Anyone suffer from didaskaleinophobia?

25 September 2014

I learnt a new word today. However, I would like to change the spelling slightly and hyphenate it to did-ask-alien-ophobia. Do you know what it means? A phobia of….?

Well, FindmyPast could tell you about a lot of people who did NOT have a phobia of this. In fact, they have just published 2.5 million historic records showing people who didn’t! Didaskaleinophobia is a fear of going to school.

School attendance to the age of ten has been compulsory since 1870. From 1862, all schools had to keep log books, written up in great detail by head teachers. These books recorded visitors to the school, inspections, holidays, staff changes, attendance, student awards and events of local significance.

The log book for Peter Tavy National School (Devon, England) in October 1898 records many events which affect the attendance of the scholars including the local Tavistock Goose Fair and parents being summoned for ‘irregularity’ in their children’s attendance:

The head teacher at Chilsworthy School writes, on 16 December 1930, ‘Harold Sillifant sent home at 1 o’clock accompanied by brother, Willie – having badly cut his head while playing’ and an entry in the Holsworthy Wesleyan School log book in 1890 gives an indication of some of the reasons why children stayed away from their desks:

The following are those who, for various reasons, have not attended school regularly during the year 1889/90:

F. Badcock – Delicate Health

W. Rees – Sickness

J. Ford – Employed

T. Wicks – Sickness of Sister

W. Sillifant – Liking for Wildlife

Admission registers – the records which FindmyPast have digitised – are mostly kept after 1870. In the front of the register, the masters and mistresses from the commencement of the school are noted and the admission records for the scholars contain a wealth of detail including date of admission, date of birth, name of parent/guardian, their academic progress, the school they came from and where they went on to attend (if applicable). The ‘remarks’ column available in some registers often contains fascinating snippets such as ‘left for service’, ‘left the district’, ‘wanted at home’, ‘dead’, ‘apprenticed to….’ and many other notes providing an insight into the lives of our forebears after leaving education.

A mine full of information regarding our ancestors…. and I would suggest keeping an eye on the continuing additions to FindmyPast!

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