Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Leyton]
end of his school career, and the outlay would be more than covered
by the immunity from infection each pupil would derive, and the
valuable lesson he or she would learn in the taking care of articles
given to his or her care. Lesson books might be similarly treated,
and I hope before my next Annual Report is made that the necessary
steps in this direction will have been taken.
USE OF PLASTICINE.
I take this opportunity to inveigh against the careless use of the
stuff known as Plasticine. Used for modelling, at present the custom
is to give each child a piece, and at the end of the lesson all these
little pieces, that have been well fingered and handled by children,
perhaps some of them recovering from scarlet fever or measles, or any
disease in which desquamation is dangerous, are rolled up together in
one ball and put aside for the next lesson. The possibilities of such
action need not be dilated upon.
AGE OF PUPILS.
While on the subject of the Schools I wish to state my conviction
that the age of entry. viz., 4 to 5 years, is much too young. The age
limit should be advanced to 6. This would keep child-life out of
much danger of infection during that period, under 5, when such
illnesses as measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever, diphtheria, etc., are
generally so fatal to it. The difference in age is great from the health
point of view, but not nearly of so much account from that of education.
At present there are between 1500 and 1600 children aged
between 3 and 5 years attending these Schools.
It is a pleasure to be able to report how the life and future of
Council School children has been brightened by the especial interest
taken by the Educational Committee in the matter of swimming.
There were no fewer than 50518 attendances of boys and girls recorded
in 1904 at the Baths, for each of which the Council paid. 39120 of
these were made by boys and 11398 by girls, while 7068 more were
admitted by scholars' tickets on payment of 1d. each. These ticketholders
must be accompanied by a master and may not go during
school hours. With the others the Baths have become a part of the
curriculum, and they are quite rightly taught to swim as they are to
read and write. The direct result of this valuable innovation is that
846 pupils learnt to swim in 1904. 170 secured a first class certificate
—two lengths of the Baths, which are 80 feet long. 251 achieved
second class certificate—one length of the Baths. 65 boys obtained
½-mile medal, and 17 girls the ½-mile medal, while 51 boys received