I went to two Comprehensive Schools, the first one was in Denmark Hill, London. I was there for 2 years until my family moved and then I went to another Comprehensive in Abbey Wood, London for the remainder of my school life.

The first was a large all boys school and I cannot in all honesty say that I liked the school. It was too big and there was a lot of bulling, although not much for me, thank goodness. Discipline was reasonably strict and boys would be often sent to the deputy headmaster but not always caned, as in my case in the only time I was sent to him. I just got a warning.

I cannot remember the names of the teachers in the first Comprehensive school whereas I do in my primary school and my last school. I also only had 2 experiences with corporal punishment at this school and only one involving me. Both were in English classes, the first in the first year, year 7 as it is now. The teacher, I will call him Mr B told the class to stop talking because we were a bit loud, but Neil carried on talking.

Mr B said to Neil, “Did you hear me just say to stop talking?”

“Yes sir,” Neil said.

“You did hear?” Mr B confirmed.

“Yes sir,” said Neil.

“Come out here and bend over,” Mr B told him.

Neil went out the front and bent over. Mr B got a slipper and stood behind him. He leaned back and brought this slipper down on Neil’s bottom with considerable force from a distance of around 2 metres and it made a very loud smacking sound. He did this 4 times and Neil surprised me by not making any sound. When Mr B was finished Neil hobbled back to his seat and did look a bit in distress.

The second punishment that involved myself was in the second year (year 8) in English again, but with a different teacher, say Mr C. Someone in the class threw a paper aircraft while Mr C had his back to the class and Mr C of course didn’t like it.

While he was telling us off he looked at me and said, “Do you think it is funny boy?”

“No sir,” I replied.

“Then why are you smiling?” Mr C said.

“I’m not sir,” I said.

“You are. Come out here,” he said.

I got out in front of the class and again denied I was smiling. He picked up a slipper and said, “Bend over. I going to give you one stroke for smiling and one stroke for lying.”

Where upon I bent over and silently thanked whoever had thrown the plane!

Whack! Ouch, not too bad.

Whack! Swift intake of breath, glad it is only 2.

I then went back to my seat and sat down. The sting lasted about 1 to 2 hours. I did not smile and I felt very aggrieved at this punishment as I was innocent. I did think about the incident afterwards and I realised what had happened. I was sitting at my desk with my right arm on the table and my head resting in my hand and my hand must have pushed the corners of my mouth upwards to look like I was smiling. Either that or he just picked me to vent his displeasure on.

PN