Pontville Special School for Roman Catholic Children, Aughton, near Ormskirk, Lancashire
The Pontville Special School for Roman Catholic Children at Black Moss Lane, Aughton, near Ormskirk (not to be confused with the Ormskirk Union industrial schools) was opened in 1910 for the accommodation, education and training for what were then termed 'feeble minded' or 'mentally defective' children. On February 27th, 1911, the establishment was certified as a Special Industrial School, allowing it to receive children whom magistrates had committed to detention. The School was initially certified to accommodate 15 girls, aged from 8 upwards. It was run by the Roman Catholic Sisterhood of the Sacred Hearts. At the outset, there were three Sisters in residence and one lay helper.
An inspection at the end of 1911 noted that the premises at that time were not very suitable, but would suffice as a temporary measure. The school was being conducted in a private house, pending the erection of new buildings of modern design.
On April 1st, 1912, the School was re-certified as an establishment for boys, with its official capacity increased to 60 places on October 22nd, 1912, and to 68 places on December 4th, 1914. On July 14th, 1914, the accommodation was set at 98 places for boys and 15 for girls. This arrangement continued until June 2nd, 1927, when it again became an all-boys School with with 121 places.
The superintendent in 1920 was Sister M. Driscoll.
In 1933, the establishment became a Special Approved School, one of the new institutions introduced by the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act to replace the existing system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools. The School was certified for the reception of 121 'high-grade mentally deficient' boys. The superintendent was then Sister Teresa O'Donoghue.
By 1936, it had had been decided that Approved Schools should no longer be used for such children and Pontville resigned its Approved School certificate on September 29th, 1937, but continued operating as a Special School under the management of the Liverpool Diocese. Today, Pontville School is a co-educational, independent specialist day and residential school, providing high quality education and care for children with a variety of speech, language and social communication difficulties,
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. Has a few reports and other files.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Mahood, Linda Policing Gender, Class and Family: Britain, 1850-1940 (1995, Univeristy of Alberta Press)
- Prahms, Wendy Newcastle Ragged and Industrial School (2006, The History Press)
- Pontville School
- None noted at present.
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