Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanfyllin and district
Victorian school days
  Farm first, school second...  

It was not easy to get children to attend school regularly in Victorian times. Some were away for a genuine reason like illness, because serious and often dangerous diseases were very common then. But another genuine cause in country districts was that many families were very poor, and needed their older children to help out with jobs on the farm, especially during busy times like harvesting.
This entry is from Bwlchycibau School Log Book in 1869...

10th October
School diary entry
Heading from log book

This diary entry reads -
"The attendance at School in the morning between 9.30 am and 10.00 am is not so good as it was before the harvest time. The reason of that is : The parents tell me that owing to the scarcity of labour that they are unable to spare the elder children earlier, but they remember to let them be here in time for Marking that the School may not suffer. They come in quickly".
During the hay harvest each year almost all the older boys would help out on the local farms, and country schools would match the summer holidays with the timing of the harvest. For many years these were called the harvest holidays.
There is more about the problems of attendance at Victorian schools on the next page...

Children stay home when they please...


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