London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Hillingdon 1971

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hillingdon]

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Hedgewood Day Special School for E.S.N. Pupils
I am grateful to Mr. 0. G. Best for the following report:
"Hedgewood School is a school for educationally sub-normal children which opened with
40 pupils in September 1968. We now have 117 pupils on roll.
We feel it is very important to give the children an opportunity of living away from home for
a few days, and this year we have run a more varied programme. Two teachers took a mixed party
of 15 of our pupils Youth Hostelling in Surrey for a week. Eight of our boys went on a four-day
camping holiday to Park Place School. We also took two parties of children to stay at a residential
school in Evesham, Worcestershire, one party for four days and the other party for five days. In all
46 of our pupils had the opportunity this year of living away from home for a little while. We feel
these experiences give the children a lot of self-confidence.
At Hedgewood we realise it is important to involve the parents as much as possible in the
school. In the winter months our Parent-Teacher Association organised a monthly club when
activities such as dressmaking, model aeroplane construction, creche, chess and draughts,
badminton, table tennis, etc., were run mainly by the parents. The attendance of parents, children,
staff and neighbours reached about 90 on most occasions. As it was so successful we organised
the club fortnightly during the autumn of 1971.
Within the school we have also started the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
All the activities I have mentioned in my report involve my staff working with our children
out of school hours. I am very grateful for all the help they give to the school."
Moorcroft School for E.S.N. Pupils
Dr. B. P. Westworth, Principal Medical Officer, retained special responsibilities for the care
and supervision of the children at Moorcroft School and she comments as follows:
"At the beginning of 1971 the waiting list for admission to Hillingdon Junior Training Centre
was halved. This was made possible by the hiring from the Hillingdon South Society a room in
their social centre which is conveniently situated in the Moorcroft grounds. A large proportion of
the new admissions attended on only two or three days each week but it was felt that this small
relief to parents would be most acceptable. During the year it was possible to increase attendance
to five days each week.
In April the centre changed its name to Moorcroft School and at long last the children
attending were brought together with all other children within the amended Education Act. This
also meant that "helpers" were recognised as teachers and given encouragement, for those who
had not already obtained teaching qualifications, to do so.
Weekly visits have been made to the school by the Principal Medical Officer in order to carry
out routine medical inspections, and to meet and discuss problems with parents personally
concerned about their child's welfare. The exchange of ideas between staff and parents has also
been actively encouraged so that tuition does not cease when the child goes home.
The appointment of a school nurse has done much to help develop a smooth liaison between
school and home life. Team work has been the aim and regular communication between the
physiotherapists and their colleagues in hospitals has been maintained."
I am grateful to Mr. W. D. Nicholas, the head teacher, for the following report on the
work of the school:
"Our aim has been, through careful observation, to consider a suitable programme of the
activities which the teachers wish to introduce to the children, and for them to obtain the maximum
benefit from them.
Particular consideration has been given to the importance of play in all its forms and this will
probably be the major approach to their education in the future. Through this kind of stimulation,
and the stimulation of out-of-school experiences, we hope to encourage the children to use
spontaneous and intelligible language.
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