The Barnardo Story

The Barnardo Rule Book

In 1944, as an adjunct to its recently established training programme, a confidential staff handbook was produced providing detailed directions on every aspect of life in the homes. The "Barnardo Book" included sections on such matters as the daily routine, health, maintenance of discipline, and sex education. Here is an illustrative extract from the book:

Housework. While the training of children from a comparatively early age to be useful about the house is helpful to their normal development, care must be taken to see that no child is given work beyond his or her capacity or which cannot be done properly in the time allowed.

Meals. All children must be in to grace at every meal. Punctuality should be insisted upon, and lateness must be explained by a genuine excuse.

Discipline in the Dining Room. Supervising meals is not easy, complete silence is not desirable and savours of "Institution" rather than "Home." Yet in a large dining hall talking often produces so much noise that something has to be done about it. The great thing is to get what you want, and if on occasion it is necessary to demand silence for a short period, then have it.

Table Manners. If children are to grow up with good manners, meals must play an important part. The use of table cutlery, the way children sit and how they eat, form an important part of their training. Superintendents should see that the table looks attractive, with clean cloths or mats, and that the table equipment is complete. Children should also be taught to look after each other's wants.

Leaving for School. The duty of seeing that children start punctually for school and are properly dressed should be assigned to a member of staff.

On Return from School. Outdoor things should be put away tidily and clothes inspected. A watch should be kept for late comers. After changing into play-clothes, all children should clean their boots or shoes.

Quiet Room. It is most desirable to provide an opportunity for any children who want it to have the use of a small quiet room.

Evening Routine. After play, the younger children should bath first, and then other juniors. Seniors later. Children with work to do should complete this first and then bath. Surgical dressings should then receive attention. After the younger children have gone to bed, seniors should go into the play room for recreation. Tooth powder must be available and staff must see that children clean their teeth.

Before Bed. All children should develop the habit of going to the lavatory before getting into bed.

Discipline in the Dormitories. Talking should be subdued until "Lights out." After that, complete silence should reign. Offenders, or offending dormitories, should be penalised, as, for instance, by being sent to bed early the following night.

Enuresis Cases. Staff in charge of dormitories must see that these children are sent to the lavatory at 10 p.m. This applies to persistent cases mainly, but those apt to have an accident should also go. Where the lavatory is some distance from the dormitory, a chamber or night commode should be provided where it is easily accessible.

Parents and relatives may visit children. The Homes reserve the right to limit these visits to once a quarter. The first visit must in every case have been approved from Headquarters; no reference need be made to Headquarters for subsequent visits unless instructions to the contrary have been given. Children are not allowed to spend a night away from their Home except by permission of Headquarters. Summer holidays are encouraged on the invitation of a parent or relative, who will be expected to pay the necessary railway fare. Permission for the first visit to parents or relatives must be obtained from Headquarters. Such permission is not necessary for a subsequent annual holiday with the same people if at the same address. The case of a child who for a period of twelve months has not gone away for a holiday should be placed before Headquarters for special consideration.

A register should be kept of all letters to and from the children in the Home. The letters children write, as well as the letters they receive, should be read by the Superintendent or an official deputed by him before despatch or delivery. Any letters likely to have an unsettling effect upon a child should be referred to Headquarters before being handed to the child. Children may receive any number of letters and should be encouraged to write in reply. We cannot undertake to make children write more than once a month, but stamps will be provided for one letter a week. Gifts should always be acknowledged promptly. Children with brothers and sisters in the Homes are to be encouraged to write to them, particularly on birthdays.

Pocket money is allowed to boys and girls after their fifth birthday.