I went to an all boys grammar school in the 1960s where the equivalent girls grammar school was the other end of both our playing fields, if you see what I mean. It was very rare for girls to come to our school and only for specialist lessons and just about unheard of for boys to go to the girls’ school.


On one occasion, though, I was in private study with about eighty other boys and six or seven girls which took place in the dining hall we called the refectory. There were two of our teachers and one of theirs who, perhaps unwisely, all left the room together having issued the usual warning for us all to keep quiet, stay in our seats and behave, etc, etc.


When these teachers returned there was general mayhem as you’d expect and they asked for anyone who was talking or out of their seat to stand up. They prompted a few because they’d seen them and with those who owned up they netted about twenty boys and three girls.


One of our teachers left the refectory and came back with three slippers. The boys were split into two lines and each of our teachers took a line and administered three whacks to each boy in his line. That was about what we were expecting, but much to our surprise the teacher from the girls school did exactly the same with the three girls.


It must have been the summer term because the girls were wearing thin cotton dresses rather than the navy blue skirts and white blouses they wore for the other terms. I was even more intrigued when one girl seemed to assist with her own slippering by pulling her loose fitting dress tightly around her bottom when she bent over.