Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
         
Knighton and district
Victorian school days
 
  The cost of going to school  
 

Lack of money was a terrible worry for many families in the Victorian years. They had to pay for their children to attend school, and while they were at school they could not help on the farm or earn money from odd jobs.
When Heyope National School opened in 1866 a list of school rules was written in the front of the Log Book. The second rule was about the payment of the school fees...

Victorian penny
8th April
1866
School diary entry "Farmers to Pay
per week................6d
Artezans................4d
Labourers..............2d
These payments in advance
each Monday morning".
Victorian penny

The farmers were charged most for their children at 6d (six pence) a week. "Artezans" or artisans were skilled tradesmen such as tailors and weavers. Labourers paid the smallest amount at two pence, since most labourers would be working for the farmers and earning very little.
The fees or "school pence" system lasted in most Victorian schools until 1891 when the government brought in free schooling. This was recorded in the Log Book at Heyope School...

 
4th September
1891
School diary entry
18th September
1891
School diary entry
 

4th September - "The Managers accepted free education and no fees were charged for this week".
18th September - "Attendance slightly lower than last week, but it shows a vast improvement since the abolition of fees; whether due to that cause time will show..."
Although the charges for school seem very little today it was a great relief to many desperately poor families when they ended. Parents were then much more willing to send their children to school regularly for free lessons.

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