I only got into serious trouble once at school. A few minor things that resulted in lines or detentions but just once I got the slipper.

It all happened because I and a few others got drunk on a school trip. We had gone, during the final year, on a Geography field trip to North Yorkshire over the autumn term holiday at the end of October. On the Sunday night, after we had been wandering around the moors looking at various glacial deposits, some of us decided to have a party. There were six girls and six boys that met up in one of the bedrooms. The boys had brought bottles of spirits, which I think was mainly whisky, and the girls got some coke and lemonade.

After a while we were all a little tipsy, well I certainly was, and things began to break up. One couple who had been snogging for most of the night disappeared quietly, whilst others went off to bed. I was never sure of the time, but I think it was around 8pm. We were busted by one of the teachers doing her rounds. There were just three girls and two boys left in the room. We were immediately sent to our bedrooms, which in my case caused another problem. When I entered the room I was greeted the sight of two naked bodies in the bed. I slurred what had happened and the boy scrambled off the bed and proceeded to leave the room without putting on his clothes. He ran straight into a female teacher who had been summoned to check all the rooms for alcohol.

I cannot recall this but the rumour that went around after was that he was caught with just a smile and a condom hanging off his manhood. The boy concerned was sent home, his parents being summoned to fetch him that night. My roommate would have also been sent home that night but they were unable to contact her parents until late; she went home the next morning.

As you can imagine that was not the end of the matter. I half expected to be in trouble with my parents when I got home on the Wednesday, but they just asked if I had a nice time and complained about how mucky my clothes had gotten!

Upon the return to school on Monday, me and the others caught were made an example of in Assembly. The Headmaster told the school about our disgraceful behaviour and one by one he called out our names and we were made to stand up in front of the whole school before he ordered us all to wait outside his study. There were six girls and four boys. Two of the boys managed somehow to avoid being caught either in the room or when a check was made.

We got another lecture by the Headmaster, with the Senior Mistress standing by his side, before he announced that such appalling behaviour and sullying the name of the school warranted severe punishment. I feared the worst; that we were all going to be expelled. I was wrong. The cavorting couple were awarded six strokes of the cane, as were two the boys who had confessed to bringing the alcohol. The other boy got six of the slipper. The other five of us girls each had their name called out and were then awarded either six or four of the slipper. Luckily I did not have to wait until last to hear my fate. Unluckily though I was awarded six along with the other two found in the room. After we were told that Miss K would summon the girls and deal with them sometime during day, I left the study with tears in my eyes. I was not the only one either.

It was the longest day of my life, well it seemed that way anyway, before just after three the school secretary entered my English class. I was told to report to Miss K by the teacher. The tears returned as I followed her up the stairs and, after knocking, into the Senior Mistress’s office. She was very curt and said something along the lines of ‘no need for further discussions, just remove my blazer, face the window and bend right over’.

I vaguely remember shaking as I bent over and put my hands on my knees before Miss K pushed me further over. The six extremely painful whacks seemed to follow one after another quickly. The first caught me very unaware, in that the sheer force of it made me unbalanced, even though I knew it was coming. I did squeal at one point and tears rolled down my face and onto the carpet. My bottom burned and my legs were jelly by the time I was allowed to stand and face her. The shaking was worse, especially my legs, as she silently entered my name in the book on her desk.

There were no words said other than that I was dismissed and told to return to my class. In hindsight, I should have stopped at the bathroom on my way back but I was racked with pain and the fear that if I was caught I would get some more that I knocked on the classroom door and waited to be called in. I was told to take my seat quickly and I gingerly eased myself onto it. I think everyone was staring at me because the class was told to look at the blackboard and write something down.

This has been my guilty secret for over thirty years as I have never told my family about what happened that day.