History of the School
History of the Model School in Carmarthen
“The Story of the Model School” by Nigel Commins was published in 1987, and provides a history of the school from its foundation in 1847 up to 1987, when it was relocated from its original site to a new building in College road. The following is a summary of key events taken from the book.
The driving force behind the establishment of the Model School in Carmarthen was the Reverend David Archard Williams. He was the parish priest for St David’s, at the west end of Carmarthen. From the outset he envisaged that the School would be linked to the Training College, as well as serving the needs of the people of Carmarthen. He acquired a suitable site fronting on to Goose Street, now a section of St Catherine Street. This is recorded in the Trust Deed in June 1847 which outlined the purpose of the school and the governance arrangements.
The school was built between 1848 and 1849 and it is likely that it accepted its first pupils in September 1849. At its foundation it was called a ‘National and Practising School’; it was only later, in 1906, that it was renamed the ‘Model and Practising School’. The school would have been quite rudimentary when it opened, and the number attending suggest that it was packed. It was organised as three units, a Boys School, a Girls School and an Infants School. The range of the pupils was up to thirteen or fourteen years old.
Even in the early days the school was subject to inspection, and would receive regular visits from HMI; there was also performance management in place from the 1860’s. Gradually, the State’s regulation of schools increased and the Education Act of 1870 created a national system of education bringing all schools under state supervision. In 1902 another Education Act put Church Schools on the rates in return for a voice in the management. The Education Act of 1944 led to a clear delineation between primary and post primary education, which eventually meant that children would only be taught up to the age of 11 in primary schools such as the Model.
In 1949 it was decided that the school would be managed on an integrated basis, with boys and girls being taught together in the same class. The Infants School remained autonomous within the school for a number of years, until the junior and Infants schools were amalgamated from January 1982. The number of pupils being taught in the school declined from its height of 600 pupils in Victorian times to around 230 in 1973.
In 1987 the school was relocated to new buildings in College Road, the site of the old Carmarthen Fire Station. Since then the School has expanded in size and now has the capacity to teach over 450 children. In 2014 the school was awarded a ‘Good’ rating by ESTYN.