Sunday, 25 July 2010

Photograph - page 102

Happy Days - Rhyl, 1948

IX The Modern School contd

Matron (Mrs. Heathcote) smiles as one of the boys "Picks and Chooses"
his clothes prior to leaving (1949)

Since change was in the air, it was now decided to alter the names of the four houses, which now became known as Ansell, Knox, Yorke and Yates ' shortly afterwards the Governors decided to change the name of the school again, and since Tennal Grange had now given its name to various parts of the locality, it was decided to call it Tennal School.

The number of children in the school now necessitated the use of four dormitories for sleeping purposes, but this re-arrangement of sleeping accomodation did not affect the arrangement of houses, for the boys continued to sleep with boys of their own age, and not with members of their house.

As the school grew in numbers, and as a greater proportion of more difficult cases were now admitted, (1) the Headmaster found it necessary to reinforce the Mark system with more corporal punishment than he had formerly used.

Space permits us to make only the briefest mention of the crowded war years. It speaks well for the quality of the staff, which the school was then fortunate enough to possess, that Tennal weathered the storm in spite of the upheaval which was caused by evacuating the school to Bourne for six months, and then returning to Harborne, where a new wooden dormitory had been built and other structural alterations (2) had been carried out, so that it could temporarily be certified for 150 children.

Hopeful members of Tennal Rabbit Company
"Mind their own business" (1949)

It is not necessary to remind the reader of the wartime difficulties which this school shared with the rest of the country, but it should be noted that good order and discipline were well maintained in spite of the fact that a number of the extra cases, (3) which the Juvenile Courts had to deal with as a result of the war, were absorbed by Tennal at a time when the normal routine was seriously upset by such necessities as re-inforcing the rooms on the ground floor so that they could be used as dormitories.

But the strain of these difficult war years had so severely taxed the strength of Mr Channing that in June 1946, ill-health and advancing years compelled him to retire after 23 years of valiant service for the 866 boys who had been admitted during this period.

It is difficult for a present member of the staff to write dispassionately of the friendly and sympathetic atmosphere which Mr and Mrs H Heathcote (4) have introduced into the school since their appointment as Headmaster and Matron in July 1946 ; but a broad outline of the policy they are both pursuing can be given.

Feeding Time (1949)

As far as the schoolroom is concerned the aim can brifefly be stated as an attempt to provide the boys with similar opportunities to those which are provided in a Sconday Modern School. To achieve this, every effort is being made to apply the principles of the Education Act of 1944. Since the advent of Mr Heathcote three additional teachers have been appointed, and in accordance with the suggestions of the Reynolds Report (5) a Deputy Headmaster, and a Principal Teacher have aslo been appointed. In order to make the best use of the abilities of the teaching staff specialised teaching has been extended.

The education of the children does not always cease during playtime, for now that loud-speakers have been introduced into every dormitory, and since there is a microphone in the staff room, Saturday night boradcasts by Mr Heathcote and Mr Goulden (6) have not only amused and interested the children, but the inter-dormitory quizzes and spelling bees have been excellent educational propaganda. The results of these artful spelling lessons to pupils in their beds are very encouraging.

The metal-work shop has been closed on account of the unsuitability of the room, while the bandroom has been converted into a classroom until such time as the new school - which has been planned on the lines of a Secondary Modern School but unfortunately postponed on the grounds of economy - can be erected. (7)

From small beginnings big things grow (1949)

In addition to the extra teachers, two housemasters have also been appointed to the staff in the hope that they will get below the surface and make close individual contact with some of the boys, and attempt to solve some of their problems and difficulties. The Headmaster has also endeavoured to encourage the rest of his staff to give individual care and attention to the small groups with which each member is concerned out of school hours.

But doubtless the most important innovations are those which have been introduced to make life more pleasant and interesting for the boys, and to allow them new opportunities for free development.

Recently one of the senior classes was asked to write an anonymous essay on "Changes." The following list was extracted from the mass of evidence which was produced to show that Mr.Heathcote's regime was by no means "the mixture as before."

(1)  Most boys mentioned that the Mark system was altered by the new Headmaster ; boys were not only paid (8) more, but were actually allowed to handle money.
(2)  Many boys wrote at length about the way the House system had altered. The number of Houses was reduced to four, and each house slept in its own dormitory.
(3)  Wireless had been relayed to the dormitories. Music in bed was a popular recent change.
(4)  Staff versus School cricket and football matches now took place.
(5)  Morning assembly had altered and now took the form of a short service with hymns and prayers.
(6)  Boxing classes took place regularly.
(7)  A School Council mainly composed of boys had been formed and was trying to improve the school.
(8)  An Angora rabbit company had been formed in which 15 boys each had 5/- shares and hoped to manage the company so that these shares would show a profit.
(9)  A pig-sty had been built.

Many Cooks, but the broth is not spoilt (1949)

This summary is not complete, but it does include the changes which were mentioned most frequently. Few mentioned the increase in staff, and no one wrote a word about the schoolroom, while one boy wrote : - "The thing which has changed most is the discipline. If anybody answered back to an officer they were severely thrashed, or if the boys made a noise on parade they went on parader for two hours."

Since it is the writer's firm conviction that a boy who answers back must never be allowed to have the last word, a few words on modern discipline must be added.

Punishment, of course, is still found necessary, and grave offenders still need occasionally to be "forcibly reminded" of the seriosness of breaking the rules which their own Council has helped to formulate. To a certain extent the boys now feel that the school is a family which works and plays together, (9) and when one of their number does overstep the mark no personal grudge is felt when punishment follows.

One final look at the balance sheet and our story is told. Expenditure has of course increased by leaps and bounds, partly as a result of improvements which have been carried into effect in the school so that the 124 boys for whom the school is now certified can be given a Secondary education and taught how to live, but mainly on account of changes in the value of money brought about by the war.

In 1939 total payments amounted to £9,166, and in 1948 this figure had risen to £21,810. During the current financial year (ending 31st March, 1949), estimated expenditure is approximately £500 a week.

The Rector of St. Philips cannot have foreseen that the school which he founded in the middle of the nineteenth century would be spending almost £4 10s. 0d. a week (10) on every boy committed to its care one hundred years later, or that the total average cost of maintenance in all Home Office Schools would then be more than £5 per boy per week. (11)

On parade (1949)

(1) As a result of the development of the probation service and other methods of dealing with children, the Juvenile Courts reserved committal to Approved Schools for the more difficult cases.

(2) An extension was built on the north side of the dining room, ten extra bowls and five five extra bowls and five extra sprays were provided , and new indoor lavatories were built. 

(3)  As a result of this increase in numbers, it was now decided to increase the number of houses from four to seven (Ansell, Knox, Yorke, Yates, Miller, Hill and Ash). It was also possible to employ an additional teacher in 1943, when the teaching staff consisted of a Principal Teacher, three schoolroom teachers, a full-time teacher of woodwork who also taught printing and published the School Magazine, and a metal work instructor.  

(4) Mr and Mrs Heathcote had both previously served on the staff of a Senior Boys' Approved School at Farringdon, Exeter.

(5) Report on Remmuneration and Conditions of Service in Approved Schools - 1946.

(6)  The present Deputy Headmaster

(7) It was originally hoped that the foundation stone of the new school would be laid on the 13th May, 1949, as part of the centenary celebrations. Since it has been decided that it would be wasteful to expend money endeavouring to modernise the ancient schoolroom, it is hoped that the new project will not long be delayed.

(8) In 1946 1st class received 8d. ; formerly 6d. a week
     2nd class received 6d. ; formerly 4d. a week
     3rd class received 4d. ; formerly 2d. a week

     1st class now received 1s. 8d. a week
     2nd class now receive 1s. 3d. a week
     3rd class now receive 10d. a week
     4th class now receive 5d. a week
(9) It is no uncommon sight to see the Head bowling at three chalk marks on the wall of the quad, which a potential Compton is striving to defend, nor to find other members of the staff eagerly chasing after a small ball on the quad. 

(10) The Allowance for food is now fixed by the Home Office at 13s. a week for each child, while £11 5s. 0d. can be spent on clothing and boots for each child every year. A yearly allowance of 15s. per head is allowed for recreation, and an additionl 2s. per head can be spent  on the provision of library books.

(11) At the present moment (March 1949), there over 140 Approved Schools containing approximately 8,000 boys and 1,500 girls. While every year nearly 20,000 boys and 4,000 girls are placed on probation. In 1947, 3959 Children and Young Persons were committed to Approved Schools ; of these 3,224 had been charged with offences, and 102 failed to comply with the Education Act of 1944. (See Criminal Statistics 1947)


Monday, 12 July 2010

Photograph - page 106

Exciting lessons in giving and taking (1949)


As we look back over the past 100 years it is natural that we should think of some of the shortcomings and some of the failures which the school has turned out in the past. The system of recalling boys to the school, and the daily press, ensures that we do not forget. But let us also remember that all schools have their disappointments and failures. In writing of the old Westminsters, J.D. Carleton states: - "Great libraries would not hold all the books that they have written, and calendars could be filled with their crimes. The last remark is true no less than the first." *

The successes of our school have been less spectacular and receive very little publicity, but they have been very great and more than justify the tribute which was paid to Revd. G.M Yorke in the "Birmingham Daily Mail":-

"Birmingham owes something to a clergyman who keeps his church in such admirable condition as S.Philips. It owes something, too, to the gentleman who founded Gem Street Industrial School - a work of practical Christianity, better possibly, in its ultimate results, than a good many sermons." **

The school has undergone great changes during the past hundred years, and perhaps even greater developments lie ahead, for the experimental outlook which is encouraged to-day ensures an absence of that self-satisfied complacency which, by subordinating the past to the present, fondly imagines that we have reached finality.

Whatever lies ahead, may Tennal School continue to live up to its motto :-


* Page 152, J.D. Carleton - Westminster.
** Page 133, Pulpit Photographs - cuttings from "The Birmingham Daily Mail," 1871/2

The Development of Industrial Schools

Industrial Schools Act, 1857

Vagrant, destitute, and disorderly children could be committed to Certified Industrial Schools, which were under the jurisdiction of the Privy Council for Education until they were transferred to the control of the Home Officer in 1861.

Industrial Schools Act, 1861

The conditions on which children were to be sent were defined more clearly as:- Children under 14 who were found begging or wandering or who were beyond parental control, and children under 12 who had committed a punishable offence. No child could be admitted if he had been previously convicted. There was no lower age limit but inmates could not be detained beyond the age of 15.

Industrial Schools Act, 1866

An Industrial School was defined as: "A school in which children are lodged, clothed and fed, as well as taught." This Act consolidated previous Acts and extended the period of detention to the age of 16.

The Children Act, 1908

"The expression 'Industrial School' means a school for the industrial training of children, in which children are lodged, clothed, and fed, as well as taught."

Six categories of children could be committed to them, namely :-

1. Children under 14 not adequately cared for.
2. Children under 12 guilty of a punishable offence.
3. Children under 14 chared with a punishable offence.
4. Children under 14 beyond parental control.
5. Children under 14 beyond the control of a Poor Law Union.
6. Children under school age who do not comply with the school attendance order.

Monday, 5 July 2010

The Development of Reformatory Schools

1854   First Youthful Offenders Act

Any person under 16 convicted of an offence could be detained in Reformatory School for not less than two and not more than five years, provided that he was also sentenced to at least 14 days' imprisonment.

1866   Reformatory Act

A Reformatory was defined as : - "A school fitted for the reception of youthful offenders." The period of essential preliminary imprisonment was modified to ten days or longer, and offenders under the age of ten could not now be directed to Reformatory Schools unless previously convicted. 

1893   Act

Previous Acts were amended and the offender could now be sent to a Reformatory School without imprisoment. The age limit for admission was raised to 12 unless the offender had been already convicted, while the upper age limit was reduced from 21 to 19. 

1899   The Reformatory Act

The practice of sentencing an offender to imprisonment in addition to ordering him to a Certified Reformatory School was abolished.

1908   The Children Act

The expression Reformatory School was defined as:- "A school for the industrial training of youthful offenders in which youthful offenders are lodged, clothed and fed, as well as taught."

A youthful offender who was over 12 and under 16 could be sent to a Reformatory if he had committed an offence for which an adult would be sentenced. He could not be detained after attaining the age of 19.