PETT has learned of a bequest of £20,000, and the gift of his books related to working with children, from Frederick William Marchant Garner, known to Maureen and Craig of the PETT team as "Bill".
Bill Garner was born in1920. Prior to the Second World War he was a young clerk in the Gas Light and Coke Company, the forerunnner of British Gas plc. In the Army from 1940-1945 he discovered a genius for teaching other solders, and after the War found that he had special skills in working with "maladjusted" children, and children others found difficult to teach. He became a Quaker, and he knew of, met and was ultimately inspired by David Wills. But the "crown of my whole teaching life", as he called his work with the 'C' stream of an 'ordinary city school', Ivydale School, in Peckham, was very much his own invention. Here, over many years, he developed and proved the success of an inclusive/engaging/participating/non-punitive approach to remedial work and to teaching the children regularly sent into the lowest stream of an urban school. The kind of work David Wills and others did in large houses in the countryside as part of supportive teams, Mr. Garner did in a city school, with the approval and support of his headteachers.
It was through his interest in David Wills and in following up his own work that Mr. Garner found the P.E.T.T. - that, and a friend connected to the Internet. Having met over the phone, PETT archivist Craig Fees posted a copy of Maurice Bridgeland's "Pioneer Work With Maladjusted Children" to Mr. Garner. Then, over a period of three years, from 2006 to 2009, Craig recorded a series of 24 telephone interviews with Mr. Garner about his life, and especially about his work with the C stream at Ivydale School. A 25th interview was recorded by one of our volunteers, a young person who had been in special education himself.
PETT Secretary Maureen Ward transcribed a paper Mr. Garner wrote for us, which we hope to get permission upload to the website, along with selections from his recordings - watch this space. He had a warm voice and a special sense of humour, with an unshakeable aplomb, and a delight in teaching. If any children he taught read this, please get in touch: What do you remember?