JACK Stedman, who has died aged 93, was headmaster of a psychiatric hospital in Oxford, an educational expert and union member.

Mr Stedman was a teacher in the city for more than 30 years and headmaster of the school at Park Hospital in Headington.

He became an expert in teaching children with epilepsy and visited schools around Europe, lecturing and speaking at conferences.

John Walpole Stedman, known as Jack, was born on October 31, 1924, in Lewes, Sussex, to parents Maud and Charlie Stedman, an agricultural engineer at the family firm Harper & Stedman.

He grew up in the town with his older brother Ron.

After leaving school he took a job in the local council’s surveying department but as soon as he was old enough joined the RAF in 1943.

He was sent to America to do his pilot’s training and served until he was demobbed in 1946.

It was around his time that he met Betty Collett – an Oxford girl who had joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and was an aircraft fitter at RAF Carew.

They were married in Oxford shortly after the war and lived with Mrs Stedman’s parents.

In 1949 he embarked on a career in teaching and underwent teacher training at Culham College.

The couple, living in New Marston, then had two children, Jane and George, over the next few years as Mr Stedman started teaching at a school in Barton.

The school was so challenging he nearly gave up his career before it had really started: he recalled one pupil missing school because she had swallowed a sixpence and the family ‘couldn’t afford to lose it’.

But his father-in-law Bill Collett, a deputy headteacher in Oxford, convinced him to see it through.

He moved around schools in Oxford, including Wood Farm School, before becoming headmaster at Park Hospital, a children’s psychiatric hospital in Headington.

Turnover was high and teaching the normal curriculum was impossible but Mr Stedman worked to get to know the pupils and help them settle and achieve at school.

Becoming an expert in teaching children with epilepsy, he travelled Europe visiting schools, lecturing and speaking at conferences.

He also wrote articles on the subject, including some in the Times Educational Supplement.

Outside the classroom he was a long-time member of the National Union of Teachers, holding various positions including secretary of the Oxfordshire division.

He was a life-long socialist, being at times a member of the Labour Party, which may have stemmed from the hardships his grandparents and father went through.

His widowed grandmother had collapsed of malnutrition because she didn’t have enough and came to live with the family.

She was then denied a pension and his father, having lost an eye in an accident, was off work for months without pay.

This contrasted with Mr Stedman’s later life and he was able to retire from Park Hospital at the beginning of the 1980s with a generous headmaster’s pension.

He continued to help the community, volunteering for a homeless charity and setting up a hostel.

In 1999 the couple moved to Beccles in Suffolk to be closer to their son George in his family.

After his wife died a few years ago he took on cooking and housekeeping and trained his mind through the Times crossword and Sudoku to stave off dementia, and continued to drive until last year.

He died on July 13 and predeceased by his wife Betty, brother Ron and daughter Jane, he is survived by his son George, four grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

His funeral will be at Waveney Memorial Park and Crematorium, Beccles, on July 30 at noon.