Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Secondary Schools in Ystradgynlais

The South Wales Voice newspaper for Saturday October 21st 1950 has a major article in it about the Rt. Hon James Griffiths, M.P. and Secretary of State for the Colonies, visiting Ystradgynlais.

He attended the annual prize-giving of Gurnos Boys Secondary Modern School, which was being held (to be confusing to historians!) in the hall of Maesydderwen Grammar School. The keynote from his speech was how the recent Education Act was going to be implemented in Ystradgynlais, to merge the rolls of the existing three secondary schools (including Ynyscedwyn Girls Secondary Modern) into one larger, expanded Maesydderwen, which was to be the unitary comprehensive school for the district.

RT. Hon James Griffiths at School Prize Giving
£180,000 School to be Built at Ystradgynlais

On Friday last educational circles in the Valley were honoured by the presence at a school Prize Distribution of a Cabinet Minister, when the Rt. Hon. James Griffiths M.P., Secretary of State for the Colonies attended the annual ceremony at Gurnos Secondary Modern School, as the guest speaker. He was attended by Mrs Griffiths.

At the meeting, Mr Deniol Williams, Director of Education for the county announced that a Bi-lateral School to house all pupils over 12 years of age was to be erected at Ystradgynlais. This will mean a great advance in technical education in this area.

Mr and Mrs Griffiths were greeted by Gurnos School choir's rendering of "We'll keep a welcome" on their arrival. The Minister was introduced to the boys by the head prefect Hywel Williams, Maesyfron, Abercrave, who spoke in Welsh.

Visit To Grammar School

The guests also visited Maesydderwen Grammar School where they received another grand ovation from the pupils who sang "Rhagluniaeth fawr y nef". Mr Seth Owen, the Headmaster, in his speech of welcome said that what Mr Lloyd George was to the children of North Wales, Mr Griffiths was to those of the South. Their guests' children had been pupils of the school, while Mr Griffiths had been one of the Governors. He was very proud that he had been associated with the family.

At The Clock Factory

Mr Griffiths made a tour of the Enfield Clock Factory where he was met by director Mr H.N. Walford, OBE, Mr R G Leyshon, secretary comptroller, Mr Kienzler, work manager, and Mr Tom Evans. The Minister's party which included Mr and Mrs Horace Morgan was conducted over the Enfield factory and later over the Anglo-Celtic factory by Mr Boult, works manager. The Minister was greatly impressed by the layout of the factory.

Bi-Lateral School For Ystradgynlais

Mr Deniol Williams, Director of Education for Breconshire, supporting, said that everything was being done to speed up technical education in the area. He was pleased to announce that the Minister of Education had agreed to grant of £180,000 for the erection of a bi-lateral school at Ystradgynlais. This would mean that in the near future all pupils over 12 would be educated under the same roof, and already the three secondary schools in the area were co-operating with this in view. He stated that in Breconshire they were doing all they could to implement the Education Act in which were embodied the suggestions made by the Minister that afternoon. In this way education would become thoroughly democratic. It was hoped that the Education Authority would recognize a scheme of internal examination that is now being laid before them.

The Ceremony

At Maesydderwen Grammar School in the afternoon, Alderman Tudor Watkins, MP for Brecon and Radnor presided at the prize-giving ceremony in the absence of Alderman Idris Davies, chairman of the School Governors, who was in hospital. He referred to the outstanding contribution made by Mr Davies to the educational life of the district. He mentioned that this was the first visit made by a Cabinet Minister to a school prize-giving ceremony in Breconshire, and stressed the importance of the work Mr Griffiths had done and was doing for the people of this country.

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