An unlucky chance gets a senior girl into trouble.
By Gillian Howard
My name is Claire Reed and I attended a Girls Grammar school in the 1960s in northern England. I was brought up by my mother since age 11 when my father had been killed in a works accident. We had become very good friends and she was someone I could talk to about anything and everything.
At school I had always been very bright and well behaved and apart from when I was in junior school, when I had my legs smacked because somebody copied my test and we were both blamed, I had never been in trouble at school. In fact when I moved up to the Grammar school and we were told that we could get detentions or the slipper off any teacher or the slipper and the cane over our knickers off the Headmaster, all of these terrified me, and I had vowed never to get into any trouble.
This I had achieved and when we reached the Upper sixth we had a special assembly on the first day of term with the Headmaster. He told us that we were the best behaved year of pupils that he had ever taught as out of the 48 girls that had continued to the upper sixth only ten had visited his study for discipline purposes.
At this assembly he read out the names of 12 girls and asked them to come onto the stage. He then told them that they had been selected to be prefects for the coming year. I was very disappointed not to be in this group as they were presented with their badges and told what their duties entailed; mainly supervising classes and the dining hall and keeping a general control of behaviour. All issues of bad behaviour had to be reported to a teacher.
They had to keep a check that girls wore the correct uniform at all times. This was a maroon blazer with yellow piping, maroon skirt and white shirt. If a bra was worn it had to be plain white and maroon knickers which came to waist level and fit around top of thighs, and I thought were a snug fit, and plain white shirt with a maroon and yellow striped tie.
After the headmaster had given out the prefect badges he then announced that the Head girl would be Susan Greenough and her deputy was to be Claire Reed! I almost fell off my chair when I heard this unexpected news.
We went on stage and were given our badges and it was explained that we would be responsible for the control of the prefects’ duties. An extra duty we would have would be to act as witness to any formal punishment given by the Headmaster.
After school, I couldn’t wait to get home and tell mum my news and we sat down and discussed it. I told her I was a little concerned about witnessing a girl receiving the slipper or cane over their knickers as I had never even seen a cane. She told that I was not to worry and that she was sure that i would take it in my stride.
As the Christmas term progressed I was not needed as a witness to any punishment as Susan seemed to relish this duty and always attended. However, just before half term I was summoned to the Head’s office and had to witness two third year girls get the slipper. They had to lift up their skirts and tuck them into the waistband of their skirts outside the Head’s office and stand facing the wall with hands on head till called into the office.
This was the sight that greeted me when I arrived at the Head’s office. I then had to sign the punishment book after to say I witnessed the punishment. After the girls had been slippered they had to sign the book and then return outside and, still with skirts raised, stand outside the Head’s office. They would only be seen by the secretary or any teacher coming to see the headmaster or anybody leaving the hall, which was unlikely in the day.
When I got home, I told mum about the experience and how shocked I was at how much force the headmaster had used but she said that they were only punished for doing wrong and therefore had only themselves to blame. Over the next few months I witnessed about twelve more punishments, all with the slipper, as the head girl was always available for canings.
A week before the end of term, as the choir were rehearsing for the Christmas concert, the school secretary came into class and said that I was required at the Headmaster’s office immediately. I had never been summoned like this before and was worried I had done something wrong.
As I approached his office, I could see Janet and Margaret out of our year stood with their skirts tucked into their waistbands. Neither were, like most other girls in the upper sixth (I was not one), not wearing regulation knickers. In fact, they were quite brief and knew that they were to receive the slipper.
As I entered the Heads office he informed me that as Susan was in the choir I was to witness the caning of the two girls outside who had been caught smoking. I gasped before being told that my duties were no different than before. As I walked into my normal position behind the headmaster’s desk I noticed that a chair was positioned in front of the desk facing away.
As Janet was called in, the Headmaster gave her a verbal blasting over the dangers of smoking and told her that her punishment was to be four strokes of the cane across the bottom. She had been caned at least twice before that I knew of. The head then opened a cupboard to my left and I saw an assortment of canes hanging from a rail. He told her that she was to receive four strokes for smoking but then a further two for not wearing regulation knickers.
She was told t bend over the back of the chair and not to stand up or I would be ordered to hold her down and she would get extra. He lined up the cane, then raised it over his shoulder before bringing it back down with tremendous force, forcing a squeal out of her almost immediately. I saw a twin line of red appear on her bottom. Five more strokes came down, each bringing a louder scream of pain. At the end she was told to stand and not rub her bottom. She signed the book and staggered outside.
Margaret was called in and she was like me, having never been in trouble before, but she was told that she was to receive the same punishment as Janet and also the two extra for not wearing school knickers. Hers were black but covered a lot more of her bottom. After she received her first stroke she jumped up dancing around. She was told to return to the bending position but as it was her first time she would not receive extra.
I was told to stand in front of her and to lean on her back to stop her rising. This I did, and what a shock I got as the next stroke landed and I felt the impact through her body. Four more followed and each brought a louder scream. As she was released, she jumped up was told to sign the book. The head then dismissed both girls who were sent on their way rubbing very sore bottoms.
as I got back to the prefects room, Susan asked me how it had gone and I told her I could not believe how severe a caning was. She asked how I felt and if it exited me in any way.
I said: “No, in a way it frightened me even more and I could not understand girls not wearing school knickers if it meant the cane if caught.”
Susan explained that there was only about a dozen girls in the upper sixth that do wear school knickers and most teachers know it but accept it. Only if you are sent to the Headmaster is it a problem and as these were the first two girls in the upper sixth to be punished then the law of averages says you wouldn’t be caught.
I got home and told mum of my experience and of how I was surprised at the force used, and she said that a caning was a severe punishment and as such was supposed to really hurt but the initial pain usually went after an hour or so. She then told me that she herself had been caned four times at school for different things.
That night in bed I was thinking about the day’s events and mum’s revelation and started to think about being caned, but the thought of the pain soon had me dismissing the idea from my head.
School finished for Christmas and over the holidays the thought of being caned kept coming into my thoughts but soon disappeared again. I was looking forward to school starting again as it would mean that I would be going into town to be measured for my bridesmaid’s dress as my cousin was getting married and we were being measured up on the first Wednesday back at school.
We returned to school and on the first day only had to go in at lunchtime as the teachers were having a meeting first. When we arrived I noticed that several of the girls were wearing make up, which was forbidden, and they were all given detentions for the following day which was to be supervised by the headmaster.
On Wednesday, I had got up and was getting dressed for school and, knowing that I was going for a dress fitting straight from school, decided to wear my new ivory coloured briefs and matching bra.
Mum saw what I was wearing and said: “Are you sure you want to wear them? Remember what happened to those girls who got two strokes of the cane.”
I explained we did not have PE or games today so nobody would see them unless I got into trouble and was sent to the Head which will not happen.
So off I went to school feeling all grown up. As assemble finished the headmaster stood and made all the usual announcements. He then asked for all Upper Sixths to stay behind for a special assembly. After everybody had left we all moved to the front of the hall and he stood and began to address us by saying that at the end of last term he had had to cane two upper six form girls for smoking and also for not wearing regulation underwear.
Last night he said that he was on duty in Detention and sixteen upper sixths had been placed in detention for wearing make up. During detention, seven of these girls were punished for talking or not doing their work. None of these girls were wearing school knickers. When asked, five more were not wearing school knickers. Would these twelve please stand and come to the front now?
He then said that if any other girl is not wearing school knickers they are also to stand up and come to the front. Now eleven more including Susan stood up and moved to the front.
By this time my heart was pounding. The Headmaster then said that we had one last chance to come forward if we were not wearing school knickers. I suddenly stood up and moved forward with three more. We were then told to lift our skirts and to tuck them into our waist bands. The other girls were told to look at us as in the next few minutes all the bottoms will have been caned.
I could not believe what I had just heard. I was to be caned! He then told the remaining twenty-two girls to stand and to bend over and touch their toes. Then Miss Jones went along the row lifting each skirt.
Eight of the girls had their skirts tucked into their waistband and got three slaps with her slipper. They were told they would be caned for lying as well.
We were then marched along to the head’s office and lined up outside. We were called in one by one and you could hear each girl getting two strokes, but occasionally you heard four strokes. I thought they must have moved. As each girl came out, tears were in their eyes.
Susan was called in and I knew that I would be next. I heard raised voices as the Head told her off, then two strokes followed by two, more followed by two more. Then I was called in.
I also received a telling off. I tried to explain about my dress fitting and that I had worn my matching underwear for the fitting. He then asked what colour bra I was wearing and I said the same as my knickers, ivory. As it wasn’t white, I was to get two extra.
I was told to bend over and as my knickers tightened I felt the cane touch my bottom, then move. I heard a rush of air and a loud whack before the pain struck. I let out an almighty yelp.
Another followed, and another, before the last one struck right where my bottom and thighs joined. I let out another loud scream and was told to sign the punishment book and wait outside.
I just wanted to rub my bottom but with the school secretary watching this was not possible. Eventually we had all been caned and allowed to return to normal school work, but there were thirty-four sore bottoms.
At the end of school I went along to meet mum and as we walked to the dress shop she said she was looking forward to seeing me in the dress as I was so grown up. Before I had chance to tell mum about my caning we had arrived at the dress shop.
When we entered, we were shown to a cubicle and the shop assistant said: “If you get undressed perhaps your mum can help to start to get the dress on you.” Then she would return.
As I lowered my skirt, mum saw the cane marks straight away and asked if it was for the underwear. I just nodded. I was stepping into the dress and was slightly bent over when the shop assistant entered the cubicle and also saw the marks. “Have you been a naughty girl then?” She asked. I just blushed.
After the fitting we went home and mum asked what had happened. After I’d told her all about it, she just said: “Unlucky weren’t you? But next time wear your uniform.”
That night in bed I got a strange feeling in my private regions which was very enjoyable and the following day as I was talking to Susan she said that she had also. She was determined that it would not be her only caning and we both agreed to see each other caned over the coming months. I received the cane on four more occasions including six extra for swearing.