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 HM Inspectors report 1959

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 Archive reference  PP/KCB 3/3/1 document 2

 

  MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

 

 REPORT BY H.M. INSPECTORS ON

Wennington School,

Wetherby, Yorkshire West Riding

INSPECTED on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th DECEMBER, 1959

NOTES

THIS REPORT isconfidential and may not be published save by the express direction of the competent authority of the School. If published it must be published inits entirety.

 

The copyright of the Report is vested inthe Controller of H.M. Stationery Office. The Controller has no objection to the reproduction of the Report provided that it is clearly understood byall concerned in the reproduction that the copyright is vested in him.

 

[Issued 28 April 1960]

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, CURZON ST., W.I.

IND. 376/59

 

 Nature and Scope of the School

  1. 1.    The origin, development and aims of this School were described in some detail in the last report following the full inspection in 1948.  Since then there has been further steady development but aims appear to remain relatively unchanged.  The Principals are still mainly concerned to provide a community experience from which the personalities of Individual boys and girls may be developed more freely than is normally attempted.  The highest regard is paid to the ease and quality of personal relationships between all members of the community, including domestic as well as teaching staff, so that sensitive and responsible, but individual, attitudes to others are fostered.  Most educators would, in some degree, subscribe to their aims.  The differences between this co-educational boarding school and many others may derive partly from the consistency and strength of purpose of the Principals, partly from the measure of social equality existing between all members of the community and partly from the way in which beliefs are asserted clearly but tolerantly by practice rather than precept.

     

  2. 2.    At the time of the last inspection there were 99 pupils, including 94 boarders, with ages ranging from 5 to 18 years: the roll is now 114, including 101 boarders, with an age range of 8 to 18 years.  The School is to be congratulated on building up a sixth form which has varied in size between 7 and 20 during the last six years and which is at present 13.  It is also noteworthy that the number of pupils under the age of 11 years has dropped from 37 to 11 and the number of junior forms has been reduced from two to one.

     

  3. 3.    The normal age of pupils on entry varies between 8 and 13 years, with a certain concentration at 11 and 13 years.  It is understood that an attempt will be made to increase the size of the former group at the expense, but not to the exclusion, of the latter.  The policy of the School is to admit pupils from all social classes, and to include some who are disturbed or emotionally maladjusted.  The Governors of the School expressly desire to meet the needs of a few disturbed pupils, and also of some normal pupils with difficult home backgrounds.  In view of the aims of the school community, it is not irrelevant that the presence of some who need help and special consideration from others is considered to be of great value to all.  Nearly a third of the pupils now in the School are or have been, maladjusted, but only 10 of these still present serious problems.  Twenty-five existing pupils, some of whom are normal, have been sent to the School by Local Education Authorities.  The Governors and Principals agree that something like the existing balance between disturbed and normal pupils should be maintained, and that the former group should include pupils of all ages so that problems are unlikely to be concentrated in any one form.  The Principals normally refuse admission to children who are unlikely to benefit from a mainly academic course but, inevitably, some relatively unintelligent children do gain admission.  It is estimated by the Principals that approximately one-third of the entrants would not be likely to gain entrance to Grammar Schools.

     

  4. 4.    Particulars of ages of leavers and of the types of occupation taken up by some of them are given in the Appendix.  During the last three years nearly two-thirds of the leavers have been over 17 years old and over a quarter have been over 18 years of age.

     

    5.  The main premises consist of a large country house in an extensive estate including gardens, playing fields and woodlands situated off the York Road about a mile from the country town of Wetherby.  The house, together with adjoining and detached outbuildings, has been well converted for both day and boarding use.  Improvements and additions are constantly being made and decoration is, in general, well maintained.  During three afternoons of each week, the boys spend one in playing organised games and two on estate work and the girls have two for games and one for estate work.  The estate work is planned and supervised by a well qualified estate manager who performs his tasks with the pupils in such a way that he is undoubtedly a valuable member of the staff.  He lists the various tasks to be performed, some of which are routine but many are constructive and creative, and at the start of each term the pupils choose the particular occupations they would prefer to follow.  The achievements listed below give some indication of the range of constructive work for which the pupils’ efforts are enlisted.  The School is congratulated on the appointment of the Estate Manager, and on the following improvements and additions completed since the last inspection.  An asterisk denotes that staff and pupils have assisted, and on occasions old pupils also.

     

    *        (a)          The establishment of a Library equipped with shelving and cupboards, in the former dining room (1949).

     

    *        (b)          The extension of a workshop to provide separate wood and metal workrooms (1950).

     

    *        (c)          The building of a concrete Nissen type hut to provide a circular saw shed and timber store at a cost in materials of £100 (1950).

     

    *        (d)          The building of a sports pavilion out of timber from the estate (1955

     

    (e)          The installation of showers and water closets in the girls’ changing room (1957).

     

    (f)           The enlargement of two classrooms by combining them with a garage and a groom’s room respectively (1958).

     

    *        (g)          The construction of a new sewage filter-bed worth £1,500 at a cost in materials of about £400 (1959).

     

    (h)        The building in timber of one large and two small classrooms in the courtyard (1959)

     

     

  1. 6.      The area of teaching accommodation given in the Appendix is in some ways generous for a school of the present size.  The most restrictive feature is the small hall which serves the needs of assembly, dining, music and indoor physical education.  On the other hand, the school has an impressive list of practical rooms.  Some of the rooms are small for their existing use and many of them need additional storage facilities: one room is generally unsuitable for teaching purposes as it is deficient in both natural lighting and ventilation.  Circulation is by no means easy but it appears to be reasonably effective in use.  Although improvisation is generally evident, it is also clear that the main needs of the School are constantly under consideration and that, as they develop, they are met.

     

  2. 7.      The boarding accommodation for the juniors is in a very pleasantly converted and comfortable outhouse, providing four dormitories, two living rooms and a classroom: the main dormitories for the boys and girls are in different parts of the first and second floors of the main building.  There are four dormitories and a small room for 36 girls and 7 dormitories for 48 boys, all of which are centrally heated.  In many of these there is overcrowding which would be even more evident but for the use of one or two twin tiered bunks in each of eight of the dormitories.  In so far as they can be, the dormitories are, in general, well maintained.  There is, however, little furniture, and that is rudimentary in nature.  When overcrowding has been relieved by the proposed extension of boarding facilities, it will be possible to provide more furniture so that personal belongings are adequately stored: it is suggested that this will be necessary in addition to the private lockers on the ground floor.  There is an excellent sick bay consisting of a dispensary, two sick rooms with six beds and separate toilet facilities.

     

  3. 8.      There are both good and weak points in the ancillary accommodation for boarding.  The juniors are well provided for.  In addition to the hall and form rooms which are freely available to the seniors, the Library serves as a quiet room and there is a general common room provided with magazines and racked newspapers.  The Sixth Form have a common room and the Counsellors have tiny but effective studies for work.  The facilities for crafts and for hobbies are very good and they are well used.  The main need is for an additional comfortably furnished quiet room into which the magazines and newspapers might be moved so that the existing common room might legitimately be used for more noisy pursuits.

     

     

  4. 9.      The sanitary fittings listed in Appendix (f) are generally inadequate in number although no serious difficulty appears, as yet, to arise.  The main needs are for more washbasins and baths, parti­cularly for the boys whose showers are not easily available for morning and evening use.

     

  5. 10.  With the exception of the problem of providing an indoor space for physical education for which there appears to be no easy solution, the Principals and Governors have plans for providing two new laboratories, and for releasing the existing biology laboratory, together with a first floor flat, to be converted into dormitories with additional toilet facilities.  Overcrowding in the existing dormitories can thereby be relieved.  The existing changing room for girls is also to be extended.  Urgently needed alterations in the kitchen are referred to in a later section.

     

    It is understood that the Fire Precautions Officer has been consulted about risks and precautions, and that all the major recommendations made have been implemented.  Fire drill has been carefully organised and is practised regularly without warning.

     

    The Library

  1. 1.    The Library is housed in a large dignified room that adjoins the entrance hall and is available for private study at all times.  The collection of books, large for a school of this size and having Interesting and useful features, adequately supports most of the subjects of the curriculum and many out-of-school interests.  It includes a number of gifts from parents and a number of books on loan from the County Library.  Over 200 books were out on loan at the time of the inspection.  The library books have been systematically catalogued and shelved: but new purchases might be better displayed and, when money is available, the room might be beautified.  About £55 appears to have been spent on books during the past year; periodicals are supplied from a separate fund.  The Library is inthe general care of the senior English master who is able to leave control of the issue and return of books to senior pupils.   The library is extensively and responsibly used by the pupils.

     

    The Staff

  1. 1.    In addition to the two Principals, there are twelve full-time and six part-time assistant members of the teaching staff.  This would appear to be a generous ratio of staff to pupils yet, several members of the staff are undoubtedly hard pressed.  Not only do the pupils make heavy demands of the staff but many of the latter are noticeably unsparing in their efforts both inside and outside the form room.  All the full-time staff are qualified teachers and eight possess honours degrees: with few exceptions, they display commendable teaching ability.  They provide an effective blend of youth and experience.

     

  2. 2.    No attempt is made to describe the impressive part played by the Principals in this school except to record that their leadership is patiently unobtrusive, but none the less clearly evident.  Personal relationships between staff and pupils appear, in general, to be extremely good and very effective.  Although some members of the staff community naturally display particular awareness of the aims of the school, which are rarely expressed but constantly Implicit in school life, each displays a refreshingly individual attitude to his responsibilities within the school.  And the contributions made by members of staff cohere to a marked degree.

     

  3. 3.    There are four other members of the staff who have direct contact with the pupils.  The housekeeper is generally responsible for the domestic side.  There are housemothers for the junior and senior sides, both of whom appear to discharge their duties, in circumstances not always easy, with commendable efficiency.  One of the latter also acts as matron and it became evident as the inspection proceeded that her work inspires confidence.  While it was not possible to look closely at the work of the estate manager, a qualified engineer, in planning and supervising the pupils estate tasks, there were many indications that he is ina real sense a member of the teaching staff.

     

    Organisation, Curriculum and Standards of Work

  1. 1.    The school is organised in one junior and five senior forms below the sixth.  The presence of form IV, consisting of a small group of rather older and slower pupils who work with form III, is temporary and is merely a relic of the change from a four to a five-year course that will be completed when this form reaches the new form V in two years’ time.  Thirteen of the twenty pupils in the sixth form are likely to complete Advanced Courses, all of them working mainly along examination lines.  The form organisation appears to be working well: although numerical assessments of work are deprecated, there are monthly reports oneach pupil with reference to both attainment and effort.  There are signs that pupils are known well by all members of staff, and not, only by form masters and mistresses: and knowledge of the pupils seems to derive at least as much from activities outside the form room as from form work.

     

  2. 2.    There is no sharp line of demarcation between curricular and extra-curricular activities, and between work inside and outside assigned lesson periods.  This is particularly true of work in art, craft and music where the time-tables of members of staff concerned give no real indication of their commitments.  It is less true of the work in the more academic subjects although in these also the contact between staff and pupils frequently continues outside assigned hours of study.  About one fifth of the work is given In the form of assignments but, in some cases, it is not easy to differentiate between this form of work and set preparation of a normal type.  Before the staff generally found difficulty in maintaining standards of work with the weaker pupils, assignment work formed about one-third of the whole.  The staff believes in the value of individual work and is seeking ways and means of extending It.  If this cannot be done effectively with all, it might be done with the more able, and the older - particularly the pupils in the fifth and sixth forms.  The range of ability in some forms is so wide that it is not unnatural for members of staff to feel compelled to do more direct form teaching than is profitable for all the pupils: the compulsion might well be less, and the work more effective, if the older and more able pupils had rather more of their work organised in the form of assignments,

     

  3. 3.    The distinctive feature of the curriculum is the generous allocation of time to art, craft and music throughout the school.  In the absence of housecraft, and of set periods of needlework, the girls might benefit from the opportunity of being able to do more decorative and pattern work in fabrics.  At present the girls enter wholeheartedly into the wide range of art and craft work being done: a few also voluntarily form a needlework group.  The balance of the remainder of the curriculum is not unusual but, as Indicated in a later section, some reconsideration of the place of Latin in the school is necessary in view of existing performance.  There are few options and the courses taken by pupils in the sixth form are not determined in advance by previous work.  In the sixth form itself there is no strict division between the arts and the science sides.  In some cases, but by no means all, the way of working in the sixth form is less individual and enterprising than It might be although there are ample private study periods for the great majority of pupils.  In addition to Religious History, Music and some craft, pupils in the Sixth Form follow an enterprising general course in English, science and current affairs which includes written work in some parts but not in others.

     

  4. 4.    Strength and weakness in the various subjects are evident from the following subject reports.  It is clear, however, that standards of work have generally risen with the establishment of the sixth form.  In the circumstances of the size of the school, and of the nature of its entry, this is most creditable.

     

    THE JUNIOR FORM

  1. 1.    As the Froebel trained mistress in charge of the junior form was absent at the time of the Inspection, it is difficult to make a clear assessment of the work.  Temporary help Is being given by various teachers.  The range of age, ability and emotional maturity among children in this form is very wide and presents special problems of organisation and curriculum.  It is hoped that a return to the one class teacher may be made as soon as a permanent appointment is possible.  The curriculum then should include enough challenge for the able to work to the maximum of their ability while allowing the less mature children to get the individual help they need.  A successful effort has clearly been made from time to time to interest the children in their environment through expeditions and well-told stories, and there is a good deal of encouragement for the individual writing of stories, magazines, and compositions.

     

  2. 2.    The library available for these children has been exceptionally well chosen and contains books of high standard and very little that is trivial.  Most of the children are responsive and all are friendly but it would seem that many of them would respond to greater demands on their energies and intelligence.

     

    RELIGIOUS HISTORY

  1. 1.    The position of this subject remains much as it was at the time of the last inspection.  It is still taught by one of the Principals who continues to give careful thought to the detailed schemes which reflect her own conviction of the place of this subject in education, and the principles underlying the selection of topics to be Included in the course.  The schemes emphasise the history of the Jewish people, the life and teaching of Christ and, in the fifth and sixth forms, a consideration of the developments and significance of the Early Church.  All forms have one lesson each week and in almost all forms assignment work following the lesson requires written essays which reveal a good standard, both in factual detail and in thought provoked by the facts.  A thoughtful lesson was heard with the lower Sixth form dealing with the Early Christian martyrs which provoked many interesting questions on the nature and purpose of martyrdom.

     

  2. 2.    While the junior form at present has no specific course in scripture, the Principal is considering including some of the stories from the. New Testament which she considers appropriate to the age and ability of these children.

     

  3. 3.    Although the syllabus is restricted in general to the historical background of Christianity, the sincerity of the teaching, together with the atmosphere of the School which encourages independent thought and open discussion, do in fact give a valuable Introduction to the consideration of the Christian religion which is by no means as restricted to bare fact as the syllabus might imply.  There is good support for the subject in the Library, both in the main and in the junior sections.

     

    ENGLISH

  1. 1.    Many sides of school life contribute to the training.  For lessons a helpful, comprehensive syllabus is-in use.  Much of the language work is rightly based on passages of literature, and grammar and analysis do not exclude a sensitive study of poetry.  The brunt of the teaching is borne by the well qualified senior English master; he is at his best as a scholarly exponent of English to senior forms.  One of the Principals and a young Australian take most of the junior work.

     

  2. 2.    In a School where free speech is encouraged, classroom exchanges are lively, pertinent and clear.  Written work can be substantial; it is often fresh and varied also, but less often careful: indeed, handwriting, spelling and neatness are slow in reaching an acceptable standard.  Essays written by specialists in the sixth form show individuality but are sometimes deficient in relevance and form.  An interesting general studies lesson given to various sixth-formers suggested that systematic reading and composition might well form part of this course.

     

  3. 3.    Although English does not at present shine in the results of the external examination, it is liberally and carefully taught and arouses considerable interest in and out of school hours.

     

    HISTORY

  1. 1.    History is taught by a young graduate of Manchester University with three years' previous experience in another type of secondary school.  He is on very good terms with all his classes and the pupils are responsive and interested.  The syllabus, which follows the usual chronological outline, is perhaps over-weighted at present in favour of mediaeval economic history, but as this period is the master's own special interest his lessons come to life through his own knowledge of background detail which make for reality.  The candidates for the Ordinary level papers in history take the paper dealing with Social and Economic History of Britain which occupies the course in the fourth and fifth years.

     

  2. 2.    In a school such as this, where every encouragement is given to the pupils to interest themselves in world affairs, it would seem sensible to include more modern political history to give some back­ground to present-day problems.  This year three girls are embarking on the modern period beginning in 1648 in European/English history In preparation for the Advanced level papers.  Four other girls attend the classes but do not expect to stay beyond this academic year.  At all stages of the course the pupils are trained to read independently and when they are ready for it are given specific help in note-making.  The master has accumulated a well-chosen selection of a variety of textbooks for each stage of the course to which the pupils are constantly required to refer.  In spite of this training the sixth form still finds it difficult to cover the range of reading required for advanced work.  It might be well to use the first part of the sixth form course for some independent work which might both establish good habits of reading and also give a general background to the period.

     

  3. 3.    In all classes general discussion is encouraged and often reveals an appreciation of the relationship of past achievement to present problems which it is one of the chief aims of the present history master to encourage.  The subject department of the library gives good support and includes an interesting range of books, not only relating to the period studied but also covering contemporary problems of general interest.

     

    GEOGRAPHY

  1. 1.    The Geography department has suffered over the last few years from instability of staffing.  At present a Master with an Australian qualification is teaching the subject for this term only, as he leaves at the end of it.  The geography group in the fifth form working for the Ordinary level examination have a lesson twice a week from a qualified teacher of geography who is in full-time service elsewhere.  There is no sixth form course for Geography.

     

  2. 2.    The present syllabus, drawn up by the temporary Master, sensibly concentrates on regional geography with particular emphasis on Australia and New Zealand.  This seems reasonable as the Master is able to draw most successfully on his own first-hand experience and detailed knowledge of this area, and the lessons heard were vivid and absorbing.  Quite a reasonable amount of written work is done and reference is made to appropriate books and other illustrative material.  There is no geography room and little equipment for the teaching of the subject.

     

    FRENCH

  1. 1.    French is introduced in form 1 and normally taken by all pupils for five years.  A faster and a slower set are created by combining two forms; this grading and the smallness of teaching groups make the time-allowance adequate.  There are two French groups in the sixth form: one consists of three girls who are starting Advanced level work; the other takes French as a minor subject, mainly for reading.

     

  2. 2.    The young graduate who teaches the whole programme is a lively, well qualified specialist.  He has to a large extent devised his own course and makes excellent use of teaching aids.  French is enjoyed because it comes to life.  Magazines are provided and there is a small batch of stories for individual reading; Plays are attended and school parties have visited France.

     

  3. 3.    The present pupils, achievement hardly matches the quality of the teaching; perhaps too much help is given them for too long.  But the subject offers much promise.

     

    LATIN

  1. 1.    This subject is started in form 2, usually by the abler pupils only but this year by all, and is continued to Ordinary level.  An average of four lessons a week is given for four years.  Of the eight members of form Upper 5 now taking Latin, not all are likely to be entered for the external examination; a few members of the Sixth Form are also working at this stage.

     

  2. 2.    The three lower sets are taught by the History master and the top set by the senior English master.  Both teach systematically, but the pupils, achievements are at all stages mediocre.  The subject has not yet really established itself In the school; perhaps a later start with selected pupils would produce a better result.

     

    MATHEMATICS

  1. 1.    All the forms except the two lowest are taught by a graduate who came to the School in 1955.  He has a General degree In mathematics and physics and is a competent teacher, but he appears to be rather more aware of the difficulties in developing the subject than he is of existing achievements arising from his own considerable efforts.

     

  2. 2.    Attainment In the junior forms is, quite naturally, very uneven.  This is also true of form 1 where skill in manipulation is largely lacking, although some development of number and spatial sense is evident.  In general, more security in calculation with simple and easy quantities is urgently required at this stage.  The work in form II, in which there are some very able pupils, is developing well.  Forms III and IV, which are taught together, present a special problem; some of the pupils in this form appear to have limited ability and many need some initial success before their further efforts can be motivated.  A wide range of work, liberally interpreted, is attempted in forms Lower V and Upper V.  Creditable progress is clearly being made by most of the pupils who have acquired a good deal of skill of knowledge.  There is evidence, however, particularly in form Lower V, that the facts known and the skill acquired need to be consolidated rather more firmly.  Six pupils in Lower VI and one in Upper VI are preparing for an Advanced level examination.  Their work shows a good deal of promise and they should soon be ready to meet more critical demands both in the organisation and the execution of their written work.

     

  3. 3.    In general, the work is enterprising in scope and is proceeding along sound lines.  The Master in charge, who is hard pressed by his total teaching commitments, might well be assured and encouraged by existing achievement to renew his efforts with less hesitancy and more confidence.

     

    SCIENCE

  1. 1.    This subject is taught by three full-time members of staff, Including the Headmaster, an experienced and very able teacher, who leads the department.  He is assisted by a most promising young teacher of biology, and by the mathematics master.  In addition, an experienced and extremely competent head of the science department in a local grammar school gives invaluable part-time help with some of the advanced work.

     

  2. 2.    The two laboratories provide inadequate space for the wide range of work attempted.  Storage room is unduly restricted and, partly In consequence, the maintenance of equipment often leaves much to be desired.  There is even a danger that the respect for precise and critical thought, clearly evident in this department, might thereby be jeopardised.  The range and quality of work now being developed are outrunning physical resources.

     

  3. 3.    While the quality of work being done naturally varies considerably, in general, a very good standard is reached.  The attitude of pupils in the lower forms is excellent.  A spirit of enquiry is in many instances successfully fostered and pupils learn to view critically the evidence collected and the conclusions drawn from it.  Moreover, it is particularly encouraging to find a comparatively inexperienced teacher collaborating in this sort of work with such promise: although some of her work in the fifth forms is at the moment lacking a little in security and precision, it is suggested that a slight change in emphasis is all that is required to achieve the desired results.

     

  4. 4.    The basic course is one of general science but the more able pupils are encouraged to reach a standard in the three separate subjects on which sound sixth form work can be based.  Five pupils In their first year and three in their second are working confidently towards their Advanced level examination, while others include a serious scientific study in a more general course.

     

  5. 5.    Achievement in science is commendable in this School, particularly in view of its size.  And this achievement arises from an enterprising course, essentially practical in nature, in which pupils are stimulated to think for themselves.  The general attitude to the subject is very healthy and it is therefore the more heartening to find, in general, good results being achieved by any criterion.

     

    ART AND CRAFT

  1. 1.    The approach made to art, which consists mainly of a variety of pictorial work and pottery, is extremely vigorous and lively; and It Is obvious that an extremely keen interest is taken in this work by both art master and pupils.  The accommodation is by no means perfect but a workmanlike and enthusiastic atmosphere prevails in both workshops.

     

  2. 2.    Many of the drawings show keen observation and are of a good technical standard.  The paintings are strong and colourful and the pots are well made.  All this work is very individual and all the pupils work with real confidence and enjoyment.  An even greater emphasis on work from observation might help to make some of the work more sensitive, especially where colour is concerned; if more opportunities could be given for experimental, direct pattern designing, leading up to the craft of fabric printing, the pupils, decorative sense might be strengthened.  There is no doubt that work In art is making a very valuable contribution to the development of all the pupils, and credit must be given to the art Master for building up such a genuine interest and enthusiasm.

     

  3. 3.    The teaching in handicraft is shared between two young Masters who are also responsible for assisting in the maintenance of the premises.  Both woodwork and metalwork are taught in a large wooden hut which provides accommodation of a fair standard.  Power lathes for both wood and metal are available and the tools are kept in good order.

     

  4. 4.    All boys and girls do craft for one double period each week except in the sixth form where the subject is optional.  In the lesson seen the making of small pieces of furniture was being competently tackled; one or two older boys were working on individual metal gadgets for their own use.  Groups of pupils also participate in maintenance work throughout the school; they have also helped in ambitious constructional undertakings in the school grounds.  The work in craft is in the hands of capable men who have very good relationships with their pupils.

     

    MUSIC

  1. 1.    A young man and young woman, one virtually a beginner, have recently taken over from two experienced and capable teachers under whom a lively musical tradition, both choral and instrumental, has been established.  Music has been, and still remains, an important influence in the life of the school.  A group of senior pupils, with some excellent performances of major works to its credit, meets weekly for choral rehearsals.  It still contains some keen members, though membership is now smaller and aims are more modest.  There is another group of seven or eight instrumentalists, mainly woodwind players taught by a visiting teacher, whose individual standards of playing are unusually high.  Several other pupils learn the piano, and a few learn string instruments, under one or other of the resident staff.  Three pupils are working for Advanced level Music in the examination for the General Certificate of Education, and several more are attempting Ordinary level.

     

  2. 2.    The two new teachers are graduates in music and have a good deal to give both as instrumentalists and in general musical back­ground.  Yet musical activities, whether in class or out of school, are not at present flourishing in the way that the school has come to expect.  It seems likely that the necessary mutual confidence between teacher and pupil - not as easy to achieve here as in many schools - has yet to be established, though it is being earnestly sought with the sympathetic help of the Principals.  Some of the examination work is good and instrumental ensemble work is promising.  The latter would gain in breadth, and in sense of purpose, if music could be specially scored for the available instruments.

     

  3. 3.    There is a natural vitality in the pupils which would react favourably to vigorous musical leadership.  It sometimes finds expression in unconventional activities, such as the accompaniment by a “skiffle”, group of Sunday assembly.  From time to time the school enjoys recitals by distinguished visiting musicians.  Two such recitals have been given during the last twelve months.

     

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION

  1. 1.    Much that was said about physical education in the last report is still true.  The spacious grounds round the School offer many opportunities for physical activity.  The delightful open air swimming pool continues to be a great asset.  It is used for recreation, including early morning dips, and instructional periods.  The examinations of the Royal Life Saving Society are being taken successfully by some pupils.  The playing fields provide facilities for hockey, association football, cricket, athletics and tennis.  At present there are two grass tennis courts and a hard court is being constructed with the assistance of pupils and staff.  The pupils manage much of the organisation of their games themselves, with a resident master taking an interest and giving any help or advice required.  Matches are played with other schools and house matches occur between the two houses.  In addition, such activities as walking, cycling and rambling are encouraged and camping and climbing holidays are arranged.

     

  2. 2.    Indoors, space is very limited.  The Music room, used also as a hall, for drama and for dining, provides the only free space from which tables and chairs have to be removed before it can be used.  The boys use it only occasionally; the girls have most of their physical education lessons and voluntary ballet dancing in this room.  There is no apparatus and little small equipment.  It was pleasant to see ballroom dancing being well taught and enjoyed by boys and girls together.  Regular dances are a feature in the life of the School.

     

  3. 3.    Both the Master and the Mistress responsible for the work serve in a part-time capacity and cannot therefore have the same impact as a resident specialist physical educationist, who could contri­bute much to the physical welfare of the children.  The girls and boys are vigorous, strong and active, and most are well developed physically, obviously deriving great benefit from the opportunities of exercise outdoors.  Some of the formal work indoors is to a set pattern and not in keeping with methods used in other subjects.  Creative movement allowing more freedom for self-expression would be more suitable and more in keeping with the rest of their school life.

     

     

  4. 4.    At present the physical education attempted is a sensible compromise between all that can be obtained from the resources available.

     

    Catering and Meals

  1. 1.    The kitchen, vegetable scullery and store rooms are well placed on the south side of the building, but the five steps down from the main part of the school are a constant difficulty.  Although light and airy, the kitchen is not thoroughly cleaned and time should be found for all surfaces and shelves to be scrubbed regularly and frequently.  The store rooms are well kept and the actual cooking pans and metal serving dishes are well burnished.  In both the kitchen and the scullery the belfast sinks are in a shocking state and should be replaced: at the same time a hand basin in the main kitchen is needed to comply with hygiene regulations.  It is not desirable for water used for tea making to be boiled in the large vegetable boiling pan.  The supply of domestic hot water is excellent, and in view of conditions in the butler's pantry where the table washing up is done, this is fortunate.  The washing up, which is done by the children, is not adequately supervised.  The tea cloths in use are inadequate and insufficiently laundered.  Serving dishes, cutlery and table ware are all in good condition and are modern and suitable for heavy duty in schools.

     

           2. The household duties including table laying are performed with goodwill and vigour, but everywhere the minimum requirement is the standard, and side plates, saucers and butter knives are omitted.  The food is brought to the tables by monitors in the most casual manner and is served in an equally casual way - the finer points of social training are overlooked.

     

  1. 4.    Every care and much thought has gone into the planning of the menus.  The amount of meat and fish supplied per meal is generous; there is no limit to bread and butter and milk at morning and evenIng meal; fresh vegetables and fruit appear daily; cocoa is served at mid morning break; halibut oil pills, to be taken before the meal, are put on the table at dinner time, and eggs and cheese are all used adequately.  Great 'care is taken to cater for the children with special needs.  There are three types of vegetarians and separate food is prepared for 9, 3 or 2, as the case may be.  The only criticism to make is that perhaps more salads, to include apple, celery, nuts and raisins, might appear in the winter diet.  Care should be taken to avoid three "soft" types of food on any one day.  Bread baked as rusks, oatmeal crunch or biscuits could be added to the raw apple which is now given, and would provide some harder food to bite at.

     

    General Activities and Corporate Life

  1. 1.    The pupils of this School are extremely active.  They work hard at their domestic tasks, at their maintenance and construction estate duties and at their leisure pursuits, some of which develop naturally from the more formal school work and others burst spontaneously into being.  The art and handicraft rooms are rarely empty: Individual and group enterprises abound with a variation in their quality naturally resulting from the freedom of their growth.  All day long sounds of music mingle with noises from other activities.  Wennington is not a quiet place.  Clubs and societies abound: some start and stop, others thrive and last.  At the moment there are vigorous clubs concerned with railways and photography.  A new 'Wednesday Night, Club was inaugurated during the inspection and, undoubtedly, other activities existed unknown to the visitor.  The Wennington community is not naturally self-advertising.  Ambitious dramatic productions, the proceeds of which are directed to charities, are a feature of school life.  School journeys, camps and expeditions, some organised and others relatively spontaneous, occur frequently.  The part played by the staff in all these activities is not always clear: in some they initiate and lead, in others they help and support.  In many the pupils appear jealously to preserve their independence until the help of members of staff is required: but always there seems to be a consciousness that the staff are available when wanted.

  2. 2.    The normal school day is very long, starting as it does at 6.55 a.m. and finishing at about 8 p.m. for the youngest and 10.30 p.m. for the oldest.  Moreover, although over-organisation of indIviduals is avoided, the activity of the pupils when not working in forms or at domestic and estate tasks is such that a close Investigation would be likely to reveal some evidence of strain.  Some pupils on some days appear to be busily occupied all the time from rising until going to bed with the exception of slightly over an hour, and this time includes the siesta after lunch.  Although this is an extreme example which does not apply to any pupil every day or to all pupils on any day, it is suggested that consideration might be given to ways and means of ensuring that every pupil has and takes adequate opportunities for quiet and relaxed leisure.  The Principals, the Housemothers and the recently appointed House-master supervise the Boarders’ life with great care but with the minimum of organisation and few rules.  A good deal of school practise and government is initiated and supervised by eight senior pupils called Counsellors who have powers and authority delegated to them in some ways comparable to those exercised by the assistant staff.  In addition, there are Aides whose duties are mainly monitorial.  It was not possible during the inspection clearly to assess the exact measure of self government that exists: authoritarian control is kept to a minimum but it comes into operation when required.  An effective balance between the two appears to be maintained and the pupils learn to assume and exercise responsibility easily and freely.

     

  3. 3.    In appearance, the pupils are not impressive; some, including girls, are untidily dressed.  It is understood, however, and it is wholly credible, that they can rise to the occasion when desired.  In this school community, H.M. Inspectors would not be prepared to say what price might be worth paying to achieve an improved appearance generally.  The manners of some of the pupils, though not of all, are a little brusque and their behaviour sometimes tends to be boisterous and unrestrained.  They are, however, essentially courteous in the best sense.  Relationships with one another, with the staff and with visitors are natural, unforced and very friendly.  The whole community is friendly.  Their ways are vigorous, individualistic and sturdily independent but they show a marked self-respect and also a respect for others.  When left to their own devices they cope very well, exhibiting group, as well as individual, responsibility.  But In the background are adults freely accessible, when needed, to help, to organise and to encourage.  Perhaps the most marked Impression arises from glimpses of a surprising maturity, in some cases noted quite low down in the school.  This shews itself in a readiness to tolerate and respect the rights of others, and in the desire to serve.

     

  4. 4.    Little has been said, or indeed can adequately be said, about the influence of the Principals.  They have, without question, a high sense of purpose: they know precisely what they want but they have the patience, tolerance and shrewdness to work indirectly to realise their aims.  Their blend of affection for individuals, and of detached objectivity is so often mirrored in somany ways in the school community that their influence, indirect though it may largely be, is undoubted.  The tasks they have resolutely chosen to undertake, some of which constitute a considerable public service not commonly found elsewhere, are performed modestly and, it appears, with increasing success.  They share with their Governors the right to be proud of the achievement and promise so evident in their School.

     

Appendix 1

NUMBERS AND AGES OF PUPILS IN FORMS

 

 

 

 

 

                             Number of Pupils in the School whose ages on

 

 

 

 

 

 

             1st October, 1959, were:-

 

 

 

 

 

Form

Total

No. of

Pupils

Average

Age

Y.  M.

 

 

8

and

under

9

9

and

under

10

10

and

under

11

11

and

under

12

12

and

under

13

13

and

under

14

14

and

under

15

15

and

under

16

16

and

under

17

17

and

under

18

18

and

over

Juniors

10

10   4

B

 

1

1

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

5

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

I

7

11   6

B

 

-

-

-

2

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

II

16

12   7

B

 

-

-

-

-

7

1

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

-

-

5

3

-

-

-

-

-

III

14

13   9

B

 

-

-

-

-

-

6

1

 1

-

-

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

-

-

-

5

1

-

-

-

-

IV

5

14   6

B

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

3

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

-

-

-

-

L.V

22

15   2

B

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

5

11

1

-

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

4

 1

-

-

-

U.V

20

16   1

B

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 7

5

2

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 3

2

1

-

L.VI

16

16   4

B

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

6

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 1

6

2

-

U.VI

4

17   8

B

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

 

 

 

G

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

114

68

B

 

1

1

3

2

10

7

9

19

7

9

-

 

 

46

G

 

-

-

6

1

5

8

7

5

8

5

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total number

of Boarders

 

101

B

G

59

42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix II

(a) Details of school roll since 1954

 

 

Entrants

No. in

Sixth Form

Total Roll in

September

1954/55

36

13

107

1955/56

22

11

101

1956/57

34

13

109

1957/58

34

  7

107

1958/59

23

11

119

1959/60

15

20

114

 

 

 

 

(b) Ages at which pupils have left the school during the last three years

 

 

15 -16

years

16 -17

years

17 – 18

years

Over 18

years

1956/57

4

6

6

3

1957/58

2

1

4

3

1958/59

1

2

6

4

 

7

9

16

10

 

 

r/

(c) Subsequent occupations of leavers (where known) over last six years

 

 

Boys

Girls

Total

 

Universities

9

7

16

 

Secretarial

-

6

6

 

Training Colleges

2

3

5

 

Business and Trade

5

-

5

 

Nursing

-

5

5

 

Farming

4

1

5

 

Travel (casual occupation)

2

2

4

 

Engineering apprenticeships

3

-

3

 

Nursery Nursing

-

2

2

 

Occupational therapy

 

2

2

 

Laboratory Steward

1

-

1

 

Hotel Management

1

 

1

 

Police

1

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28

     28

56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)  Area of teaching accommodation

 

                                                                                        Area in sq. ft.

 

            1  hall                                                                          1127

            1  swimming bath (open air)                                    1400

            1  library                                                                       661

            8  classrooms            1 x 264

                                                1 x 314

                                                1 x 420

                                                1 x 435

                                                1 x 453

                                                1 x 464

                                                1 x 504

                                                1 x 555                                   3409

 

            5 practical rooms

                        Physical/chemistry

                        Laboratory                             714

                        Biology Laboratory               518

                        Art room                                 444

                        2 craft rooms                         670                 2346

                                                                                                8933

 

(e)       Total toilet facilities for day and boarding use

 

 

Water closets

And stalls

Washbasins

Baths

Showers

Juniors

3

4

2

-

Boys

7

8

2

2

Girls

5

6

2

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

18

6

5

 

Acquisition reference  PP-KCB-3/3/1/doc 02

 

 

 

 

 

 

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