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Newtown and district
Victorian school days
 
  When the cavalry comes to town
Glossary
 

Almost all of the official Log Books or diaries of Victorian schools show how concerned they always were about regular attendance, with a percentage figure included in most entries.
There were many reasons for the absence of children, including the often essential duty of helping with seasonal work on the local farms. Some were away because there were more exciting things going on in the district, as in this example from Penygloddfa British School in 1863...

Diminution - getting smaller, or diminishing.
 
 
18th February
1863
School diary entry
  18th February - "Many children absent from school in the morning owing to a fire in the town".
Children from Llanllwchaearn National School were also lured away from their lessons in 1871...
 
2nd October
1871
School diary entry
  2nd October - "There has been a diminution in the average attendance this week, in consequence of the presence of the yeomanry cavalry in the town".
This meant that many children had stayed away to watch the mounted soldiers parading in their fine uniforms.
The regular fairs which were held in most areas were another attraction, as shown in a typical entry from Mochdre British School in 1899...
Yeomanry cavalry
28th March
1899
School diary entry
 

28th March - "A large Fair held in Newtown on Tuesday made it impossible to keep school, for the children were nearly all there".
There were also many regular livestock markets in country districts, including cattle, horse, and poultry fairs. Newtown National School reported in September 1864 "Attendance below average - Newtown Pig Fair". The pigs seem to have been more appealing than reading, writing, and arithmetic !

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