The second report of the Schools Commission was published in September 1826. It was intended to reflect the general state of education in Ireland and its findings were far from encouraging.

The most alarming fact was the small number of children actually enrolled in the education system. The commission found that a mere three thousand children in Ireland were connected to an educational institution. The figure of actual attendance is likely to have been significantly less when we consider that children could only attend school as and when their parents could afford the teaching fees. In an age of high mortality and emigration it was thought to be more advantageous for children to add a little to the family income. Since Ireland was still an agricultural nation, few had any need of education beyond the basic reading and writing that would allow communication with relatives who had left Ireland's shores.

Also significant from the endless roll of statistics was the poor quality of the school buildings. The majority of schools were conducted in small thatched cottages of varying quality, or, at worst, were held in miserable huts and abandoned barns. Teachers often lived in the schoolroom because their income was not sufficient to countenance significant improvements or finance extravagant living.

All these failings provided fodder for the argument in favour of a system of free national schooling that would be implemented from the 1830's.

Disused school in Cabragh.