I attended a small fee-paying primary school in the early 1970s. All the teachers were older women. For a 7 or 8 year old that, of course, meant anything over 35! The headmistress, Mrs Ashcroft, was the only one who was allowed to cane, but I am not sure it was ever used. Certainly, no one ever owned up to having received it. She did employ, as most teachers of this era did, a slipper when the need was there, but generally she was a hand spanker. Her favoured position was the child bending over the back of a small chair with her hands gripping the sides of the seat and their skirts pulled up. We were allowed to wear thick tights in winter and these were left in place for punishment, so there was at least some protection.
Some teachers also had a slipper, but others preferred the theatre of a child having to retrieve their own plimsole from their PE bag and take it out to be spanked with. Luckily I have very small feet so the slipper was not that painful. One girl, Sally, had size 6 feet by the age of nine, and as she did not behave well so was whacked with her own slipper on several occasions.
One of my class teachers, Mrs Hutchinson, once spanked half the class, one after the other, for making too much noise. Why my half was spared I did not know, but I did not complain. Fourteen 9 and 10-year-olds had to line up one behind the other to the side of Mrs Hutchinson. She called the first girl forward who had to bend over her knee and was spanked, skirt up. As this occurred in the middle of the summer term, there were no tights to deaden the effect and the spanking was applied onto just thin cotton pants. Six spanks later, and many tears, she was allowed up and the next girl took her place. Then the next took her turn, and so on.
Three girls were crying before their spankings had even begun. I remember the very last girl, Sarah, said something under her breath as she bent across Mrs Hutchinson’s chubby lap. I didn’t catch what she said, but she not only got 6 with the hand, she also got 4 with the slipper as well. I think she learned a lesson that day, that is for sure! My side of the class felt very lucky not to have been in the same boat as we were making quite a bit of noise as well, but we had stopped, just, and Mrs Hutchinson felt she had heard enough.
I was only punished by Mrs Ashcroft on two occasions in her office, but I did get smacked legs once in the corridor as well. That echoes like gun-fire! The first was for taking back to my class teacher, Mrs Briggs, when I was 8, and the second was for the same to Mrs Hutchinson. In both cases, I had to take a handwritten note which obviously I read before knocking on the headmistress’s door.
The notes basically said, ‘Please spank Samantha for me. She has been rude and answering me back.’
Obviously, the teacher could easily have dealt with me herself, but it was all about the drama and shock of going to the headmistress for the spanking. Her office had dark wood panelling and there was a small thin whippy cane hanging from a hook.
All in all, primary school was a very happy experience with just the odd hour of having a sore bottom. Spankings were daily in most classes but usually just a quick slap across the bottom or back of the legs. Once or twice a week, someone would find themselves across the teacher’s lap for one thing or another.
Senior school was very different, as I was to find out in later years.