A girl manages to get into trouble on her first day at a new sixth form

By Rob Burton

Jenny closed the car door, waved and headed towards the pair of wrought iron gates. Girls of all sizes hurried past, well mostly, some dawdled like her. Perhaps like her it was their first day at St. Margaret’s and a mixture of trepidation and excitement on their minds. Jenny was not sure where exactly she was going but she just followed the ever growing crowd into the school and as instructed into the main hall for assembly.

It had been a mad last few weeks. In July she had left Leverston School and was expecting to go to Leverston College to take her ‘A’ Levels but then her father got an unexpected promotion. This meant they had to move nearly 200 miles away to the head office in Mountfield. At first Jenny was heartbroken; she could not be consoled at the thought of moving away from her friends. Especially Anna; they had grown up together since they first went to nursery. They were inseparable, they told each other every little secret, from their first kisses to the first time they had touched a boy. Despite her protests, histrionics and tears she had known deep down inside it was the right move for the family. The promotion came with more money, a bigger house, a bigger car, in fact the only down side was the loss of the family’s friends.

It had been a rush to find a suitable place for Jenny to continue her studies, but luckily nearby their new home was St. Margaret’s Girls School which had a sixth form. It was a private school with an outstanding academic reputation. They were interviewed late one afternoon by the Senior Mistress, Mrs Ashton, in the absence of Miss Golding, the Headmistress, who was away at a conference. Two days later they received confirmation that she had been accepted and enclosed were all the details for the new school.

Her mother had a smirk on her face as she handed Jenny one part of the letter. On it was written the requirements for her school uniform. Jenny thought it was a joke, because after her final day at school she had taken the scissors to her old school uniform and presented her mum with it wrapped up in a parcel upon which was written ‘Good Riddance’. She protested as she always did, but on the following Saturday the pair of them walked into Mirfield’s Store in the town and purchased one red school blazer with the school emblem on the breast pocket, five white blouses also with emblem, three navy blue knee length box pleated skirts, two red and navy blue ties, again with the emblem, six pairs of navy blue knickers and six pairs of tan tights. There were also two full gym kits and an official St Margaret’s bag to carry all her books. Good job dad had a promotion as the bill was a small fortune.

Inside the main hall the staff guided the new pupils to their respective areas. Jenny found herself sitting on the front row just to the right of the raised platform which formed a stage. She placed her bag in front and looked around as all the others filtered into vacant seats. It looked like the sixth form girls were around her, opposite them to the left were the first formers with all the other years in blocks behind them.

All of a sudden the cacophony of noise ended, all the girls stood, faced forward and then a clip clop of shoes as the Headmistress and the senior staff made their way to the stage. Once every one was in place all the pupils rose and they sang the school song. Jenny did her best but despite having read the words she could not remember them all.

The Headmistress asked them to sit once they had finished. She welcomed all the girls old and new and wished them a productive academic year. Miss Golding introduced two new members of her teaching staff, A Miss Hancock who would be teaching the junior pupils for History and a Miss Tate who would be taking the sixth form pupils for Humanities. Jenny listened for a few minutes but soon she switched off as she had heard it all before. Different school, different Headmistress but the same boring thing about pupils would get out exactly what they put in and yadda, yadda.

Jenny suddenly came back to her senses as she heard chairs scrapping. She rose to leave but finding that the girls around her were still sat down she quickly resumed her seat. She blushed but she was not the only one as she spotted three first formers doing the same.

It would appear everyone except the first and upper sixth were leaving the hall. Jenny wished she had been listening now as she was unsure what was about to happen. Quiet returned after the hall emptied. Miss Golding was now alone on the stage, her hands folded in front of her, as she looked around at the pupils left.

The silence was quite un-nerving, Jenny thought, but she was to get a shock when the headmistress suddenly turned to her and told her to stand. She shot straight up from the chair kicking her bag in her hurry to comply with the command. As she adjusted her feet she heard her telling the first formers, who like her had prematurely stood a few moments, to also stand up.

Miss Golding waited for silence once more before she told all four girls to leave their bags and wait directly outside the hall. A shuffle of chairs ensued as they quickly made their way to the back of the hall, turned left and exited through the doors that were held open by a teacher. They were closed behind them.

Jenny heard the Headmistress talking but was unable to make out what was said. She was stood slightly away from the other girls as they all stood nervously in silence. Jenny could not believe what had happened. Her first day at a new school and she was already in trouble. During her previous years at Leverston she had never been in any kind of trouble let alone sent out of a class or assembly. She felt her arm twitch, it was a telltale sign that she was nervous. She felt it when she sometimes told little white lies to her parents.

The Headmistress opened the doors and, walking briskly, told the girls to follow her. They followed close behind her, the first formers almost running to keep up. They found themselves going up a staircase, turning right and passing a lady sat at a desk. They went into a large office filled with cupboards and bookcases. The door was shut behind them and Miss Golding took a seat behind a large ornate oak desk. Jenny stood to the right with the younger girls to her left. She noticed that they all were shaking and looking at the floor. She looked at the Headmistress who sat with her chin in her hands, her arms resting on the desktop, like she was contemplating something.

Then she began her lecture about how she thought the most important thing a new pupil could do was listen, especially today as this was new experience for them. A new environment meant different and new ways to learn about the school and how it functioned. Miss Golding continued for another few minutes and ended with her telling them if no-one listened then there would be chaos with pupils getting up and sitting down again just like they had done in assembly. Jenny was certainly concentrating now as she listened intently.

Miss Golding picked up a notebook, then stood and walked around to the front of the desk. She rested against the desktop as she smiled. She addressed the first formers telling them as this was such a new experience she would be speaking to their form teachers and advising them of a suitable punishment for their lack of discipline. She wrote names in the book as they quietly said them to her. Amy Yardley, Rebecca Nadin and Jacqueline Kennan. She raised her eyebrows at the last name and enquired from the girl if she was related to Angela. The girl nodded and squeaked: “Cousin.”

She opened the door and asked her secretary to escort them back to the hall so they could find their classes. The door was closed again and Miss Golding stood in front of Jenny. There was that silence again as Jenny felt her eyes look her up and down. Jenny’s arm was now not twitching, it was shaking.

Jenny was asked her name. She answered with a nervous stutter. Miss Golding nodded and replied that she was the new upper sixth form girl who had recently moved into the area and was seen in her absence by Mrs Ashton. Jenny was asked some questions to which she tried to say: “Yes,” but most came out incoherently.

Miss Golding again paused and looked at Jenny. She told her that whilst this was her first day at this school, she, at eighteen, should know what was expected of her. Jenny felt tears in her eyes. The Headmistress continued, telling her that on every first day of a new school year she always made an example of a girl to show the new pupils what was expected of them and show them what would happen if they did not. This was however the first time she had had to deal with a sixth former.

With that she was told to remove her blazer. Jenny was confused as well as scared now as she stood rooted to the spot. Miss Golding told her again, this time a little more harshly. Jenny undid the buttons, slid out her arms and held it in front of her. The Headmistress took it and put on the desk beside her. Jenny who now had a tear running down her cheek got the shock of her life as she was informed that she was to receive the cane. She wanted to scream but her voice was lost as she shook her head in disbelief.

The cane, three foot long and getting close to half an inch thick, was retrieved from a cupboard behind the desk. Jenny was informed that this was the senior girls cane given to all fifth and sixth formers who transgressed from the straight and narrow. It was, she was informed, only used three times during the whole of last year.

She heard the swish behind her as she, despite her weak protests, bent across the desk reaching for the far edge as the Headmistress instructed. She was also told to remain in that position during her punishment or there would be additional strokes as a penalty.

Jenny felt the cane tap her offered bottom, then again. How can this be happening, all I did was get up at the wrong time? Another tap, then she heard a loud whoosh just before it struck her bottom right in the centre across both cheeks. There was a momentary delay before she registered the pain. She screeched, her bottom twitched, her knees buckled as she struggled to compose herself.

Miss Golding watched, smiled and waited for that composure. The second stroke fell immediately below the first. Jenny cried out in shear pain as the line of fire took hold in her twitching cheeks. Number three took her by surprise, she was not quite in position and the cane landed just below the crease of her bottom. Her hands left the desk as she squealed. It took all her will to remain across the desk, she so desperately wanted to rub away the fire that had been inflicted upon her sore, aching bottom.

The Headmistress smiled for she knew exactly where she had planted that stroke. She waited for a few moments as she watched the blubbering pupil get back into position. WHACK! This time she caught Jenny diagonally across the three previous strokes. Jenny yelled out as her head shot backwards, her hands left the desk and grabbed the burning hot cheeks.

Miss Golding waited as the pupil rubbed in a most undignified manner trying to quell the pain of the four hard strokes. It took a good two minutes before the Headmistress handed back her blazer and told her to compose herself. Jenny slid the blazer back on awkwardly, straightened her skirt and wiped away the tears. After her name was entered in the punishment book, Jenny was escorted back to the hall. She walked stiffly, her skirt rubbing against the welts as she briskly walked behind.

The Headmistress opened the door and ushered Jenny in, telling her to go and stand on the stage. Miss Golding left her as she very red faced walked past the remaining pupils, trying not to catch their eye to where a teacher stood in the centre of the stage. She knew they were looking at her.

Five minutes later and all the pupils were back sitting on the chairs facing the stage in silence as they waited for Miss Golding to speak. She proceeded to tell them although this was the first day of term she saw that as no excuse for bad behaviour and the four girls who had been sent from the hall had been dealt with in an appropriate manner. The first form girl’s names were called out and they were told to stand up. Each of them embarrassingly stood as she read out their names and that they could expect to see their form mistresses later that afternoon.

She paused as these girls sat down again. She looked at Jenny who was now crying again. She then asked for a chair to be placed in the centre and Mrs Ashton, taking Jenny’s hand, walked her to the chair. Jenny did not know what she was supposed to do but the Senior Mistress guided her up on to it so her back faced the pupils. Her skirt was raised and a murmur rose from the pupils as they saw her navy blue knickers being eased down to expose her caned bottom.

Jenny was crying hysterically from the sheer shame of every girl in the room knowing she had received four strokes of the cane. They could not fail to see the deep red stripes on her white bottom. Miss Golding called for quiet and said to the mostly shocked pupils that this was what they would receive, as a minimum, for any serious misbehaviour that was reported to her. With that they were told to stand and were dismissed, leaving a crying Jenny stood on display. They all looked, some shocked, some smirking as they walked out of the hall.

She was eventually helped down by Miss Golding who left her in the hands of her new form mistress, Mrs Anderson. The teacher wiped her tears as she smiled reassuringly to Jenny and, taking her hand, they walked out of the hall to begin the first day of her new school.

The End