Education Administration and Policy Making in the Rhondda 1840 to 1974

  • Graham Robins

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The Rhondda Valleys lie sixteen miles north west of Cardiff, in
    Glamorgan, and were once the tumultuous centre of the world's coal industry. All that now remains is a community spirit and an educational and cultural heritage which had almost as tumultuous a history as that of coal mining.

    Over a period of one hundred and four years, from 1870 to 1974, the administration of education in the Rhondda area involved, in
    chronological order, the Ystradyfodwg Parish Vestry (1870 - 1878), the Ystradyfodwg School Board (1878 - 1903), the Rhondda Urban District Council (1903 - 1946) and the Rhondda U.D.C. as an Excepted District, (1946 - 1974). The dissertation is an examination and analysis of how these different authorities became involved in public education responsibilities and of how each responded.

    It is an underlying theme of the dissertation that, inter alia, the
    character of the Rhondda Community encouraged deep-rooted values, loyalties and traditions which blended into a strong community consciousness with the result that the community has always been, and remains, a valley of spirit and independence. The natural consequence was the emergence of attitudes of stubborn determination and independence defined as self reliance, an unwillingness to be dependent upon or to be constrained by other agencies, a preparedness to lead and innovate and an almost irrepressible urge for local autonomy and self-government.

    For each period the dissertation focuses on case examples of attitudes of stubborn determination and independence in education administration and policy making. Where possible brief evidence is also presented of the same attitudes in other fields and these attitudes were thus a general phenomenon although most prevalent in education.

    For each period an analysis of possible reasons for these attitudes is offered by applying the concepts of community consciousness and organisation culture followed by evidence of the deployment by the various authorities of the power resources of political legitimacy, knowledge and information and constitutional - legal powers in order to achieve their policies and aims.

    The aims of this dissertation are to determine whether community
    consciousness was institutionalised in the various authorities and, in particular, to test the hypothesis that, through interlocking membership, and subsequent organisational continuity, successor authorities to the Parish Vestry were each, in turn, captives of a past organisation culture with the result that attitudes of stubborn determination and independence were perpetuated.

    The contribution made to knowledge of the subject areas of both
    education and local government is provided by the general focus on almost a century and a half of the education administrative history of the Rhondda and by the focus on the interfusion of the organisation culture of several local authorities.
    Date of AwardApr 1986
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Polytechnic of Wales

    Cite this