A girl attends a special finishing school abroad

Pat Greenham

My name is Louise R, and this is my story of what happened some years ago when I left school with, to say the least, very poor A-level results. My father was furious, having paid for a very expensive private education which had seen me miss the required grades for university by a very considerable margin. In truth I only had myself to blame having spent most of the spring and early summer with my boyfriend. The options ahead looked bleak, with the possibility of re-sitting my A-levels during the next summer or simply getting a lowly job.

A couple of days after my results had come, my father came home with a pack from the Hyde Academy, which was an institution based outside Zurich in the mountains. In the pack it was made clear that this was very exclusive, and specifically designed for girls that had not fulfilled their potential and had missed out on going to university. The academy offered a two year intensive course with the flexibility to study eight subjects. Despite being incredibly expensive, my father was keen that I should apply for one of the thirty-six places available.

Despite my father and I having a difficult relationship, I did not feel that I had a choice, so later the same night I started to complete the lengthy application form. To my shock on page four there was a section about discipline which outlined that central to the academy’s ethos was corporal punishment and that every student applying had to sign the section specifically accepting this condition. It was made clear that no student would be considered if this section was not signed.

A week after submitting the application, I received a letter asking me to attend an interview to be held in central London. At this meeting I was to meet for the first time Dr Johnston, the Principal of the Hyde Academy, who had flown in specially to conduct interviews over a three-day period. At the end of the interview he asked me if I had any questions and I dearly wanted to ask about what they had meant by ‘corporal punishment’, but in the end couldn’t bring myself to do so. He was however a charming man and made me feel very motivated about the idea of going the Hyde Academy.

A week later I received a letter accepting my application and an instruction to travel to Zurich in time for the start of term on 1st October. There was also a clothing guidance, which stipulated that we should bring knee length black skirts and white blouses or shirts to wear during academic time. My father was pleased, but told me in no uncertain terms that this was my last chance and that he was paying a huge amount of money (eight thousand pounds per term). He also told me that I would have to take whatever came my way, and if I displeased the Principal in any way I would have to accept the consequences. He had clearly read the bit about corporal punishment too.

On the first morning we all attended a welcome meeting held by Dr Johnston who told us he was going to cover six subjects. First he outlined the history of the Academy that had been started ten years previously by the Hyde Foundation. William Hyde was an extremely wealthy individual, and as a result of his daughter failing her own A-levels twelve years previously, he had engaged Dr Johnson as a personal tutor. William Hyde was so impressed with the results he decided to use his Foundation to create the Academy and appoint Dr Johnston as Principal. The Academy took nearly two years to build at a huge cost. He also told us that William Hyde used his foundation to secure all students a good job at the conclusion of the two years.

Second, he explained why each of the thirty six had been chosen – saying that we all very closely fitted the profile identified by William Hyde as being similar to his daughter. His daughter had been given a second chance and he wanted to use some of his enormous wealth to give a small number of girls in a similar position another chance. He added that this Academy is not for A star students.

Third, he outlined the courses available of which there were twelve. English Language, one further language and physical education were mandatory – but we could choose five from the remaining nine.

Fourth, he explained the regime, which started every morning at seven with an hour’s exercise followed by breakfast and the start of the academic day at 9. Each day would have eight 50-minute lectures finishing at 5.50 pm.

Fifth, he explained the tutoring system and objective setting. There were twelve tutors (one for each subject) and each of them would look after three of us for the entire two years. They would already be looking after three students in the second year. It would the tutors that would set our objectives.

Sixth, he explained the Academy ethos about discipline. He told us that corporal punishment was an absolutely central part of the Academy and that William Hyde insists that any misdeed or objective significantly missed must be punished by six strokes of the cane. He added that our consent to this had been given in the application form. He also added that all punishments were administered by him with one of the two matrons and our individual tutor present, and that a caning was designed to be a short sharp shock as well as having an element of ceremony and shame, but to be ultimately cleansing.

Finally he told us that in the next six days he would see each of us individually to agree some short term objectives and the make up of our course work and to introduce each of us to the cane by giving us a single stroke as an initiation.

Two days later it was my turn to see Dr Johnston and he was again very charming. In his study was a trestle with a padded top, the use of which was obvious. We agreed which courses I would follow and he told me that his door was always open if I wanted to talk about anything. He asked if I had any concerns about the discipline policy and mentioned that most girls get used to it after a while. He told me that the in the previous year he had given just over 120 canings which averaged slightly over three canings per student and added that for all first year beatings a matron was always present as a chaperone. He then told me that it was time for my cane initiation, that I should stand up and take off my skirt and whatever underwear I was wearing and bend over the trestle. This came as a shock, and seeing my surprise he told me that all canings were given on the bare bottom as dictated by William Hyde and he added that the eight thousand pounds a term paid by your father is supplemented by a further four thousand pounds from the benefactor, so he has a right to dictate how things are done.

There was no choice, so I stood and unzipped by skirt before removing it. My pants followed and with everything on show I decided to get quickly into position. The thought of my upturned bare bottom presented to him was unbelievably embarrassing and I hadn’t even done anything wrong!

He touched my bottom with the cane and as it left there was a brief second of nothing before he hit the middle of my bottom with an almighty whack, which a split second later became of line of pure fire. I could not believe the pain and he told me to stand up when I was ready. Dr Johnston told me to take a few moments as he asked me to imagine what six strokes in one go would be like, and that perhaps good behaviour and achievement of my objectives might be a good idea.

As I faced him I had momentarily forgotten that I was naked below the waist with everything on show as I was still trying to come to terms with the incredible pain from just one stroke, and after a moment or two reached for my pants and skirt. I also noticed the cane on his desk, which I had not seen prior to bending over and was surprised how long it was.

The following morning after our 7 am exercise there was now twelve of us in the showers sporting a single red stripe across our bottoms and it quickly became known to everyone that this one single stroke was going to be given on the bare. I am not sure whether it was worse not to know, or as the remaining twenty-four girls yet to see Dr Johnston now knew, they were going to get their single stroke applied to their bare bottom.

Things went reasonably well, and after the sixth day when all 36 of us had seen Dr Johnston there was a lot of talk about getting the cane and a growing realization that most of us could expect further punishment. If the previous year group had endured over 120 canings amongst their 36 students, it was unlikely that we would be very much different.

As it turned out, I became only the second girl to sample the cane again, and only in week 2. I was late for a lecture by 5 minutes and the Tutor warned me to ensure that I was more ‘timely’. For some inexplicable reason I was late for his next lecture, and at the end of the session he asked to have a brief word and told me that he was referring me to my own Tutor for tardiness. At lunchtime, my own Tutor told me that I was to see Dr Johnston at 6 pm and I feared the worse.

At 6 on the dot I reported as instructed (this time on time) and was told to go straight through. The Principal was alone and told me to stand in front of his desk. He was his usual charming self, but wanted to know why I had been late for two consecutive lectures to which I had no sensible answer. He told me that he was very sorry, but he had no option but to cane me – not just for being late twice, but he added that he suspected that I had been tardy in my timekeeping for some considerable time and that it may be partly why I did so dreadfully at my A-levels. He added that he doubted if I would late after today.

I was told to go to his side room where Matron was waiting for me. She told me that a caning at The Hyde Academy was carried out with a certain amount of ceremony and I must experience shame. As such the Principal required me to be completely naked for my caning, and I now I needed to remove all my clothes and fold them neatly. I knew that I would have to bare my bottom, but why did I have to undress completely? The Matron told me that there were no exceptions and that everyone had to follow Mr Hyde’s instructions. She also added that Dr Johnston gets no pleasure from caning deserving girls; the pleasure he gets is seeing young women leave after two years at the Academy with a bright future.

It was clearly hopeless and I started to undress. I undid my shirt and put it on the table. I kicked off my shoes before undoing my skirt and pushing it down. Now feeling strangely embarrassed in front of Matron in just my underwear, I removed my pants and asked if I really needed to take off my bra.

Matron asked which part of ‘remove all my clothes’ did I not understand? It was hopeless and I removed my bra leaving me naked.

She asked if I was ready and with incredible embarrassment I followed her back into the Principal’s study where my Tutor had joined the party. Dr Johnston looked at me and told me that the next five minutes would be cathartic, and that being naked would allow me to properly experience the shame necessary for a properly administered caning. He told me to turn and bend right over the trestle, reach down to hold onto the bar and stretch my legs straight out behind me.

With me shamefully in position and two men and the Matron all standing behind me no doubt focusing on my bottom, I started to think about the cane and the pain to come, and remembered my initiation. The Principal was clearly in no hurry as he told me that I knew what to expect from the first stroke, but after that I was in new territory. I was told that he would give me the second stroke after 45 seconds and that after that the caning could proceed as slowly or rapidly as I wanted. As it was my first ever full caning, he told me that he was anxious not to create too much despair and that he would only give me the third stroke when I was ready, advising me to take plenty of time to allow to absorb each stroke.

Whilst he was giving me these instructions, I was probably in position, completely exposed for at least three minutes but strangely I felt comforted by his compassionate tone despite what was about to happen. Eventually I felt that familiar tap on my bottom before the cane was taken back and brought down to whack my bottom right in the middle. Extremely painful, but strangely not quite as bad as when I received my single stroke initiation two weeks earlier. 45 seconds later he gave me my second stroke which was a little lower, and again incredibly painful. I stayed in position trying to absorb the searing pain for at least a full minute before telling him I was ready for the third.

My tutor who had been standing to one side moved to a position directly behind me for a better view as Dr Johnston brought the cane down across my bottom for the third time which was painful, but no worse than either of the previous strokes. It was certainly nice to have some control over when the next cane stroke was administered as I could only imagine what it must be like to have six strokes given quickly with no time to recover from each whack.

It seemed to take about a minute for the intensity of the previous stroke to abate just a little and I said I was ready for the fourth, which again was incredibly intense and I felt as if my whole bottom was on fire. I knew there were only two to go and concentrated on holding onto the lower bar of the trestle and I think I must have spread my legs slightly, no longer concerned about what they could see between them. Again after about a minute I told him I was ready and the whack that followed was another very similar brand of fire, and I counted to sixty before asking for the final stroke which was of a similar force but not vicious. I was told to stay over the trestle for two minutes and to think about why I had been caned.

Eventually I was told to stand and face the Principal and my Tutor and despite the pain in my bottom, I remember not knowing where to put my hands with my breasts and pubic hair exposed for all to see. I elected to keep them by my sides. Dr Johnston told me that he was very sorry to have had to cane me, but that it was very important that I understood that I must conform to the way the Academy was run and that any infringement would result in further canings.

Despite having just suffered a caning to my bare bottom, the Principal had taken time to ensure that it was not vicious and strangely I felt pleased that I had been dealt with and for the first time had a figure in my life that I could respect. I understood what he had meant by a ‘cleansing’ experience. He then suggested that I might like to go with the Matron back to the side room and get dressed.

During my first year I was to get the cane five times, significantly more than the average. I never quite got used to being completely naked and stretched over the trestle with my bare bottom presented to him, but I did start to get used to the pain associated with being caned. On every occasion the Principal was caring in the way he administered the cane, and I accepted the punishments without question. On one occasion I was one of three girls being caned and we were all naked together, and one by one received our canings. It was fascinating to watch the other two take their beatings and appreciate just what an expert Dr Johnston was, and how he always got the six strokes perfectly parallel with never any two strokes on top of each other. It was almost a little erotic. It also became completely normal during our morning exercise sessions to note the girls that were sporting freshly caned bottoms.

In the second year at the Hyde Academy, the cane was still used, but with the girls all starting to learn how the Academy expected us to behave it was a slightly less frequent event. I did, however, make four further trips (again above average) to the Principal’s office and I was surprised to find that for second year students the format was different. There was no Matron present and the Principal only required the removal of clothes below the waist. Whilst taking off one’s skirt and knickers in front of Dr Johnston before the cane was applied to my bare bottom was still embarrassing, it wasn’t quite so humiliating. The second of my year two canings was the only punishment not administered by the Principal as he was away on a trip. When the Principal was away caning duties were delegated to the PE Master and I had even more embarrassment taking off my skirt and knickers in front of Mr Hall who was only about thirty and very handsome. Once in position over the trestle with my bottom yet again on display, Mr Hall gave me six strokes over about a minute and half, faster and more intense than the Principal.

Dr Johnston had been right, we did get used to it and I developed a great respect for the Principal who over the two years had changed my life for the better. I had a far better concept of right and wrong and the Academy had arranged for a job in London on my return to the UK.

In the same way as he had seen all of us individually when we started, in the last two weeks he again saw each of us for a one to one session before we left. Apart from my respect, I had grown to like Dr Johnston very much, and in a strange way the canings had helped develop a very personal bond. Looking back it may seem crazy, but I wanted one more caning before I left and I did not want it to be for any wrongdoing, more as a ‘sign off’ knowing it would be unlikely that I would ever see again the man who had changed my life.

During this final one to one session two days before I returned to London for good, I asked him if he would deal with me one last time and give me something to remember when I looked back. He asked me if I meant a final caning, to which I nodded and said that I’d like it to be special. The Principal told me that he was impressed with my attitude and remarked how much I had changed over the two years being respectful and he would be happy to give me a ‘finale’ to my time at The Hyde Academy. He suggested I return at 6 pm.

Later that day, Dr Johnston addressed me again and asked me if I had anything in mind when I had said a ‘special’ caning. I replied by saying that if it was to be a finale, it should be ‘more’ than the standard caning, and Dr Johnston said he had an idea. He asked me if I remembered my single cane stroke initiation, and told me that it would have been the most severe stroke he had given me. He went on to say that for the ‘initiation’ stroke he quite purposely used a longer and more severe cane to create real shock and to make the expectation of a full caning worse than the actual experience. He went on to tell me that he could give me six strokes of similar severity with the longer cane, which he said would be something that I would most certainly not forget and would also be special.

I told him that I would accept and he suggested that as this was to the ‘finale’ it should also be ‘pure’ and told me that I should take it completely naked as the first year students were caned.

I asked if I should strip in front of him and he nodded. Previously for a full strip I had gone into the side room and I felt strangely awkward about taking everything off in front of him. I removed my shirt and skirt and stood before him in just my underwear. I took off my bra before sliding my knickers down and off. Standing in front of him completely naked I was told to get in position over the familiar trestle.

He then said that as this was to be ‘special’, he would take control and that I should be silent throughout. He told me that the strokes would be two minutes apart, which should give me time to absorb the impact of the longer and heavier cane. He then touched my bottom in the middle and the moment the cane left my bottom I knew that pain was a moment away. Having been over the trestle nine times since my initiation stroke I thought I could handle the cane but the first stroke was devastating and brought everything back, and explained why all the full canings had been milder. And I knew I had five to come.

Two minutes later he gave me the second stroke and any thoughts I had about being able to take a caning flooded away with the incredible pain and fire in my bottom, which made being caned with the other cane seem like a walk in the park. I was breathing hard and trying not to make a noise as I felt the cane again touch my bottom thinking surely it is not two minutes already as the third stroke hit home, lower down this time. I involuntarily parted my legs for balance at this stage, not caring what he could see and wondering exactly why I had asked for something special! Another two minutes went too quickly as I tried to absorb the first three strokes, and, a moment after another touch, he gave me the fourth stroke which felt as if it was a little higher, closer to the centre of my bottom. It was again terribly painful.

I am not sure I managed to take this caning in complete silence but I remained in position. I knew I had two to go and it felt like I had been over the trestle for a long time when I felt again the touch, this time higher before there was a terrific whack exactly where he had touched. I gasped but knew I had only to endure one final cane stroke, probably the last ever. Two minutes later I received that stroke right across the middle of my bottom which if possible was even harder than the previous five. As I stood I had tears in my eyes, both because of the incredible pain in my bottom, completely incomparable with any of my previous nine canings, but also because of the triumph of surviving.

Dr Johnston asked me if I was now satisfied, and whether the caning had been ‘special’. I told him that it had certainly been special and I would never forget the incredible pain.

Later looking at the mirror, the six parallel cane marks were more prominent than usual and my friends all remarked the following morning as we changed for exercise that I must have really upset the Principal. I never told them the real story!

Days later I said goodbye to The Hyde Academy and Dr Johnston, and returned to London. The job arranged for me kick started a very good career in the financial world and I went on to get married and have a family. I even made it up with my father but will never forget Dr Johnston and his cane – both of them!

The End