Education in Bryn

Bryn Has had Four schools at various locations within the village.
The first school at Bryn, which seemed to have been established by the Bryn Colliery Company in the 1840s, was in fact formed by the governor and company of the Cwmavon copper works. It opened the first colliery in Bryn and built cottages in Bryn to house the new workers. An early article in the Cambrian Newspaper stated a school in Bryn, no knowledge of the location is recorded as the surveys and census at that time were only linked to board schools and not works schools.

The second school in Bryn known as "The Bryn Elementary Board School." was at the top of Meadow row which has now been demolished. It was built in 1885 and was standing until the end of 1900. The school was built on land leased to the school board by C.R.M. Talbot for 99 years from the 29th September 1885 for rent of 5 shillings per annum. On the 7th November 1885 Miss Margret Williams was appointed as Mistress of the new school with a salary of £40 per annum to be paid from the 1st January 1885. Miss Williams only lasted until the 21st September 1886 because she no longer held a 'provisional certificate' as a teacher. Advertisements for her successor, at a salary of £60 per annum were published in various newspapers, 18 applications were received, with her successor being Miss Emily Griffiths of Maesteg from 16 October 1886. The new Board school only lasted some 15 years, during its life several indications of construction weaknesses were found in the building on the 25/11/1886 - the roof suffered severe storm damage, other problems meant that tenders were obtained to replace the wooden eave troughs with iron ones - 05/07/1889. The next year repairs were required to the pine end of the building, these being carried out on the - 15/08/1890. On the 18/03/1892 it was reported that the east side of the building was very damp all in all this building probably cost more to repair than its original construction cost..

So by the 5th December 1898 plans for a new school (the third) had been submitted by the architect 'Frank B Smith' to the Margam school Board. Three sites were offered for consideration by Charlotte Emily Talbot (the then owner of the Talbot Estates) for a lease of 99 years at the cost of between £20 - £25 depending on the location. Trial holes were dug to ascertain the site conditions at the offered locations (as this was a mining area) and the site next to St Tydfils' church was decided upon.There would be places for 254 pupils 60 infants and 194 aged 7 and above (school leaving age was 14 at this time). They stated the cost of construction would be around £8 per pupil or £2509 18s and 8d in total. The opening date of the school was fixed for Monday 17 June 1900, whilst the old school above meadow row would close the week before to allow staff to move books and stationary, new furniture at the cost of £2034 13s 0d was provided.
Worries arose in May 1905 due to teachers having to travel to Bryn by the P.T.R. (Port Talbot Railway) and the matter of train times meant they would arrive late, the decision was taken to open the school at 9:30am rather than 9:00am this meant the teachers could travel on the train arriving in Bryn at 9:35am.
In1908 there was an incident when a child fell from the boundary wall to the road below. The fact that they received very few injuries was miraculous as the playground stands some 10-12 feet above the road, there is no information as to any remedial work being carried out to prevent further incidents.

The fourth school in Bryn which is still in use today is a mixed school of Non Denominational Religion, contains a nursery for younger children, and caters
for primary age children. It was opened in April 1968 by Lord Haycock.
At that time it was exceptional for a new school to be built to replace an existing school. So why new and not renovate, well the cost of upgrading and repairing the school was estimated at almost double the cost of building a new one, some £17,000 was needed just to treat the dampness. By the early 1960's it was apparent that action had to be taken. The search for land proved difficult as the only piece of flat land was on the upper fringe of the village. However there was little choice and the school was eventually constructed on the upper edge of the village off Neath Rd.
For more information on to-days school click on the title at side of screen.