During the early 1970s I attended a middle school in Sheffield. Whilst corporal punishment was not an everyday occurrence, it was not unusual for the odd leg or bottom to be slapped from time to time.

One afternoon near the end of the summer term, Mrs S was having a stressful day. It was the class trip to the zoo the following day and people were genuinely excited. However, despite several requests, then demands, for order, two to three people kept up the talking and disruption to her maths lesson.

Finally, Mrs S had had enough. Normally a fairly quietly spoken woman of about 5 feet 6 inches, she rose to her full height, glared towards the back of the class and bellowed like we had never heard before.

“Katherine T, you have been told four times now to be quiet and work. Everyone else has finally got the message. What makes you so special that you can ignore this?”

Silence ensued.

“Well? I am waiting, Katherine,” Mrs S continued.

“Sorry Miss, I’ll be quiet.”

“Sorry, Katherine,” Mrs S replied. “It is far too late for that.”

With that, she did something none of us had seen before. She told Katherine to come to the front of the class and to bring one of her slippers from her PE kit bag with her.

Katherine was horror struck. She had been slapped on the bottom and legs a couple of times for answering back before, but this was new territory for her and the rest of us.

“Come on, I am waiting!” shouted Mrs S.

Slowly Katherine took out the slipper and, with tears already streaming down her cheeks, took the walk of shame to the front of the class. Mrs S had brought her chair around to the front of the desk and sat on it as Katherine approached. Smoothing her knee-length red skirt, she sat in anticipation of what was to come.

“I’m not sure why you are crying now; we haven’t started yet!” chipped in Mrs S, who was bright red in the face with anger.

Mrs S took the slipper and put it on the desk behind her, held Katherine’s wrist and slowly pulled the reluctant 9-year-old across her slender knees. The class was silent and almost everyone held their collective breath. Mrs S held Katherine down by the waist-band of her skirt and, without hesitation, started slowly to spank her bottom with her small but firm hand. The slaps echoed around the Victorian-built classroom. Slap, slap, slap.

After what seemed like an age, but in reality was probably only 15 seconds, Mrs S did the unthinkable. She flipped Katherine’s skirt up over her waist and continued to spank her on her white knickers for another 15 seconds or so. We had a good view from my side of the room and Katherine’s bottom was already a deep pink colour.

Mrs S seemed to be enjoying the attention, and slowly reached behind her for the slipper she had placed on the desk a few moments earlier. Katherine was sobbing hard by now, but this didn’t put Mrs S off her stroke at all. Six thwacks of the small slipper, Mrs S finished the spanking.

“Now stand up, pick up your slipper and go back to your desk. One sound out you for the rest of today, young lady, and you will get the same again, and you’ll  not be coming on the zoo trip tomorrow, you will be coming here and sitting in with another class. You have been warned!”

We couldn’t believe what we had just witnessed, and everyone was talking of little else on the way home or on the coach the following day. Katherine did come with us, but the look of embarrassment on her face all day as people continued to point and joke meant the teachers had a much quieter day than they had expected.