I attended a primary school in the south of England between 1959 and 1963. It was a strict school and the cane was used regularly. During my four years there I felt the cane on three occasions and the ruler four times. My first time was with a wooden 12 inch ruler and I got one whack on each hand for misbehaving from my class teacher, Mr R. This was in my first year.

In the second year I moved into a class taught by Mrs H. She gave me one whack with her wooden ruler on each hand on two occasions. It got worse in the third year. My teacher was Miss P, a spinster in her 50s. She gave me three whacks on my left hand with her long ruler for misbehaving. This was about 2 feet long and 1 inch wide.

But I also got my first caning that year. I was shouting in class and got sent to the headmistress. Mrs S was a tall lady in her 40s who patrolled the corridors during lessons. She heard me shouting and came into our class. She spoke to Miss P and then summoned me to follow her. We entered her office and she gave me a lecture before pulling out a book. I watched as she wrote my name in it. Then she stood up and took a straight handled cane from a shelf. I was ordered to hold out my left hand and she gave me three strokes. I was then dismissed.

It got worse in my last year there. My class teacher was Mr C. This was unusual because most teachers were ladies. I got caught running in the corridor one day and was sent to the headmistress. She wrote my name in the book before giving me two strokes on each hand. Boy did that hurt! When I was dismissed I was warned that my next caning would be harder.

I tried to avoid any more visits to her but I got caught playing football in one of the classrooms during lunch. This was obviously not allowed but also the classrooms were out of bounds unless it was raining. Another visit to Mrs S followed. I got a lecture before the inevitable caning. To my horror Mrs S used a longer and thicker cane this time. I got three strokes on each hand. As she put it, three for playing football and three for being in the classroom without permission. I had never felt so much pain and my hands were very swollen and red afterwards.

Luckily this was my last caning from her. I left at the end of the year and went to a strict grammar school. I would like to say things improved but sadly they didn’t. I got the cane 18 times there in five years. I have written about some of them already. So counting my primary school canings I was caned 21 times in 9 years and a total of 109 strokes. Not a record to be proud of!

PLa