One of the things about secondary school when I first attended was that, being run on something like public school lines, there was an unwritten rule that prefects could spank the girls in younger classes of years one and two, instead of giving 50 or 100 lines, which was the usual procedure. The prefects were in their last year at school, and were tall elegant girls who were only too keen to exert their authority. So, the chance of a smacked bum from an 18 year old hand was a real possibility.

Most prefects would just give a girl a smack or two on the bum, but the head girl was a bit more bossy. So, when my friend, Celia, and I were caught running down the corridor in a bid to be first at the tuckshop at break, the head girl stepped out in front of us and made us put our noses to the wall and our hands on our heads. We could sense the rest of the school going past looking at us, sniggering and knowing what was going to happen to the two little girls with noses to the wall!

Eventually, after what seemed an age, the head girl told us to come with her and led us into an empty classroom. She asked us if we knew the rule about running in the corridors and we both said yes.

“In that case,” she said, with an air of authority known only to bossy 18-year-old head girls, “you will both get four smacks on the bottom to teach you a lesson. Think yourself lucky it isn’t six.”

Four smacks rather than visiting the tuck shop! We didn’t feel lucky at all.

She sat on the chair used by the teachers.

“You first,” she said to Celia. “Bend over my knee.”

Celia, with a red face and tears in her eyes, bent over the head girl’s rather elegant knee with her pert bum pointing upwards.

“Right over!” said the irksome prefect as my friend wriggled into position with bum vertical. The head girl was really making a song and dance about punishing two girls running in the corridor. She obviously fancied herself as a teacher or a mum.

She raised her hand.

Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack!

The head girl was known as a pretty good athlete and she could certainly give a good smacked bum. Celia squealed as the smacks landed. When she got up, she had a red face and tears running down her cheeks as she rubbed her bottom.

“Now you!” said the merciless head girl, pointing to her knee.

I climbed over and wriggled myself in position with a perfect view of the floor. Even though the position was very familiar to me it did not get more pleasant with repetition. The anticipated pleasures of the tuck shop seemed light-years away.

Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack!

Oh boy! Even through a school skirt, it really stung! I yelped and squealed and got up rubbing my bum with a red face and tears in my eyes.

“Now, let that be a lesson to you,” said our officious tormenter. “No more running in the corridor. Now go out and enjoy your break,” she said.

Enjoy your break? As if we could when all the goodies in the tuck shop had been taken. All we were left were two rather sore bottoms and heavy hearts, thanks to the officious prefect who was obviously after making a point.

The best of it was, by the time we got to the fourth year and out of range of such things, the head officially banned prefects giving spankings. Apparently, there had been some questions from parents and the head, perhaps concerned about its legality, had responded with a blanket ban on prefects using corporal punishment.

But, although other generations of bottoms were spared, I’m afraid ours weren’t. Mind you, the prefects could still give a load of pesky lines which took hours, and as the effect of a smacked bottom only lasted a short time, we might have been better off anyway.