Lampeter Book Launch

Welsh Books Council

Lampeter Book Launch - 24 May 2011

Educating children has always been a rather hot potato it seems. Teachers these days are constantly barraged with new ideas and told how to do their job better, but it was no different a century and more ago, when a pioneering Welsh headteacher sought to change the way that schools were run and the curriculum organised.

Dan Jenkins (1856–1946) was a leading Welsh-language trailblazer and achieved a great deal for the newly emerging board schools of the late nineteenth century in Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire. He advocated a greater use of the Welsh language in the curriculum and the celebration of St David’s Day in schools. Outside the educational world, Dan Jenkins was also at the forefront of other important policy matters such as contracts of employment, tenants’ rights, the development of Welsh agriculture, as well as significant aspects of the Welsh way of life, such as folk singing and the eisteddfod. He was also a county councillor, farmer and writer.

This remarkable man’s life is recounted in a biography by retired headmaster and author Alan Leech. He says, "Most people are lucky if they receive one mention in a newspaper during the whole of their lives. Dan Jenkins was different: there were dozens and dozens of reports featuring or mentioning some aspect of his busy, unusual and spectacularly successful life. He was a man of action, a campaigner, a creator and an originator, whose ideas helped to contribute to the shaping of the cultural and countryside landscape of Wales."

The author had access to the papers of Dan Jenkins and they portray a vivid image of the time through newspaper clipping, photographs and the books which he edited. Many of these items from Dan Jenkins’ scrapbooks are included in the book.

Alan Leech is a former educational advisor. Born in Lancashire, he has lived for the past twelve years in Llanfair Clydogau, Ceredigion, and is a community councillor. He attended universities in London, Manchester and Sheffield where he completed a PhD in the history of secondary education.

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