In RE (Religious Education), Mr R had a picture of the Queen on the wall. In his class, you could get a slippering for almost anything. You were called out in the lessons, told to bow to the queen and stay there until the two strokes of the slipper had been given, then back to your desk.
In English, the cane was given out by Mrs W. The cane was on the desk in the front of the class and you would be caned one or two strokes on the hand. Mr M, the maths master, a tall thin man, with a massive ginger beard, had a cane in his cupboard and you were called out and put over the desk and given a couple of strokes.
But for serious offences you would be given a blue slip, and you would be sent to the head of year for punishment. There, it would be a caning, normally 4 or 6 strokes depending on what the offence was. For offences, such as lying, cheating, fighting or other really serious offences, you were given a red/pink form. This meant you were to be caned by the deputy headmaster or headmistress. These forms had two times on them. 9:15 or 4:15. This meant you had to go to the Deputies’ office at that time.
You entered the office through a white door, which opened up into a long thin corridor. No chairs, just two doors at the other end. On the left was Mr C’s office and on the right was Mrs L’s. At these times during the day, there were usually a handful of pupils waiting in silence in the long white corridor. At the appointed time, either the left or right door would open and the deputy that was going to administer the punishment would appear and call each one in. Sometimes it would be 2 or 3 at a time or just the individual.
I received a red slip for not being authorised out of class during the day. If you wanted to go to the toilet or had an appointment, you needed to get a white form from your form teacher. I forgot to get one, so was caught outside the class by Mr C and given a slip for a 4:15 appointment that day.
At the correct time, I entered the long white room and waited in silence along with 4 or 5 other people. At 4:15, the door on the right opened and Mrs L stepped out. She called Rosemary, Debbie and Margaret to go inside. They walked into the room in silence. I moved up towards her door and waited my turn.
The door to her office was white, with a frosted glass frontage that filled about a third of the door. I could hear Mrs Longhorn reading the girls the riot act. They had been caught fighting in the street. It suddenly went quiet, then the familiar sounds of swish, crack, cry or scream could be heard. Each girl got 6 strokes and then the room went quiet. After a couple of minutes, the door opened and Mrs L called my name. I followed her in.
Mrs L was a woman in her late 50s, fairly plain looking. She wore a tartan skirt, yellow blouse and had long blond hair. Her office was filled with all sorts of paper and an old 1950s school desk in the corner; the type that opened with a lid at an angle.
“Well, my lad,” she said. “Walking around the school without permission, were we?” she continued. “Anything to say?” she asked.
I didn’t reply. What was the point.
“No, I thought not,” she said. “Well, we will have to see if I can get you to remember what a white slip is for.”
Next to the desk was a large vase with a variety of canes showing.
“Ok, get over the desk. Lean forward and reach for the bar and hold on.” She said, her voice now more serious.
I walked forward, took off my blazer and lent over the desk, with my bottom at the highest point of the angle.
“Right over,” came the voice from behind, as she pulled up my trousers so they were tight. “I need to ensure that you get the full experience,” she said.
She then was selecting a cane from the vase. She swished one, but that obviously wasn’t good enough. She put it back and took another.
“Yes,” she said. “This is the one for you, I think,” and she swished it a couple of times. “Well, my lad, whether you are ready or not, I will begin.”
With that, there was the sound of some footsteps, then a loud swish and the crack, as the cane whipped into my bottom.
“Yes, lad, 6 for you, I think. We cannot have you missing valuable lesson time, can we?” as the second stroke hit my backside.
After about 15 seconds, the next stroke was delivered. I moved forward slightly due to the force and let out a grunt, focusing on the pattern carpet below.
“Don’t move again, my lad, otherwise there will be 2 more. Do you understand?”
Before I had a chance to answer, the sound of the swish, crack and a hot poker being applied to my backside happened. The pain was beginning to get through.
“Nothing to say, lad? I hope this is teaching you that you need permission during the day.”
The fifth stroke landed, cutting across 3 of the previous ones. My backside was on fire.
“Go around the school and, if there was an emergency, we would not know where you where, would we?” as she unleashed the sixth and final stroke across my bottom. The caning was over. It was certainly a hard one.
“Now, I hope that we will not have you walking around without permission again. Otherwise, it will be more of the same,” she said. “Now, get up, blazer on and leave by that door over there,” as she pointed to a door on the side with the cane.
I got dressed and left by the side door as told. Walking was hard as my bottom was stinging. I rubbed it and could feel weals and, when I got home, they had turned a mauve colour, which were still present some days after the caning.