teachers do only fair work at home, occasionally they might do better. There is no doubt about it, but you cannot place ` old heads on young shoulders`
Christmas is once again upon us. I am today ending my fifteenth year at the Penygelli Board Schools. A very long time to be in charge of the same school. During the eighteen years that I have been teaching I have always had excellent reports and I sincerely trust that I always give satisfaction.
1886 Summary of Inspector’s Report on the Penygelli and Tabor Hill Schools.
Boys School – "This is a decidedly satisfactory school; it has again earned the excellent Merit Grant. The following were weak. - Some of the Grammar, some of the Reading & the Mental Work. I was glad to see the name of T.E. Jones so high in the Scholarship List; the other P.Ts need care."
Girl’s School – "This Department as fallen off very much. I fear there has been a grave want of steady and intelligent work on the part of the school staff. It is with the greatest hesitation I venture to recommend the Fair Merit Grant. The Tone & Order were excellent, and the Registration & Singing were alike commendable. The P.Ts need the greatest attention."
Infant’s School –" This Department has barely earned the Good Merit Grant, it’s work needs more finish and accuracy. The following need special care, - The Arithmetic of the 2nd class, the Writing, Ball-frame and Counting of the babies. The Singing, Recitation, Marching, Counting and Exercise, were all very good. The Pupil Teachers need great attention."
[Report ends with exam results, etc of trainee teachers]
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
On Monday school was reopened after the usual Christmas holidays. Mr David Thomas our new assistant entered upon his duties this week. Received the following letter from T Morgan Owen Esq. HMI together with a copy of his History of England to the time of the Norman Conquest. I very highly value the gift and the letter, which accompanied it. It is an encouragement to renewed efforts in my work in school.
Education Department, Whitehall1 Jan 1887.
Dear Mr Jones,
Enclosed is a copy of my History, which I hope you will accept in token (a slight one) of my appreciation of the way in which you discharge your high duties.
With best wishes
T Morgan Owen
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The Pupil teachers are doing very very fair work. I have arranged that Mr Thomas shall take a part of the subjects with the Pupil teachers. Mr Thomas meets them in the morning and I meet them at night. I this way I hope to see them doing very good work. They ought to do well with their mathematics and grammar especially. They are now very forward with their Arithmetic and Algebra. History and Euclid are their weak subjects. They don’t seem to get their memory work up very well.Attendance improving very fast. Messrs Gibbons and Davies visited the schools today and examined the Registers and found all correct. This entry on the next page is a good testimonial as to the efficiency of the schools.
Jan 21st 1887.
As members of the School Board we are glad to be able to certify to the able manner in which Mr Jones conducts these schools. Whenever they have been visited by us the teachers are all fully occupied. The children in good working order and the discipline always appears to be excellent. Altogether we believe the head teacher and his assistants to deserve the highest praise for the splendid work performed by them. We are very glad to find that this department has again won the Excellent Merit Grant. It having done this every year since the merit grant came into operation. We have today examined the registers and found them to be correct.
Geo. Gibbons, Thomas Davies
Members of the Board.
FebruaryAttendance improving and progress very good. School Board decided upon paving the playground so as to keep the schoolroom clean. I have promised that the best standard for attending school shall be let out earlier than the other classes on the last Friday in the month. This has greatly improved the attendance at school. I hope the attendance can still be kept up as we have started, it will be an excellent thing for the school. Pupil teachers attending lessons very well.
Fridays give us always great trouble with the attendance but since we have introduced a system of emulation amongst the classes the attendance on this day has greatly improved as it has also on the other days of the week. Monday is now as a rule our worst day especially if Monday happens to come after "pay day"
Feb 22 1887
"My attention being called to John Hopwood by his parents I certify that he is of a weak constitution and not in a fit condition to do the work of Standard six and therefore recommend that he be permitted to do the work of Standard five for another year."
Regulations, as to the Duties of Cleaner of out-offices, yards, etc.
As to the work of John Roberts.
1 .That he visit the Schools at least three times each week – on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.
2. That the yards and closets be kept thoroughly clean and in good order : all refuse and litter to be removed, and the gratings and drains well looked after.
3. That the steps leading to the boy’s yard be thoroughly swept, once each week - on Fridays or Saturdays.
4. That the ash-pit in girl’s yard, to be kept tidy and not allowed to accumulate.
5. That the windows, walls, ceiling & beams, in all schools, be cleaned during the Xmas, Easter and Midsummer holidays.
6. That the closets be lime washed twice a year, in the early Spring and Midsummer holidays.
7. That the closets be cleaned out once a month and the urinals be well washed with water weekly – on Saturdays.
8. That the landers be examined and cleaned during the Summer Holidays.
9. That John Roberts look after the Infant School when used for Public Meetings, and that he also see to the cleaning and lighting of lamps for same purpose.
10. That John Roberts be paid an additional 6d per week in consideration of the extra work given to him. 4/6
11. That these regulations including the extra payments come into operation on Monday February 7th 1887.
Regulations as to the Duties of Sch: Cleaners.
As to the duties of Catherine Williams and Alice Roberts.
1. That the Schools be thoroughly cleaned and dusted daily.
2. That the Schools be washed once a month.
3. That the porches of each School be washed weekly.
4. That the fires be lighted with coal in the grates & with coke in the stoves.
5. That fires be lighted on Sundays, after washing on Saturdays, also on wet & very damp weather.
6. That fires be lighted on Saturdays when required by the Head Teacher of each department.
7. That all fires be lighted before 7.30am.
8. That all materials used for cleaning including brushes, buckets, floor cloths etc be not removed from the School premises.
9. That the School premises, such as the washhouse etc be not used for any other, but strictly School purposes.
10. That the ashes be daily riddled by the school cleaner.
11. That Alice Roberts be paid 3/6 per week for the summer months, and 4/6 per week in the winter months. That Catherine Williams be paid 7/6 per week for the summer months, and 8/-
per week in the winter months.
12. That these new regulations including the extra payments come into operation on Monday February 7th 1887.
MarchBeautiful week very good attendance. School fees not so well as they used to be. As we don’t send the children home so regular as we used to for their money. The average this week has gone as high as 220 or about 81 per cent of numbers on the registers. The attendance is not near what it should be taking into account the compactness of this neighbourhood.
Very rough week. Weather continues very boisterous and wet. Wind dancing most of the week, North East. It has given me a bad cold again and I believe that many children are suffering from coughs and other ailments. Hooping cough is very prevalent in the neighbourhood and as no children are admitted from houses where Hooping cough is upon any member of the family the average attendance is naturally greatly affected. This week is even lower than last week; it was only 196 or 73 per cent of number on registers.
AprilReceived Notice of PT Examination which is to take place at the Wrexham N S. on Saturday April 30th at 9 am. Broke up today for Easter week, school to reopen again on Monday 18th.
Cadwelyn Cadwaladr Hugh Bellis Chas.Roberts I B Jones
Wm. Blackwell Robert Roberts Jos. Roberts Arth. Davies
Jno. Jas. Rogers Th. Humphreys Jos. Ph. Davies Robt. Wilder
Seth J Parry Benjamin Evans Th. C. Edwards Wm. P Williams
Joseph Evans Jas. Griffiths John Jones Edwin Pearce
Thos. Hughes Enock Jones
I certify that the boys named above are physically unfit to be worked up for the Standard they are now placed in.
MayI, Isaac James Williams (Carmarthen 83/84) took charge of this school as temporary master during the absence of Mr G J Jones and found it thoroughly well disciplined and in a good state of efficiency. Dr. Gibbons visited the school this morning.
The attendance during this week has been rather better than last, but has fallen off today in consequence of a heavy shower in the morning. Was obliged to punish two boys this evening for bad conduct in school. The Algebra of the sixth and seventh Standards has been nearly completed.
Owing to the torrents of rain which fell last night the attendance today has sunk considerably. Considering the small number present in the morning I thought it better to hold the fortnightly exam in the afternoon. It being customary however to do so in the forenoon.
The attendance for today has been very fair being much better than it was yesterday afternoon owing to many of the children being present at a Tea meeting in the Adwy. Were informed this morning that Mr G J Jones, permanent Master of this school has arrived safely in New York after a most perilous voyage. All the school staff very glad that his family had escaped the deaths by shipwreck which was the lot of several of the passengers in the same vessel.
The Rev Wm Davies Baptist Minister and Member of the Board in company with Dr Gibbons visited the school this morning. The result of the weekly examination was very fair. Dismissed school in the afternoon as many of the lads were very wet especially those who live a long way from the school.
Held the fortnightly examination in the afternoon. Hugh Jones Esq. Chairman of the Board and Dr Gibbons visited the school in the morning Completed "Rule of Three` from Merchant’s Arithmetic’s with Standard six. Attendance for this week has been very fair on the whole. On Saturday 11th inst the quarterly examination of the PTs of this district is to be held in this school.
The result of the last fortnightly exam was very disappointing especially the arithmetic of Standard six The sums which they were given were those with which special pains had been taken during the fortnight previous to the test. All must have been careless in the working (as all understand the method), which produced a poor result. Ed.G Griffiths had leave to be absent in the morning in order that he might attend the Confirmation Service held in Minera Church by the Bishop of St Asaph.
Were informed last Friday by Mr Bury - the Clerk - that holidays were to be given on Tuesday and Thursday - the former being Jubilee Day and on the latter a Tea party was to be given to the Boys, Girls and Infants of the Penygelli Schools by Mr Burton of Minera Hall.
Yesterday the children were regaled with tea and cake in this school, and afterwards marched in procession to a field kindly lent by Mr Burton for their use for the day. The morning only a few were present, sent for as many of the absentees as were likely to come, but very few came back. Was informed about 10.30 am by Hugh Jones Esq. and Dr Gibbons that owing to the small number present I had better dismiss them.
JulyThis morning received the result of the P Ts quarterly examination, was very pleased with the result, as two of the teachers of this school - W J Jones and W P Williams stood 1st and 3rd respectively on the list. The attendance for this afternoon has been very low especially in the upper standards, on account of the hay harvest.
Attendance very poor today owing to there being meetings held in some of the neighbouring chapels. I doubt the attendance will be poor all the week as we intend breaking up on Friday 15th inst. The PTs work very well with their lessons now they see to have been spurred on to make better efforts than they have done by the result of the last quarterly exam.
My time of service expires here next Friday (the 16th inst). Trust that Mr G J Jones when he begins duties will find that I have to the best of my ability worked the Standards entrusted to my special charge to his satisfaction. The attendance has been very poor, in particular the infants for the past two weeks owing to the harvest, the measles having affected it.
Broke up school Friday for four weeks. My time of service expires here today
I J D Williams.
AugustSchool reopened on Monday 15th. Attendance exceedingly small. The school was usually opened on the Tuesday after the August bank Holiday but this year owing to the Carnarvon Eisteddfod where several of our assistants were engaged the holidays were put off a fortnight further.
SeptemberAttendance a little better but still very unsatisfactory. No particular reasons for absence. There are a few cases of measles but not many as yet. During the last two weeks have been busy trying to improve the work of my own class which made no progress during my absence. No real work was made during the whole time that I was away.
There is a marked improvement throughout the whole school but much has yet to be done. Standard five and six are the weakest. Am working as hard as I possibly can. Received notice of School Exam. 24th 25th 26th 27th October.
Attendance much better this week than it has been, few still home with measles. Though there is plenty of room for improvement. Taking the whole year through the attendance is much more irregular than it has been for some time. I can’t assign any reason for this unless the attendance officer is less energetic than his predecessor.
Progress made during the last few weeks is really wonderful all through the school. School kept very nice and clean by the school cleaners. The regular fire began today. Examination held today and standards did their work in a satisfactory manner. This was the last exam before the event of HMI
NovemberAttendance very fair except in Standard five. A large number in this class were absent during the whole of the week, most of them raising potatoes
Attendance not satisfactory. Potatoe raising again affects the attendance of the upper standards. Should the weather keep favourable the potatoe harvest will soon be over.
The attendance officer informs me that there is considerable sickness amongst the children. Am suffering considerably from a bad eye. Have been under operation in Liverpool and though it is considerably better it is still bad.
Work going on as usual. The result of the morning exam was encouraging. This was our first after the Government exam. We have made up a list of our prizes (books). Twenty-seven boys have qualified for a prize by attending over 400 times during the school year.
December Attendance still unsatisfactory. I am perfectly pleased with the work of the Pupil Teachers with their own classes, they all throw their whole energy into their work and I could not wish them to do better than they are. The two senior PTs might do better work at home. They have plenty of ability but they seem to prefer to work with their classes than at their own personal work.
Very poor attendance in comparison to the numbers in the registers. I have allowed Mr Roden to have a part of his time for studying. Mr Roden was up this week attending the Certificate Examination in Liverpool. I took his class along with my own. Of course we felt lost without him. Broke up yesterday for the usual Christmas Holidays.
Summary of Inspector’s Report on the Bersham, Penygelli Schools 1887
Boy’s School.-"The Grammar of the third and fourth Standards on paper was poor, vivâ voce it was from moderately fair to good: the rest of the Grammar was from fair to very good. The Poetry was from moderately fair to very good. It is without hesitation that I recommend the Good Grant for English. The Geography of the fourth Standard was poor, the rest was from good to very good. The History was from moderately fair to very good. The Standard work of the third and fourth Standards lacked character, that of the rest of the school was very commendable. Some of the Algebra papers were very commendable. The tone and order were most satisfactory. The Measles has told against the work of this Department."
Girl’s School.-"This is a fair School upon the whole; it’s Tone and Order were very commendable. The points that need attention are the Division, vivâ voce of the second Standard, and the Arithmetic of the fourth Standard; the Grammar of the third and fourth Standards, and the Standard work of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth Standards. Some of the other work was creditable."
Infant’s Class.-"This Department is doing very well. The Arithmetic vivâ voce of the first class, the Reading of the second class, and the objects of the third class could be improved. A stove is needed."
Payment of the excellent merit grant to the Boy’s School is again allowed this year in view of the interruption of the work by Measles.
[Details of pupil teachers' exam results, etc]
Grant claimable on Av. attend. (boys) £194.0.0
" " " Exam in spec. subjs. (boys) £6.4.0
Do . on average attend.(girls) £122.1.2
Do. " " " (infants) £109.10.0
Do. For Pupil Teachers (inf.) £4.0.0
[Report included list of school staff]
Thomas Bury, Clerk of the School Board.
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
School was opened on Tuesday, as there was a local Eisteddfod on Monday in the Talwrn, which would have greatly affected the attendance.
Attendance improving. We are busy preparing for our annual concert. We have two practices a week on Wednesday and Friday evenings. The singing is very satisfactory. We are preparing one mentioned by E Morris Esq. HM Inspector " Sweet and Low" I believe it is well done.
Feel nearly worked out in preparing for our annual concert which takes place next Monday January 30th. The children are very well prepared for it.
This report appeared in the Wrexham Advertiser the following week
Wrexham Advertiser. Saturday February 4th 1888
Coedpoeth and Minera .Prize Day At Penygelli.
On Monday evening the boys’ schoolroom of the Penygelli Board Schools was a scene of a very interesting gathering, on the occasion of the annual concert and distribution of prizes. The prizes were awarded for regular attendance, each child who having made 400 attendances and over receiving a beautiful book prize, and the certificates to those who successfully passed the late Government examination in Euclid and Algebra. Money prizes were also given on the recommendation of Her Majesty’s Inspector (Mr. T. Morgan Owen), for distinguished merit at the examination. The certificates are most elegantly illuminated and lithographed by Messrs Bayley and Bradley, Wrexham, from an exceedingly neat and artistic design by Mr. G.J. Jones, the head master. The certificated was surmounted by the representation of an open book, on the leaves of which was inscribed the Welsh Motto, " Goreu arv, arv Dysg," which being interpreted means that "The best weapon is the weapon of Knowledge." The idea was emblematically carried out by the Welsh weapons of warfare – the sword, battle-axe, and spear – being placed underneath the open book, and crossed by the familiar implements of literary labor – the pencil and pen. Over the book was inscribed the name of the school, and running down either side of the card, on an illuminated scroll, was the couplet –
"Tis education forms the common mind,
Just as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined."
At the foot of the certificate was the signature of the Inspector, Mr. T. Morgan Owen, and of the head master, Mr. G.J. Jones. As a work of art the certificates are unique, and well worthy of the handsome frames in which upwards of twenty of them were exhibited.
[ Timothy Morgan Owen is mentioned again in the report ]
The meeting commenced immediately on the arrival of Mr. & Mrs. Burton, of Minera Hall, Mr. Burton having kindly undertaken to preside. Though the doors were not announced to be opened till 6.30, yet as early as six o’clock many put in an appearance, and the number increased so rapidly that the doors were compelled to be opened long before the appointed hour. Before seven o’clock the room was crowded almost to suffocation, after which scores were obliged to return home disappointed.Amongst the densely crowded audience, which included a considerable number of parents and friends of the school children, were: Mr. Thos. Bury, clerk, and most of the members of the Bersham School Board: Rev. G.O. Browne, Rev. T.E. Thomas, Dr. and Mrs. Gibbons, Poplar House; Mrs. C.J. Gibbons, Plas Maelor; Mrs. Joseph Jones, Mr. and Mrs. B. Harrison; Mrs. John Davies, Tynycoed; Mrs. Pattinson, Mrs. R.O. Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Jones, Mrs. Walker, Southsea; Mr. Cameron, Plas Power; Mr. E. Davies, Adwy; Mr. Davies, Bwlchgwyn Schools; Mr. C. Dodd, Miss Griffiths, Mr. Fyfe, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Fagan, British Schools, Wrexham; Mr. Owen, National Schools, Minera; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wilcoxon, Mrs. Edward Hughes, Dr Davies, Brymbo; Mr. Jesse Roberts, Berse; Mrs. Jones, Coedpoeth; Mr. and Mrs. Noah Price, Mrs. Rogers, Birkenhead; Mrs. Steel, Manchester; Mrs. James Price, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Gegin; Miss Rose Williams, Brymbo.
The decorations were very tasteful. On our right was the couplet already mentioned, in large and bold letters, and on the left two Welsh mottoes, "Goreu arv, arv Dysg," and "Môr o gun ym Cymru gyd." Besides these, facing the audience was "Welcome to all," and opposite the platform was "Welcome to Mr. and Mrs. Burton,"
Some choice plants, kindly lent by Mr. C.J. Gibbons, Plas Maelor, and Dr Gibbons, Adwy, also added to the beauty of the place. Praise is due to the teachers for having so tastefully decorated their classroom. At the commencement, Mr. Burton was formally requested to take the chair by Mr. George Gibbons.
Mr. Burton, who was received with hearty cheering, said it gave Mrs. Burton and himself great pleasure to be present at the concert, and to assist at the distribution of the prizes to the successful scholars. He congratulated the scholars, the masters, and the members of the Board upon the success achieved during the examination. He trusted the pupils would make good use of their opportunities, and that the parents would see that their children made as many attendances as possible. If children did not make the best of their opportunities in a very short time, they would be outrun by others in the race of life. He especially hoped that parents would do their duty and see to the attendance of the children, for it was no use having schools unless the children attended regularly. Nothing could be better than the report of the Government Inspector, and he understood those schools earned the highest grant of any school in that part, and that fact he thought spoke very well for the master and his staff (Applause.)
The programme was then commenced as follows the items being well sustained:-
Action Song "Dolly Bell’s Toilet" The Infants
Prologue Master Abraham George
Pianoforte Dust "Osbourne Quadrilles" Miss Myfanwy & Miss Morfydd G. Jones
Action Song "Drummer Boy" The Infants
Recitation "Johnny’s Pocket" Master Llywarch R.M. Jones
Song (humorous) "The girl in the pinafore dress" Mr. J.P. Shelby
[This is a continuation of the report on the annual school concert & prize giving (Wrexham Advertiser, Saturday February 4th 1888). It is the last mention of James Pritchard Shelby in the log. He was probably making a 'guest appearance' at the concert as he almost certainly left the school once he had qualified in 1882; he does not appear in any school staff lists after 1882.]
The next item was the distribution of prizes to infants, and those children specially mentioned by H.M. Inspector, but owing to the great heat of the room, and the exceedingly lengthy programme, only a few of the prizes were given, Mrs. Burton kindly promising to distribute them on the following Wednesday.The programme was then resumed:-
Song and chorus "Pull for the northern shore" Master W.P. Williams & party of
Part-song "The handwriting on the wall" The Maelor Juvenile Choir.
Recitation "The boy" Miss Elizabeth Ellen Wilcoxon
Song "Hiraeth" Miss H.A. Williams
Dust "I know a bank" Miss S.E. Price & Miss Agnes Jones
Part-song "Robinson Crusoe" The Maelor Juvenile Choir
Musical Sketch "The emigrante" Party of school boys
Mr. Thomas Bury said he was sure the audience would express the hope that in that heated atmosphere the clerk to the Board would cut his speech short. (Laughter.) He meant to do so. He had heard a great deal about the attendance at these schools, but he did not know what the attendance officer had been doing to secure such thronged seats. It showed how interested the parents were in the success of the children at the school. He was pleased to be present on that occasion, and expressed his satisfaction with the way the children had entertained them, looking so bright and happy that there did not seem to be a single dull or backward scholar to be found. (Applause.) He should have liked to tell them how prosperous the schools were, but most leave it for another time.
The second part of the programme was then given as under:-
Part-song "Sweet and Low" The Maelor Juvenile Choir.
Song (humorous) "The bloom is on the rye" The School Glee Party.
(conducted by Harmonydd.)
Song (humorous) "The very worst girl in the school" Miss Myfanwy G. Jones.
Part-song "Ringing cheerily" The Maelor Juvenile Choir.
Song "The broken pitcher" Miss Gibbons.
Glee "All among the barley" The School Glee Party.
Dust "Love and pride" Miss Gibbons and Mr. Fagan.
Medley "Tipyn o bob peth" Party of School Boys.
Part-song "Homeward bound" The Maelor Juvenile Choir.
Dialogue "Wanted a wife." Characters – Felix Fumbleton, Esq. (in want of a wife), Mr. D.J. Jones; Nathan Slyboots (man servant), Mr. P. Jones, Lizzie Dimplechin (maid servant), Miss Gibbons; applicants – Miss Lacetight, Miss S.E. Price; Dorothy Dingle, Miss W. Moss; Sarah Moprag, Miss H.A. Williams; Molly Maloney; Miss A. Jones.
Song (humorous) "Doctor Quack" Mr. J. Fagan.
Mr. Hugh Jones, Chairman of the Board, proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Burton for presiding and to Mrs. Burton for attending to distribute the prizes. He hoped that soon there would be erected a Public Hall which would accommodate with due regard to their comfort such a large audience as had assembled that night. (Applause.) If a thousand people subscribed £1, the thing would be done.
Mr. Wilcoxon, Vice-chairman of the Board, seconded the resolution in Welsh.
Mr. Burton returned thanks for the vote of thanks.
Mr. Benjamin Harrison proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Jones, the headmaster, the teachers, and the children, for the entertainment provided.
The programme had to be curtailed in consequence of the great heat in the room, and the crowded condition of the audience.
[This is a continuation of the report on the annual school concert & prize giving (Wrexham Advertiser, Saturday February 4th 1888)]
The following is a report upon the work of the schools:-
The Board are glad to be able to report that all the schools under their charge are doing very good work. Two departments, namely, the Boy’s at Bersham and Penygelli, having again this year received the excellent merit grant. At Penygelli Boy’s, the highest merit grant has been received every year since the merit grant came into operation and, with the exception of one year, the same can be said of Bersham Boys’. Altogether the staff employed by the Bersham School Board appear to be doing their hard work in a highly commendable manner, and deserve the best thanks of the Board, ratepayers, and the parents of the children in attendance for the energy they have thrown into the work. In addition to the usual subjects, reading, writing, and arithmetic, geography, history, and grammar, two specific subjects have also been taught at Penygelli Boys’ School, namely Euclid and algebra. The success of the boys in algebra was really remarkable, every child in the first class having scored a pass, several having worked the full number of questions given (eight). Mr. Morgan Owen, H.M. Inspector of Schools, speaks very highly of the work of the following boys :- William P. Williams, Abraham George, George Roberts, Richard Bellis, William J. Jones, Albert Wilkins, William Jones, Thomas Owen Jones, Henry C. Evans, and William Crewe. Concerning the above boys, Her Majesty’s Inspector says: - "The algebra of these boys excited my admiration, and I think they deserve a special prize." A scheme of prizes and certificates was adopted by the Board, on the proposal of Mr. Wilcoxon, similar to the one formerly in operation in the schools, the funds of which were than raised by the teachers. In addition to the above, the teachers of the boys’ and girls’ schools at Penygelli guaranteed the following money prizes, the awarding of which was left to H.M. Inspector. Mr. Morgan Owen, therefore very kindly agreed to undertake to award the money prizes, and forwarded to the Board the following decision as a result of his examination of the papers, &c, worked at the Government examination in October last:-
Boys’ Department - 1st prize, Abraham George £1; 2nd prize, Albert Wilkins, 5s; William Jones, 5s; George Roberts, 5s.
Girls’ Department - 1st prize, Morfydd A.G. Jones, £1; Myfanwy G. Jones, 10s; 3rd prize, Annie Jones, 5s.
The following are the recipients of the prize and certificates offered by the Board. The certificates are awarded only to those boys who pass in the whole of the elementary requirements and one at least of the specific subjects; the Board having found that the higher the standard for which the certificates are to be granted, the more they are appreciated. The certificates are got up from a design by the headmaster, Mr. G.J. Jones, and bear the signature of her Majesty’s Inspector (T. Morgan Owen, Esq.)
[ Next Morgan Owen entry ]
The following is a list of those boys who have gained certificates: -Wm. P. Williams, Richard Pritchard, Wm. Jas. Jones, Jonathan Powell, John Wynne, John R. Lloyd, Albert Wilkins, Richard E. Jones, John Kelly, Arthur O. Jones, William Jones, John B. Higgins, Thos O. Jones, Humphrey Griffiths, Daniel Hughes, Henry Chas. Evans, Abraham George, William Crewe, Thomas Evans, George Bryan, Richard Bellis, George Roberts, Albert E. Williams, Isaac Saunders, Richard Hopwood, John Powell, John E. Glaspole, Alfred E. Jones, Alfred Evans, Thomas Edwards, John Edwards.
The Book prizes are awarded to the following boys, girls, and infants for regular attendance
Standard VII. William Jones, 425
Standard VI. Arthur O. Jones, 427; John R. Lloyd, 406.
Standard V. William A. Evans, 415; John Roberts, 401;
Standard IV. Alexander Cameron, 439; John Jones, 428; Thomas E. Lloyd, 425;
John E. Griffiths, 425; John Kelly, 420; William H. Edwards, 414;
Parry Griffiths, 403; William Hughes, 400.
Standard III. Francis Carrington, 426; James B. Evans, 415; Robert Cadwaladr, 412;
Seth John Parry, 409; Ernest Harrison, 407; Caleb Hughes, 401;
Thomas Henry Davies, 401.
Standard II. William Gittins, 433; Jonathan Thomas, 432; Edward Williams, 427;
David Richards, 413; George Roberts, 413; William Henry Miles, 408.
Standard I. Joseph Warburton, 415.
Standard V. Elizabeth E. Wilcoxon, 425
Standard IV. Margaret J. Taylor, 431; Eliza J. Roberts, 416.
Standard III. Catherine M. Jones, 425; Annie Belton, 422; Eliza Jones, 416;
Susannah Rogers, 415; Louisa Smith, 410; Mary Edwards, 403.
Standard II. Annie E. Price, 424; Charlotte E. Edwards, 418.
Thomas Charles Evans, 419; John Edward Jones, 414; Daniel Ellis, 412; Isaac Roberts, 400; Ptolemy Evans, 409; John Edward Taylor, 433; Arthur Jones, 413; John Belton, 415;
John Bellis, 411; Mary E. Taylor, 409; Jane Edwards, 402; Annie Warburton, 407;
Dorothy Jones, 401; Dorcas Smith, 417; Maggie Cameron, 430.
The Board hope that the awarding of these prizes and certificates will be a stimulus to other scholars to follow the example of those now successful, and that the parents of children attending the schools under the Board will do all they can to assist and encourage their children in their efforts to obtain a prize.
FebruaryThe concert on Monday evening turned out a very successful one. The receipts will amount to about £24. The prizes were distributed on Wednesday by Mrs Burton. The following took part in the distribution. Mr & Mrs Burton, The Rev Wm Brown, Mr Hugh Jones Chairman of the school, Mr Gibbons, Mr Rogers, Mr Harrison. Next Monday the Concert will be repeated.
The cold weather greatly affects the attendance. The sum receive from the children’s two concerts is close upon £30. School fees low. We have had to today send out a large number of bills which I trust will bring a round sum next week.
Attendance just the same but a large number of children were sent home because they came without their fees. The receipts in my Department this week was upwards of £5 the best for many months. The children are giving a concert at Moss, Brymbo next Monday for the benefit of a local church.
MarchProgress fair. Weather very severe. Mr Roden had the result of the Certificate Exam. He has succeeded in obtaining 2nd Class. 2nd Year. He is now fully qualified. He has also a drawing certificate and four Science certificates.
Attendance very fair. School fees very low. No pay at the works. The school fees fluctuate considerably in this neighbourhood. Notice of PTs Examination. It is to take place April 21st 1888 at the Wrexham N.S. The examination will begin at 9 a.m.
The lowest attendance during the term, only 186 or 73.5 per cent. Broke up for the usual Easter Holidays. School reopens on Monday April 9th. " Dydd Llan Pawb"
Monday April 9th
Visited Boys School. Attendance rather small owing to Pleasure fair at Wrexham. "Dydd Llan Pawb" Found staff all present, three classes working at Composition and Dictation. Two at Arithmetic and one at Reading.
Thomas Bury, Clerk
Attendance very unsatisfactory this week owing to pleasure fair at Wrexham It would have been better policy to take the Easter Holidays this week and not at Easter.
Weather very cold again causing the attendance to go down. Progress fair. Standard two very slow. There is a large percentage of dull children in this class. There is more work with them than any other class in the school.
MayOwing to bad weather and sickness the attendance is nearly 5 per cent less than last week. The exams today proved very fair work on the part of the classes. The regular boys are doing remarkably well. Sent for Arthur Owen Jones, monitor to school, as he has been absent for many weeks. He had at first Scarlet Fever but has now been convalescent for some time. I was informed by message that by Doctors orders he was not to return to school till after the Midsummer holidays - the result will be that he will find it difficult to scratch through the exam in October next.
Examination held today. The result was not at all satisfactory. The weakest subject throughout the whole school was dictation and composition. The spelling in all the classes was very unsatisfactory, though a great deal of time is devoted to it. Every dictated piece is written on the blackboard before it is read out, besides the classes have frequent spelling lessons.
JulyThough it is almost now Midsummer, the weather is anything but satisfactory. It is cold and wet and it greatly affects the attendance. School fees £2-8-4. It is very difficult to get the fees in. Colliers and miners have pretty regular work but the pay is exceedingly small and as a result they cannot pay their fees. Result of the quarterly exam not yet to hand though it is daily expected
AugustAttendance very small as is usual after the re-opening. School fees very low. No one seemed during this week in much humour for work.
We have now got nicely into the swing of the work. All the classes are making very fair progress. The result of the weekly exams are much better then for the corresponding period last year. School visited by Dr Gibbons and examined the registers and found them correct. Broke up today for a weeks holiday during the Eisteddfod.
SeptemberAttendance greatly reduced owing to the Eisteddfod holiday last week. A large number of boys away from school. One boy from Standard six punished for truant playing. The result of the weekly exam held today was far from satisfactory. The Upper Standards did very poor work indeed and could not do much worse even if they tried. Composition and Arithmetic thoroughly unsatisfactory.
Held a general exam today and the results showed improvement in all the standards.
Attendance not equal to what it was last year, a large number being detained at home owing to the late harvest. Boys and girls go out with their mothers to glean. Harvest being very late this year affects the school.
OctoberAttendance a little better. Working with a will. The boys are much better prepared than they were last year. Last year my absence had greatly affected the school.
Progress very satisfactory. The attendance of a fair number of the boys is still very unsatisfactory. Some boys in standards five and six are kept at home a great deal too often with to all appearance. Results of exam were very satisfactory. Excellent work. The papers were neat and tidy.
Our last test was held today on all the standards with very good results. Compared with the corresponding exam last year it showed much better results and we therefore face next week’s ordeal with a feeling that we have all done our duty.
The Government Examination took place this week beginning in the Infant School on Monday and finished in the Boys School. Every thing passed of very nicely. The Boys had plenty of time and every chance to do good work. Whatever will be the result we cannot complain on the sense of not having every fair play. It was really a pleasure to see how nicely things were going on. We had everything ready to meet HMI and we had so arranged matters that it was almost next to impossibility that any hitch should take place. As so much depends on the result of the examinations teachers should do all they can to make things run smoothly and I believe that at Penygelli we succeed in doing this year after year with the result that we always have HMI in the best of humours and his annual visit is to all of us a source of pleasure.
November This week has been a very broken week. Very little work could be done as the schedules have not come to hand. Mr Morgan Owen called as he passed from examining the Minera N. Schools.
[This is the last entry for Timothy Morgan Owen in these edited extracts though he continues to be mentioned in the school log. The full transcrption of the log can be veiwed at ***********.]
Schedules to hand, results very satisfactory. We are now again on the way for another years work, the school has been arranged accordingly to the work shown on the schedules. Standard one from the Infant school did very poor work Only 12 passed in all subjects. The greater number who come seem simply to know nothing.I find that there will be very great work with the boys who come down from the Infants school. They are indeed very much behind, very little work has been done with them. They will get plenty of work during the coming year. Their teacher complains fearfully.
Ordinary progress, all working with a will. Attendance not at all satisfactory. I hear that the report for the Bersham School has come to hand and that it was discharged at the monthly meeting of the Board yesterday. The boys have done very well. Mr Bristow getting the "Excellent"
1888 Summary of H.M.I’s Report
Boy’s School.-"The work done in this Department - Standard, Class and Specific Subjects, also Singing - is of an admirable character, and reflects credit upon all connected with it. I would suggest more attention to the writing and Reading of the first and second Standards, and the prefixes in the top Standards. The tone was excellent."
Girl’s School.- "In consequence of the number of weak passes in Writing and Reading (55 & 41 respectively), I have hesitation in recommending this department for the Good Merit Grant. The Grammar was from moderately fair to very good. The Poetry was uniformly creditable. The Arithmetic vivâ voce was from moderate (in the 3rd stand.) to good (in the first & second standards). The tone was excellent, Singing & Registration very good and Needlework good."
Infant’s School.- "Out of 45 in the 1st stand, only 13 knew their work properly. The babies need more care with writing and objects; the second class with writing, Arith. on slates &objects; some of the first class with Reading, writing letters from memory and all of them with subs, vivâ voce and the seasons. The rest of the work done by this department on the examination days was from fair to very good. The work of the Pupil Teachers in each department needs anxious care."
W.J. Jones and A.L. Jones have passed fairly but W.J. Jones should attend to History and Geography. A.L. Jones should be informed that she is now qualified under Art 50 but not under Art 52; and M.E. Jones (whose Spelling, Grammar, History, and teaching need attention) and M.J. Jones that they are not qualified by this examination under Art 50 or 52. They can be qualified for Art 50 only by passing the examination specified in Art 46. M.J. Jones has again passed so bad an examination My Lords have been unable to consider her as part of the school staff for the past year (articles 83 and 115(2))
E.G. Griffiths Spelling and Mathematics
J. Jones Geography and Mathematics
S. Edwards Grammar, Composition, Geography, History & teaching. She must improve.
I am to request that Mr Roden’s Certificate be forwarded to this department for endorsement in the second class.
M.C. Jones must improve very much or she will fail to pass next year.
Mr Thomas will receive his Certificate in due course.
Headmaster Mr G.J. Jones
Assistants Teachers David Thomas, Edw Roden, Phillip Jones
Pupil Teachers Edw G. Griffiths, John Jones, Wm J. Jones
Paid Monitors Wm P. Williams, Arthur O. Jones
Thomas Bury, Clerk.
DecemberThe report is to hand which is of a most pleasing character. It is really a pleasure to work when one receives such an encouraging report from Her Majesty’s Inspectors. Kind words such as are contained in our report compel us to redouble our efforts to perform good work. We have always tried to do all we can to give satisfaction to the managers and HMI and we feel that our efforts are rewarded when we receive our annual reports. We hope to do equally as well net year gain.
Progress very satisfactory. We are now working very hard for our annual entertainment. The children among other pieces intend singing " Farewell i Gymru" by Dr Joseph Parry and the " Hallelujah Chorus". This means very heavy work.
Broke up today for the usual Christmas holidays. We reopen a week on Monday. The school is used next week for a Bazaar or rather a kind of Christmas-tide sale of work. The attendance is very unsatisfactory if anything less than it has been for many years in proportion to the numbers on the registers. Where the fault lies we cannot say. All times it is not at our doors as we send regularly for absentees. Progress since the examination has been very satisfactory throughout the whole school.