Powys Digital History Project

Coelbren School 4
Other distractions


The need for another income
As well as the problems of persistent illness among the children and staff, Coelbren School had to face other challenges to regular attendence. In the early years of universal education sending a child to school meant the loss of a much needed income in the family. Even by the end of the 19th century when legislation protected younger children from exploitation in the workplace, any chance of extra money coming into the poorer households would be seized by anxious parents.
The extract from the School Log Book below shows the school re-opening on July 22nd 1895 after three weeks summer holiday.
Coelbren school
Log Book
School log book entry 

"I recommence school and find that a large number are absent owing to hay-making"

The rural year
This also reflects the rural as well as industrial occupations of the local populace. Sheep-shearing was very much a community activity also, and the head teacher recorded similar absences at shearing time.
Given the agricultural activity in the area, it is not surprising that a local fair would provide a distraction to the children, and on September 2nd 1895 the school is forced to close after registration as there are so many children absent.

County Archives
School log book entry 
   "I opened the school and found the greater part of my children absent. I marked the Registers & dismissed early, this due owing to a Fair & Sale being held in the place"
  The Log Books also record absences for chapel and church events reflecting the importance of both on community life in the area at the time. The school was closed for Cymanfa Ganu (a Welsh hymn singing festival) and for the funeral of a well respected local minister.
  There are 10 pages on Coelbren School. Use the box links below to view the other pages.