Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Welshpool and district
Victorian school days
  Only the little ones in school this week...  
Drawing by
Rob Davies
Almost all school Log Book entries said how bad (usually) or good (hardly ever !) the attendance was for the day or week. Children were often away to help out on the farm, to visit local fairs and markets, or because of sickness.
The older boys were needed for hay-making every year, for there were no machines to do the work in Victorian times. This is from the diary of Buttington School in the summer of 1878...
Empty classroom
9th July
School diary entry "Many children away this week in consequence of the hay-making going on in the fields, and only the little ones in school this week".
  Because so many children went haymaking, the summer holidays were called the 'Harvest Holidays' for many years.
If you think school holidays are not long enough, how about going back on the day after Christmas ? They were supposed to at Buttington School in 1882, but not many did ! ...
Many children were usually still absent after the Harvest Holidays ended. Only 6 turned up at Vaynor School in September 1885 !
26th December
School diary entry "Yesterday being Christmas Day there was no school at all. Commenced this morning at 9 o'clock. Very few children came".

There were many different reasons for absence mentioned in the official school records as well as the regular seasonal jobs like sheep shearing, potato lifting, and whimberry gathering.
Some more local examples can be seen on the next page...

Where have they gone today ? ...


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