Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanwrtyd and district
Victorian school days
  Scaring crows and killing pigs...  

Victorian schools in country districts were used to the effect of the harvest and of sheep-shearing every year on school attendances. But there were many other jobs connected with the farm and the small-holding to keep children away from school at different times.
These examples are all taken from Log Book entries of various dates which complain of poor attendance figures. They are typical of most country schools, but all these are from Garth School...

Garth School
Log Book
"minding cows" entry
"fern-cutting" entry
"raising potatoes" entry
"scaring crows" entry
"pulling turnips" entry
"mowing thistles" entry
"hauling manure" entry
"pig killing" entry

These examples all appear in entries between 1895 and 1897 with remarks like "among the reasons given me for absence" written by the teacher.
The excuses shown here read "minding cows", "fern cutting", "raising potatoes", "scaring crows", "pulling turnips", "mowing thistles", "hauling out manure", and "pig-killing".
Most of these jobs were very important to the local farmers in an age when the labour-saving machines seen in the fields today were not available. The old engraving on the right shows a boy using a noisy rattle to keep birds away from the ripening corn in the fields behind him.
Many country families kept a pig, and it would usually be slaughtered around December. The killing would be a big event for the household, and the children wouldn't want to miss it ! It also meant much better food for a while !

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Boy scaring crows.
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