What did David learn at school?

During David’s time only children who were sent to a monastery school could learn to read and write because there were no other schools. David was from a royal family who could afford to send him to school.

The school David went to was nothing like the schools we have today. He would have been taught by monks. His teacher was a monk called Paulinus, who was one of the most famous teachers in Wales.

David learnt to speak a very old language called Latin. (This was the language used by the Romans when they came to Britain. Many people continued to speak Latin after the Romans left the country). All church services were in Latin.

Besides learning Latin David also learnt Ogam. Ogam was a language brought to Wales by the people of Ireland. The people of Pembrokeshire wrote in Ogam. It was like a secret code. It was written on stone or wood, so to make the letters easy to carve the alphabet was made up of lines.

As well as learning Latin and Ogam, David also spoke Welsh. He was a man who could communicate well with people from all walks of life, whether they were rich or poor.

There was no National Curriculum, but David also had to study maths! The monks who taught him were fascinated by the numbers mentioned in the Bible and tried to look for a secret meaning for these numbers.

Pupils were also taught astronomy. There were no maps or atlases to tell them where places were or in which direction they were travelling, so they used the stars to guide them, just as the wise men in the Bible used a star to guide them to Bethlehem.

Music also played an important part in the life of the monastery. Beautiful songs from the Bible, called Psalms, were sung in the church services and the pupils learnt to sing these ‘off by heart.’

The most important part of the teaching was learning about the stories in the Bible. These were taught to the pupils who would listen carefully, trying to learn as much as they could from the monks.

Questions for you to answer.

1. Why was David able to go to school?

2. What was the name of David’s great teacher?

3. What languages did David learn to speak?

4. Why did pupils learn about the stars?

5. Which songs from the Bible did the monks sing in church?

6. Why do you think it was important for the pupils to read the Bible?

7. What do you enjoy learning in school?

8. What is important to you?