A sixth form girl has to change to a new school and finds the standards rather different.
By Gillian Howard
Hi, my name is Angela Shaw and in 1966, as I was about to enter into the 6th form, my father got a very good job in the Glass Industry in the north of England and this meant that I had to leave my school and all my friends to move house and school.
I joined the 6th form of a mixed Grammar School with a reputation for excellent results both academically and sporting and seemed an ideal school for me. The only down side was that they still used corporal punishment on a regular basis. At my old school I was no angel and had served several detentions and been smacked on three occasions but never the slipper, ruler or cane and I had seen the marks on one girl’s hand after she had been caned. So it was with a little trepidation that I went with my parents for the interview when all the rules and punishments were explained and was also told that I would have to wear full school uniform at all times; Blue blazer and skirt white shirt blue and red tie and royal blue knickers and a sports kit of all red.
The first day arrived and as I dressed in my new uniform I put on my knickers which were bigger than the hotpants I had worn on holiday to Majorca. I arrived at school and found everybody very pleasant and easy to get on with, both the boys and girls.
In the first week in History, one of the boys was talking and Mrs Davies told him to come out to the front of the class and gave him a big lecture. She went to her cupboard and removed a cane about 3 ft in length and told him to bend over the front desk, which was just in front of mine, and gave him three hard strokes across his bottom and I could see the pain in his face.
At break time I was with four of my friends and they said that I had looked shocked at Alan’s caning and I said I had never seen a cane before, never mind seeing it used. I was told to get used to it as it was a regular occurrence, probably at least once a week if not more, and both boys and girls were caned in the same way unless by the Headmaster when a boy would drop his trousers and a girl would lift or remove her skirt. They added that some teachers used the slipper but most used the cane. If you are in detention it is always the cane and it is given for even the smallest indiscretion.
I soon discovered that what I had been told was correct and witnessed several canings, including two girls. At PE I saw the results of their canings with three parallel lines across their bottoms and they looked very painful indeed.
On the Wednesday before Half term I was going to meet some of the girls after school for a coffee and to make arrangements to meet up over half term. During the 2nd lesson in the afternoon, I needed to go to the toilet so asked permission. I was told, as I was still new, on this occasion I could but in future I would have to wait. So off I went.
On my way back I looked at my map of the school to make sure that I was going in the right direction. I had also taken my note out telling me about the meeting in the coffee shop and had just read it as I reached the classroom. I knocked and entered, and as I did so everyone stood and I turned to see the headmaster behind me. He told everybody to sit but that I was to remain at the front standing.
He then asked Mrs Davies where I had been and she told him, but then he said that I seemed more interested in reading schoolgirl notes than getting back to class. I tried to apologise and explain I had just looked at my map of the school and the note had come out with it, when he told me to be quiet and consider myself lucky that he was not taking me back to his office for him to cane me.
I thanked him and he turned to leave the room. As he went to close the door behind him he turned to Mrs Davies and said: “I will leave you to deal with her as you wish, Mrs Davies.”
I stood looking at Mrs Davies to see if she was going to go and get her cane from her cupboard, but instead she got a book out of her drawer, wrote on a piece of paper, and said: “Consider yourself a very lucky girl. You are in detention tomorrow after school rather than bending over to feel my cane.”
I thanked her and took the detention slip off her before sitting down.
I was really shaking for the rest of the afternoon and, when I arrived at the cafe and sat down having a drink, I said to the other girls: “I really thought that I was going to be caned and was so pleased to get a detention instead.”
Emma, one of my friends, said: “I think if I had been you I would have preferred the cane as in detention there is every chance that you will be caned anyway. This week Mr Abbott is due to be in charge and he has the reputation of being the hardest caner apart from the Headmaster. The majority of pupils in his detention class come out rubbing very sore bottoms. Do you remember two weeks ago when Sandra had a very sore and marked bottom in PE? Well, that caning was off Mr Abbott.”
They all agreed that as our last lesson on Thursday would be PE I should keep my red sports underwear on just in case I got caned as they were thicker.
I got home and told mum that I would be late home tomorrow as I was in detention. She passed comment on what we had been told at our interview about pupils in detention were more likely to be caned.
I said that i was hoping to avoid any punishments by doing everything that I was told immediately.
At school on Thursday, all the boys kept tormenting me about getting a sore bottom that afternoon but I tried to ignore them. As soon as PE finished I put my school skirt over my sports knickers, got dressed and rushed off to the detention class, getting there with seconds to spare. I had just put my hands on my head like everybody else when Mr Abbott walked around the corner followed by Alex Foster, a Boy from the upper sixth.
We were told to enter the room and to sit at a desk that had pen and paper on. We all stood at the side of a desk and Mr Abbott walked in and told us to sit. He then told us all to copy out ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. He warned us that any slacking, talking or other indiscretion would result in a very sore bottom.
“To show you all what I mean, can Foster come to the front of the class now?”
He was sat behind me and I heard him get out of his seat and walk to the front. Mr Abbott said: “Foster, you arrived at detention after me and that is therefore late. Touch your toes.”
He then went to the cupboard and took out a long and quite thick cane and proceeded to give him four of the hardest strokes I had ever seen. He was in tears at the end. He was then told to sit and we were all told if we do not want the same to start work now and not to stop till told to do so.
For the first 20 mins or so I could hear sobs from Alex. Somehow I managed to continue working without looking up or stopping, but six others including two girls felt the cane and everyone was crying as they returned to their seat.
Suddenly Mr Abbott told us all to stop writing. He called us out one by one to show him our work. One girl and two boys were told to stand in front of the blackboard but the others had their work taken off them, were given their detention slip back and told to leave.
As I was called out he looked at my work and then said: “Are you new to the school as I do not recognise you?”
I explained that I was and he said: “I found your work satisfactory but you should be ashamed of being in detention, especially since it is not even half term. As a reminder, you will bend over too.”
As I did so, I was shaking but instead of picking up his cane he pulled a slipper out of the desk drawer and gave me three hard slaps which really hurt and had me on the verge of tears. He then told me to go.
As I left the school gates, Lynne and Jenny were waiting. They asked how it had gone and I said: “I avoided the cane but at the end, as I was a new girl, he gave me three with the slipper which really hurt.”
They both said they knew he would, but didn’t want to frighten me. That was my last punishment of any kind until just before the summer holidays when we were getting changed for PE and talking about the school dance the following evening.
When the Gym Mistress, Miss Roberts, walked in and called four of us out and said: “Just because it’s the end of term does not mean discipline is forgotten. All of you, bend over.”
As we did so, she went to her office next door and returned with her cane. Jenny was at the end next to me and I sensed Miss Roberts next to her. I heard a loud swoosh and the cane landed across Jenny’s bottom, a small yeooow coming from her mouth. Two more followed, each followed by a loud scream. Jenny was then told to return to the changing bench.
I then felt the cane touch my bottom and knew that I was about to be caned. It left my bottom and I gritted my teeth. When I heard the swoosh and felt the cane connect, setting my bottom on fire, or so it seemed.
Before I could utter a sound, the second stroke landed and this doubled the pain as a scream came from my mouth. The third and final one came before I too was told to get up and return.
As I stood I could feel the elastic in my knickers rubbing on the marks on my bottom and all I wanted to do was to rub them, but knew I couldn’t.
After the other two had been caned, we were sent to the gym and continued the lesson in severe pain. As we were getting changed after Gym, I looked in the mirror and saw the three red raised lines across my bottom and could feel the ridges.
The last day of school and the dance went well. As we all said goodbye for the summer break we made arrangements to meet up and to spend time together over the holidays.
I got up on the saturday morning, had a quick bath and as I dried myself the evidence of my caning was still there. Even after I put on some briefs you could see the lines extending past the edges. I went downstairs for breakfast and could see mum and dad opening the mail and reading what I recognised was my school report.
They called me into the lounge after I finished my breakfast and told me they were very pleased with my report, my marks were excellent and all teachers said that I should have no problems with my exams next year. I felt really pleased.
Then Mum said did I know that my detention was marked on my report and I said no. She also asked why I had been slippered in detention, so I told her which, although not too happy with, she accepted it as parents did then.
Just as I was about to get up dad said: “What about you being caned on Thursday?”
I felt my self blushing and admitted that I had received three strokes across my bottom for talking on Thursday afternoon.
Mum came up behind me, lifted my skirt and said: “Yes, the marks are still there.”
They both told me to be more careful next year. I said I would but added that I had done well as most girls had been caned on several occasions and fifteen had been caned by the headmaster.
© Gillian Howard 2014