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Derwenlas School 5
Duties and diversions 

  Bringing in the harvest
The early records of  rural schools invariably reveal regular occasions which have a marked effect upon the numbers arriving at school. The most frequent of these are linked to the farming calendar, when the children help out with the hay harvests or with the potato crop.
The example below, taken from the pages of the School Log Books of Derwenlas, is typical of many.
  School log book extract 

The entry here, from 21st July 1881, in only the second year of the new school, reads as follows:
"Attendance unusually small this week owing to the Hay Harvests. Closed the school for three weeks, the period for the midsummer vacation."

Other routine causes for absences, other than the many illnesses which were common in the early years, were the annual fairs, circuses and other attractions which must have been irresistable to country children.

 Derwenlas School
Log Books

County Archives

School log book extract 

This entry, dated 19th September 1887, reads as follows:
"Today a large and popular fair is held in Machynlleth; the school was opened in the afternoon, but in consequence of the fair only twelve were present: they were dismissed and the school was closed."

The rise of nonconformist religion in Wales was also to have an effect upon school attendance, and there are many references to meetings and festivals which took children away from school.

There are 19 pages on Derwenlas School. Use the box links below to view the other pages. 

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