Year 6 pupils at Shaw’s Brook Field Primary School had an exciting opportunity to put questions to the current Dr Barnado, descendant of the original charity founder, in an interview that was broadcast on Swindon 105.5 as part of a cross-curricular project about life in Victorian times.
Teacher Jon Stowe said, “the topic spanned history, music and literacy, as the pupils have been studying Street Child by Berlie Doherty, which is about how meeting children in poverty inspired the original Dr Barnado to start his charity.
“Shirley Ludford of 105.5 came up with the idea of producing a radio programme based on the children’s work, so they learned how to put a show together for the airwaves as well. Shirley had interviewed Dr Barnado previously, so was able to re-establish contact and invite him to become involved.”
Pupils Leah Theobold and Rory Horsington interviewed the current Dr Barnado in front of all the other children. Liah said, “we’ve been learning about the great work done by Dr Barnado which was so important because children were treated so badly.”
Rory added, “it was very exciting to interview somebody so famous. It’s shocking to know about the conditions that children lived in 150 years ago. We’re so fortunate that children are cared for and protected nowadays.”
Dr Barnado is a retired consultant physician and former chair of Barnado’s who now visits schools and groups to talk about the work of his ancestor. He said, “it’s really impressive how deeply Brook Field has studied the work of Dr Barnado and the conditions of the time.”
“I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to talk about Dr Barnado, not least because people don’t entirely appreciate the diversity of his work. For his time he was a revolutionary with enormous courage to withstand the pressure forced on him by the church and politicians. But his strong views and principles are reflected in the way children are treasured now.”
Jon Stowe added, “as well as being academically significant this project has encouraged children to work in different teams across friendship groups. It’s was an important experience as they prepare to make the transition to secondary school.”
Dr Barnado, centre, with Brook Field children holding Victorian artifacts
and Jon Stowe and Shirley Ludford