My first school memories of CP were at Primary school, where the cane and slipper were in use for children between 8 and 11, as under 8 was deemed too young.
Such occurrences were rare, although I did witness several boys being slippered in front of class, and the headmaster caned a boy once but he seemed to have high blood pressure and a ruddy complexion, and died, I recall, in my last year from a heart attack.
However one hot summer term day in my last year, a group of children were putting up the end of term display for parents evening at lunchtime. The teacher then said he wanted to try out a new slipper, and asked for volunteers. Being keen to please we all volunteered, and bent over for one stroke of the slipper over trousers or skirts.
I then moved on to grammar school. Unfortunately there was a lot of debate about grammar schools back then, and I got transferred to a boys’ secondary modern school instead, under the quota system.
The school I attended had a notorious caning record; the 7th highest in the entire country for use of the cane. I didn’t have a waiver so I spent most of my time trying to avoid it. I did so successfully for about 5 years, but then when I least expected it I found myself in the headmaster’s study touching my toes with a cane across my backside. However that occurred purely by chance and it wasn’t what it seemed.
I was summoned to see the headmaster on a number of occasions, fearing the worst, and walked up the stairs and to his secretary’s office and was told to wait. I was then ushered in to meet the headmaster.
I was bullied twice, so he got to know of me as the bully boys were taken away and thrashed by the deputy head.
He was in a good mood mostly, fortunately, as I had done better than expected in a French test and an English exam, and won a writing competition with other schools and picked up 3 credits, which was a big deal then. He also congratulated me on very good performances in sports and other subjects as one of the most improved students that year.
I couldn’t help noticing 3 canes on his desk, though, on one occasion, with wrapping that had just arrived in the post. I was just about to leave when he said:
“Oh, just one more thing. I had these delivered this morning and need to try them out. Do you mind if I give you a test stroke with each of these across your backside, and you can let me know how they feel?”
I said: “Yes sir, of course.”
So he told me to touch my toes, and tapped my backside with the senior cane, then gave me a stroke which I said was very tingly. He picked up the medium cane and gave me a further stroke, which I said was a bit tingly. This didn’t seem too bad after all. Then he picked up a junior cane and it was very flexible indeed. He lined it up across my backside, and gave me a very firm swish with it.
“Aaargh!” I said. “That really stings.”
He apologised and said it was harder than intended. He said he will keep that one for the bully boys, and thanked me again.
So I left and went down to lunch and sat on a wooden bench, but my backside was stinging like mad all through lunch. After lunch was finished I went to the toilets, dropped my trousers and pants, and saw 3 stripes across my backside, one of them bright red, and they lasted all day.
During secondary school, don’t ask how I dodged the cane so many times by talking through assembly, but I didn’t dodge the slipper though.
On one occasion, a maths class had to cover their textbooks for the next week. Of course only one or two did, so the teacher slippered the entire class.
Forgetting games kit was a frequent cause for a slippering and doing games or PE in underpants, which was embarrassing.
On one occasion in the third year, I was in a Spanish class with a supply teacher who spoke very poor English, and the class rapidly got bored and restless. After the class, I chatted with another student saying he was a bad teacher, but the head of year overheard. He was a Yorkshireman and very keen on CP.
So half way through lunch I was summoned to his classroom and lectured that you don’t slag off teachers. I was then bent over a desk and given a thrashing with the slipper as he was visibly annoyed with me. I returned to the dinner table, but again couldn’t sit down for about half an hour, as my backside was on fire.
Soon after I was late for church with my family and ran past and completely ignored him in the street, for which I got another lecture and one stroke of the slipper that time.
Perhaps the best story was provided by my aunt, who was then a girl at the nearby county school. I was passing her school one day when I bumped into her.
She said: “Have you heard the big news?”
I said: “What news?”
Well, five girls last week left school early on Friday and basically got drunk and went on a rampage through the town, causing damage to shops, stealing, and smoking. They were arrested, and the school was contacted as the police wanted to press charges. The headmistress agreed to discipline the girls, if the police would drop the charges. However there was still the cost of damage to be made good by the school and parents. To add to the shame, it was all over the local papers the following week.
The headmistress was fuming, and at the assembly on the following Monday read the riot act to the whole school, and said that sort of behaviour was completely unacceptable.
She read out 5 names and said: “In my office, NOW!”
The five girls were given an ‘in your face’ lecture on unladylike behaviour and bringing the school into disrepute; and then all five were stripped below the waist, lined up and bent over her desk in a row, and given a bare bottom hiding with the cane.
I met up with old school friends recently, and we swapped notes about school discipline.
Tim mentioned he was in a maths class when he was caught talking out of turn. He had to come up the front and bend over whilst the ex-RAF teacher drew a chalk circle on his backside and then slippered him.
Two of our wives went to convent schools and the boys asked if they were really as bad as they made out. Amanda said she got told to go outside and say three Hail Marys for misbehaving, but doesn’t recall being physically punished.
Karen said she was never really in trouble, but some girls did get the strap from the nuns for smoking and they were fearsome.