Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Victorian school life
  Too poor to pay one penny a week  

Many people, especially those living in a rural county like Breconshire, were very poor in Victorian times. The very poorest were terrified of being sent to the local workhouse, where life was very harsh.
There are many reminders of this sort of poverty in the diaries of Victorian schools, as with this Ynscedwyn school entry from 1888.

13th January
School log book entry

This entry reads:
"The attendance has been unsatisfactory all through the week. Several children are ill (especially infants) and others are absent on the plea of poverty...."

The 'plea of poverty' means that children said that their parents could not afford to pay for their education. Board schools were paid for by the local rates, but parents were asked to contribute one penny (half pence) a week for each child at school. Even this small amount was too much for some families.

More about money problems...

Drawing of ragged boy
Link to sources
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