Special School Evacuation Unit SOME





By H. BARKER, Headmaster, Hunslet Lane Special School, Leeds (evacuated to One Oak, Ilkley).


./n a Previous issue

Here ls ?nother

(July 1941) we published an article on this subject by an L.C.C. Headmaster. testimony from a different part of the country which provides useful additional evidence. "

" special children, including separate schools for the feeble-minded group. The boys (with whom ? was this article exclusively deals) were evacuated first to were being made, it Act {92X certified under Part V of the Education a hutted camp in beautiful surroundings, and ^ should not be evacuated except as a g tQ subsequently to a large house in Ilkley. herefore local arrangements were ma The party originally consisted of 86 boys, but. this under dealt with in temporary residential s m number quickly dropped to 62, and at the time of tely P heir own teachers and not blllete writing is 46. During the two years which have P 'vate families. (Subsequent expe ^ few elapsed, 33 new entrants have been received and the wisdom of this tQ be 49 boys have left, of whom 31 returned to Leeds children who were sent by their _p schools and 18 were allowed to leave altogether. brothers b?>m normal i? the ordinary, way witt. Of these 18, 4 were de-certified, 7 were given leave g home, the Mental Health s?ters all quickly returned to Ke P on licence, and 7 were notified to Committee. Nineteen boys have been with us the foster-Parents were unwilling ofwhole time, and a large proportion of the others for Residential Schools were set up for all types


When, in the early days of 1939, felt









periods ranging from one to two years. There have therefore been ample opportunities of studying the

effects of evacuation upon them. In spite of obvious disadvantages?mainly because the scheme is only a wartime measure?both myself and my staff are satisfied that the residential school brings great gains and that these gains could be made still more effective in a properly constituted



The first great advantage is the improvement in physical health. Whilst the bracing moorland air has played its part in achieving this, we must not overlook three other very fundamental factors:



of meals and


carefully planned "

bits and diet, with the disappearance of and chance meals, and of fads and pieces fancies about food. The boys eat with relish "

and waste is unknown. We grow proportion of our own vegetables fresh garden produce is available.



good that


and Our clothing. This needs no freedom from disease tells its own story. It is a rare thing for a boy to miss school and our attendance at lessons reaches 98 per cent. Personal


Regularity of sleep.


a so

body amplification.


out at 8.30 p.m.

Eleven hours Waking-up time, 7.30 a.m. sleep each night with consequent fitness for the new day's tasks. The effect of these three gains shows itself in the of the boys to enjoy the long, healthful walks on the moors. Even after a short stay, the improvement in their stamina is marked. In summer we visit the open air baths and it is a rare thing to have a boy wishing to be excused. We have played football matches against local teams and although the boys have each time been beaten, they play manfully to the end and even ask for more. If nothing else had been achieved, this physical improvement alone would have been worth while. But it has other repercussions. Instead of the back street, the boys have the wide open spaces. They are nearer to nature and like all other natural things they seek to express themselves. They are no longer tongue-tied and speak more freely. They can be given greater responsibility and are adapting themselves more successfully to life. If all this is true, it should have some effect on educational standards. How far is this borne out ? At random, I put three boys through the Ballard test and found that in each case from 10 to 12 months' improvement had been made for each I venture to suggest that if a year of evacuation. similar test was made of the whole school this would be the general average. The fact that four boys have been de-certified and that others are under consideration for de-certification, bears out this statement. There is still another advantage which must not be overlooked. In the past, these boys used to


spend six hours in school each day and the rest the time outside its discipline, often with results. Now they are living a communal under the friendly supervision of the teaching sta"' both for work and play. Dual control has go$ and the parents themselves are noticing the' improvement. We are often congratulated 0 the boys' happy appearance and quiet behavio^; whether on the moors, at the local cinema or2 church. In time of stress, boys have been loaned to people in the district to help in gardening wor and not only have they been well paid for this wo1* but many expressions of appreciation for the ^ it has been tackled, have been received. Just one more point?our boys are not burdened with pocket money but the eagerne-with which they buy National Savings Stamps very cheering. No compulsion is put upon in this matter and they are proud as can be they manage to get a certificate book. A training in thrift ! These are just a few of the gains I have observe^ Are we going to learn from our experience and s, plan our Post-War programme that they sW be spread over a wider area and made more co# plete and lasting ? Our job in Special Schools to help lame dogs over stiles. Here is a way to d it, and to do it very effectively.





^ theIJ

vvh^ ,

The following notes Mr. Barker's staff-? Mr. Pullan writes


appended by





Evacuation to a Residential School has " " & ated the bogey of Home Conditions The are more is al#; response improved. boys physically and mentally. In sport, they want play and they have greater staying power. V class, they are eager to answer when they can & they listen and watch more attentively. They hav' more centres of interest which results in an increa* of vocabulary and an increased desire to talk.


Mr. Sumption writes :' Many of the boys suffered from bad habits to parental training and outlook. They " brought up in an atmosphere of you can't he* it?its not your fault ". The teacher's duty is1' correct this viewpoint by changing the negate, outlook for a positive one. Other boys hav previously spent long periods in hospitals. Th^1 educational training has suffered and they hav got into a lazy way, both mentally and physical" In a residential school these things can be read1; corrected. Another type?and probably the 1 difficult?is the spoiled lad in whom the ego of life Here the communal again paramount. " " residential school with its one-Control discipl^ is of immense help. A boy has to wash and drf himself?attend to his own personal appearand




thousand and

?:ere done for him.


jobs which

He learns to

Sames, and his character is nght lines.


own part to develop

take his



^r' Br?adbent writes: of in the making 0rtage of material has resulted , screens, garden pieces of work?black-out ?jailer Every boy P ements, household repairs, etc.


now has a metal gas mask case made out of old material. Smaller classes and more time have resulted in greater progress, and hobby work has been done out of school hours. Increased physical stamina has made it possible for boys to begin handicraft lessons at 10 years of age and to work through the scheme. Amongst the older boys, I find there is quicker execution and the work is better finished.

A Special School Evacuation Unit: Some Observations on Its Value.

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