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School Punishment Book 1954 - 60
At this time most UK schools used corporal punishment (using the cane or slipper to beat children who misbehaved). Different Authorities in different areas had their own rules for this - the main 1950 regulations which applied in our area were:
  • The Headteacher held overall responsibility
  • Punishment should not be severe and should be used only as a last resort
  • Only the Head or authorized teachers should give the punishment
  • Punishment should only be given to boys with a cane on the hand
  • Girls could only be punished in exceptional circumstances (by female teachers)
  • Punishment should normally be given in private
  • The Headteacher had charge of the cane
  • Every case of punishment should be recorded in the school Punishment Book
  • The Punishment Book should be available for inspection by governors Local Authority representatives
  • Corporal punishment should be used only in rare cases with Infant children, and should be in the form of a smack to forearm or thigh
  • Persistent offenders should be referred to the Educational Psychologist


Below are some details from the Punishment Book over a school year (1954-55) to see the sorts of things children did which received corporal punishment. In the original book the names of the individuals are recorded, but they have been removed here:
 
8.10.545 boys Disobedience after caution2 on hand
11.10.546 boys Disobedience after caution2 on hand
11.10.544 boys Misbehaviour in hall1 on hand
20.10.541 boy Fighting1 on hand
21.10.542 boys8Going out of school in school time1 on hand
26.10.542 boys Hanging about in toilets after being sent home1 on hand
29.10.542 boys10Using yard apparatus on wrong day and tying ropes1 on each hand
18.11.543 boys Misbehaviour in dining room1 on each hand
22.11.543 boys8Chasing girls in toilets1 on each hand
30.11.545 boys8-10Throwing paper towels about in toilets1 on left hand
8.12.542 boys8Misbehaviour in toilets1 on hand
15.12.542 boys8Lighting matches - setting paper and twigs alight in playground1 on each hand
17.12.543 boys9Throwing mud into boy's eyes (reported by School Patrol)1 on each hand
21.1.551 boy11Walking on beams in classroom after school (reported by caretaker)1 on each hand
21.1.551 boy11In classroom after school1 on right hand
21.1.551 boy11Misbehaving in toilets and lying1 on each hand
21.1.551 boy10Misbehaving in toilets (reported by supervisor)1 on right hand
22.2.553 boys8-10Snowballing after being told not to do so (reported by Cook)1 on right hand
24.2.552 boys10-11Snowballing after being told not to do so1 on right hand
24.2.551 boy9Misbehaving in class1 on right hand
7.3.552 boys7-8Unruly behaviour in Prayers1 on right hand
7.3.551 boy8Fighting in classrooms1 on right hand
15.3.554 boys7-9Playing in girls toilets1 on right hand
16.3.552 boys9-10Fighting in road causing annoyance to residents and the Patrol1 on right hand
16.3.552 boys9-10Fighting in road causing annoyance to residents and the Patrol1 on each hand
24.3.551 boy9Misbehaviour in absence of teacher1 on each hand
24.3.552 boys8-9Misbehaviour in Hall1 on each hand
28.3.552 boys10Attacking another boy for no reason1 on right hand
6.5.557 boys10-11Bad behaviour in Yard1 on each hand
6.6.552 boys10-11Disobedience1 on right hand
10.6.553 boys9Playing in Infants School corridor after school hours1 on left hand
16.6.557 boys8-11Leaving School on Sports Afternoon without permission, found by Attendance Officer1 on each hand
21.6.552 boys9Irreverence in Assembly1 on each hand
29.6.554 boys10-11Tampering with a museum object sent to school on loan and for removing and losing parts of same1 on each hand
30.6.552 boys9Talking in Assembly1 on right hand
5.7.551 boy9Cutting desk with knife1 on right hand
6.7.553 boys9Inattention and misbehaviour in singing together1 on each hand
13.7.552 boys9-10Damaging trees1 on each hand


Other incidents detailed in the book (some occur several times with different children):
  • pushing girls over
  • trying to flood the toilets by turning on taps
  • going into the Infant School building
  • climbing in the toilets
  • using catapults in the toilets
  • scribbling on new desks
  • leading small boys into fighting
  • annoying Leader (?)
  • misbehaviour in Dining Room
  • biting another boy
  • defiance and spitting in a child's face
  • treading in new cement after being told to keep away
  • throwing pepper in another boy's eyes
  • constantly being reprimanded for carelessness in work
  • marking new desk with a coin
  • wasting time
  • noisy conduct in Hall
  • coming back into school after dismissal
  • throwing boots in toilet, smashing basin
  • misconduct in music lesson
  • using waterpistol
  • climbing wall and interfering with bird's nest
  • deliberate misconduct when being marshalled for morning worship
  • writing and passing on rude notes
  • manhandling a Y4 boy with intent to hurt
  • going in Infants' yard and climbing on Infants' apparatus
  • throwing plugs from washbasins at one another
  • fooling around in singing lesson
  • leaving class without permission
  • letting air out of tyres of car belonging to a teacher
  • noise in Infants corridor and rudeness to a teacher
  • playing in the toilets after many cautions
  • playing out of bounds and breaking window
  • going in the Infant toilets
  • using bad language
  • breaking school rules and entering classrooms at wrong times
  • on apparatus in yard on wrong day
  • teasing a Special Needs child
  • misconduct all day
  • going out of bounds and touching a workman's tools
  • misbehaving on lines
  • misbehaving at Prayers
  • wilfully damaging school books
  • leaving school at dinner hour without permission
  • turning tap of hosepipe in toilets
  • going into classroom in dinner hour without permission and throwing straws about
  • throwing all the children's coats and hats on the porch floor
  • spitting water in the toilets
  • kicking coal as a football - hurting a small child in doing so
  • fighting on yard apparatus on the wrong day and fighting after the whistle
  • losing temper and throwing rounders sticks at each other
  • breaking rule about litter, after warning
  • throwing ink onto classroom ceilings and walls
  • threatening children with metal dart on field
  • ill mannered at dinner and rude to teacher on duty
  • disobedience and going into the caretaker's store
Often the same children and sometimes their younger brothers keep reappearing in the book, though no girls were recorded.
Corporal punishment ended at Deanesfield in September 1960 when Mr Freeth took over as headteacher, and has not been used in the school since. It has now been made illegal by the European Court of Human Rights.
Judging by the numbers of cases involved it did not seem to make a great deal of difference in preventing misbehaviour - in fact some incidents seem much worse than the behaviour of our children today. However, it's interesting to see that some of the minor incidents - messing about when lining up, talking in assembly and so forth - remain just the same today!
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