This was a popular series on the old site, now starting to be transferred over with this first part. It tells the story of an all boys school that starts to accept girls.

 A Surprise Appointment

By Joanna Jones

It was a cold, dark Monday evening in early November. Rain was rattling on the window of the sixth form common room. Half of us were catching up on our prep set during the day, while others were just relaxing and chatting. At that point I had no idea of the events that would happen that week, events that would make a lasting impression on me and my schooling.

I was one of twenty girls in the lower sixth, the first ever cohort into a fairly reputable boys’ boarding school. In terms of time they were ahead of the curve, being one of the first to do so. The school initially aimed to have a total of 50 girls in the sixth form, over both years, along with a cohort of around 120 boys.

The experience had been a bit of a culture shock for both sides and the first half-term had been an interesting experience. The absence of girls’ toilets except in the two dorm areas, situated quite far from the class and common rooms, had been a surprise, for example. Eventually I’d, after a bit of persuasion, gone and knocked on the headmaster’s door and asked for a brief meeting. Most of the school lived in awe of the man, and I was rather nervous. Indeed, for example, one or two boys had confidently predicted my return from this meeting with a sore bottom for having the impertinence to query to way he was running the school.

However, in contrast, I found him welcoming and positive in listening. He wanted us girls to settle in well and he said he knew they were not going to get everything right immediately, and he told me to come back with any problems we had, no matter how trivial.

As a result I was now the effective spokesperson for this new school breed, girls, that were now part of the community he led. I had been to see him about five times in that first half-term, either with general issues or ones that the other girls had found, but were much happier for me to raise. As a result we now had temporary access to the ladies in the main wing of the building for staff, and a new facility was being arranged. We also had one of the sports changing rooms set up exclusively for the girls, and I managed to get enough of my colleagues together to raise a girls’ hockey team, the Head having persuaded one of the teachers take on a project to train us. We were not very good, and so far our only success was to beat the school under 13 team (much to their embarrassment) but it was a fun way for us to be together and Mrs Fleming, whose main job was as biology teacher, had arranged a few friendlies and promised to look at getting a girls’ team into some league next year.

Coming back to the Monday evening in question, I was suddenly brought out of my studies by the call of: “Amelia Norton! Mr McKendrick wants to see you in his office.”

I looked round to see one of the two ‘Senior Prefects’, second only to the ‘Head Boy’ in the school pupil hierarchy, looking in through the common room door.

There was a silence, and then a few “Ooh, who’s in trouble!” comments as I tidied up a few things and left them on the desk I was working on. I had the foresight to ask Liz, one of my three dorm-mates to take them for me if I was not back in time.

While the comments might have been in jest. I was certainly nervous as I made my way down the corridor alone. Tom had gone off in the other direction, presumably to the prefect’s common room. I tried to think of anything I could have possibly done, or been thought to have done, that might be a reason for such a call.

My worry was not without justification. The last two times it had been a boy called from the common room. Both times the individual had paled, and on neither occasion had they returned. Both of them had gone straight to their dorms after, to recover from a dose of the headmaster’s cane. I don’t know what they had done but it must have been quite serious as the Head generally left most minor disciplinary arrangements to the prefects, and their court.

However, the vast majority of infractions of the rules that the prefects dealt with seemed to be with the lower forms; minor fights and issues after lights-out, for example.

‘Lights-out’ was one potential area I knew. The prefects, all being boys, were forbidden to enter the area in each of the two houses where girls’ dorms, and bathing facilities, had been set up, even on their night patrols. As no one else was tasked to check, that meant we were much more left to our own devices. My dorm had taken a small advantage of that on a couple of occasions, including for a couple of hours last Saturday night.

I wondered if that might be the cause and some prefect had reported us. But then, why just me? As can happen at these times a horrible thought came. Maybe as the seemingly appointed girls’ sixth form representative I was going to suffer the consequences on behalf of all of us. Was I going to be the first sixth form girl to be caned? And if, God forbid, that was so, how would he do it?

While half of me was worrying, the other, more rational, half was thinking how unlikely this was. While the prefects did to large degree keep to their own common room, they were still in the same classes as the rest of us and I knew from the boys in the sixth form that a blind eye was turned to things that lower year miscreants would suffer for.

My knock on Mr McKendrick’s door was far more tentative than that I normally gave. I heard the call of ‘come’ and nervously entered. My nerves were not helped by the presence of the Head Boy sitting on a chair located to one side of the Head’s desk.

I walked forward and despite there being a chair ideally positioned to sit opposite him, I stood, hands clasped my back, instead.

I think he expected me to sit down as I had done so on all the previous occasions, except the first.

Mr McKendrick looked at me for a second or two before saying: “Guilty conscience, Miss Norton?”

His face was inscrutable. I glanced at Derek Williams, but the Head Boy’s reactions were also well masked. How do I answer that, I thought, then a light went on.

I gave him a small smile and said with as innocent a look as I could manage: “Should I have, sir?”

After the briefest of pauses the headmaster laughed. “Touche, Amelia.” I noticed Derek was also smiling.

I took the opportunity to take the available chair as the Head continued. “No, there’s no reason you should have a guilty conscience, at least that I know of!”

Despite his reputation I had found Mr McKendrick relaxed and easy to talk to. I guess that it was only a few pupils though, such as myself, and Derek as Head Boy, that really got much opportunity to see that side.

“However, a couple of your female colleagues, I suspect, do, and Derek here has come to ask my advice.”


It was Derek that answered “One of the prefects has reported four sixth formers to the Court. Two of them are girls.”

“What! Who? Why?” I blurted out rather incoherently.

Mr McKendrick spoke. “To be fair on the pupils concerned we have a convention that cases are not discussed as far as is possible prior to the court. If prefects are caught discussing details beforehand then they can get into serious trouble.”

He went on. “Derek has given me the names and only the type of incident. What I can say is that the reporting prefect is not being unreasonable, nor frivolous. In fact I have had this sort of case referred directly to me in the past, but given the circumstances I think Derek and his court are better placed to deal with this case.”

I nodded and waited to see where this was all leading.

He then said: “What we want to ask you is about this. However, first how much do you know about the Prefect’s Court?”

I tried to gather my thoughts on what I had heard. It was also mentioned in the discipline section of some school literature I had, but I certainly had not read that section in any detail. I thought of it as a reference document to look at when needed rather than anything else. Knowledge of the school discipline policy was I hoped something I would not need to check carefully, ideally ever!

Eventually I replied: “As I understand it, unless an offence is very serious, when it must come to you, then if a prefect finds a pupil misbehaving he refers him, or her, to the court. The prefect outlines the case and then the pupil replies. There is some judgment, and if guilty then the prefects decide on a punishment.”

The Head looked at Derek who as Head Boy was responsible for running the court.

“A fair summary,” Derek said. “However, I think you need a bit more detail though. The report can be made by more than one prefect. The pupil can bring a friend for support and help, or ask for a prefect to help defend them. That prefect is then obliged to put the case the pupil makes either on guilt or innocence, or why a reduced punishment should be given.

“The judging panel consists of the Head Boy and senior prefects, and we can make a number of decisions.”

He held up his finger. “One. The pupil is innocent and the reporting prefect failed in his duty either deliberately or through negligence.”

Holding up his second finger, “Two. He is innocent but the reporting prefect could not reasonably have known.”

The third finger went up. “Three. The pupil is guilty but the prefect was over zealous. The offence should not have been reported to the court as a warning should have been enough.”

Fourth finger: “Four. The pupil is guilty but mitigating circumstances have come to light that mean that no sanction should be applied.”

Derek finally held up his thumb. “Five. The pupil is guilty and should be slippered, caned, or in serious cases sent to the headmaster.”

Derek put his hand down but continued speaking. “Now in the case of one and three, the prefect will be punished, almost certainly with the cane, in front of the pupil and will have to apologise. Unless the prefect appeals to the Head the punishment will be carried out there and then.

“However, most prefects are very careful and almost always the situation is five. In those cases the senior prefects and I decide the punishment, and the pupil reports the next evening, by himself, unless he appeals to the Head, which he must do by lunchtime the next day.”

Mr McKendrick intervened at this point. “If that happens I go through the case with both the pupil and Derek, Tom or Ian. I can overturn the decision, decrease or increase the punishment. They can then either go back to having their revised punishment that evening with the prefects, or very rarely one or two will be foolish enough to elect to get it from me. In the latter case Derek or the senior prefect stay as witness for the court.”

Perhaps they both noticed me glance sceptically between them. I could not see how a middle aged Head, of around five foot nine, was going to inflict worse pain than Derek, who was a broad shouldered six footer, and a member of the school rowing team.

Derek read my mind, “There’s a certain technique to caning, and in any case his canes are generally longer and heavier than the ones we are allowed to use.”

I nodded, although at that time not really understanding the niceties of cane length and weight, and waited for them to continue. I wondered where exactly this was all leading.

“Now Derek here has two concerns. First he feels that it may be possible to think of unfairness, both ways, as a result of a girl having her fate decided by a panel of three boys. I personally trust Tom, Ian and him, but there is the argument that we must ensure things are not only fair, but seen to be fair. The second point is a more serious one. If a pupil is to be punished do you know how that happens?”

Now that it came to it I was not sure. Somehow, someplace I knew it must happen, and I was now seeing light as regards the problem Derek saw; was it proper for him to punish a girl, or now come to think of it, act as witness if the Head did it. The Head himself did not especially bother me; he was in my eyes a father figure, and in my day and age fathers punishing their daughter’s behinds was hardly unusual!

I went for the simplest approach and replied: “I am not very sure of the exact details.”

Derek took it upon himself to explain. “He waits until called, with his face to the wall. Once in front of the prefects he has to formally apologise for disgracing the school. He then walks to a chair, takes his trousers down and bends over the back of it. He is then slippered or caned, either by me or one of the two senior prefects. Once his punishment is complete he is expected to thank his punisher and shake the hands of all the prefects present before leaving.”

“Trousers down?” I asked in surprise. “Does that mean for a girl it would be skirt up?”

Derek said: “Or down, whichever she prefers. Your view would be?”

I paused for thought. “Well the whole thing seems pretty barbaric…”

The Head interrupted. “Perhaps that’s the point, Amelia. It is meant to be a deterrent. For a boarding school to work efficiently there needs to be effective discipline.”

I thought on that, before slowly responding on the issue that was clearly exercising them. “I don’t think it is right that a girl should be caned in such a state in front of such a large number of boys. Even if everything was proper it could be misinterpreted. If you are asking my opinion then an alternative is needed.”

Derek looked at the Head, who gazed at me levelly for a second. “Your view matches with Derek, and since he discussed it with me, my own. We believe we have a solution which allows us to retain our existing discipline system, which I think works well. What we propose is to appoint one girl as senior prefect and another as an ordinary prefect now, and probably another girl as prefect later depending on how things go. The female senior prefect would join Derek, Tom and Ian in judging cases and determining the punishment. It would also be her job to administer the punishment to any girl who requires it.”

I interrupted him. “I am not sure that gets round the problem though, sir. Even if a girl carries out the punishment, it seems inappropriate to have their knickers displayed to all the boys in that manner, or indeed for a girl to witness a boy having his underpants whacked.” I added as an afterthought.

Derek answered. “I have a solution to that. There are plenty of spare movable screens like those used in the school infirmary, and we will keep one in the prefect’s common room. If a girl is to be punished then she will receive it so that the boy prefects can only ‘witness’ with their ears. Similarly the girl prefects can retire behind it when boys are punished, and come out at the end for the acknowledgement.”

Derek was clearly proud of his idea and it seemed fair enough so I said: “I think that sounds reasonable.”

The Head took a breath. “Good. Well that leads on to the next matter. You have established yourself as a leader of the girls and earned their, and most of the boys’, respect in a very short time. Therefore we are proposing you as the first girls’ senior prefect if you will accept.”

I was flabbergasted and must have gasped. However, it did not seem to me the kind of thing one could refuse. After a few seconds I said: “I am honoured and would be delighted to accept.”

“Excellent!” Replied Mr McKendrick. He then fished in a drawer and brought out a small blue crest shaped badge with ‘Prefect’ on it, (the senior prefects had a blue background, while for the other prefects it was red) and passed it to me. I found myself shaking his and Derek’s hand as they congratulated me. The Head also told me to report to Matron, who would sew the double band of ribbon around the lower part of the sleeves of my blazer to denote my new role. The other prefects had a single band, while the Head Boy had a special blazer with the prefect ribbon around the lapels too. He uniquely had a special tie as well.

It was as I was taking all this in that I put two and two together and thought about what I’d just accepted. “Err, this means it is my job to apply a punishment if a girl gets into trouble with the Court?”

 Mr McKendrick replied. “Something bothering you?”

“I am not sure, I hadn’t thought of the reality and implications till now. All the girls are my friends, and it seems rather peculiar to think of punishing them.”

Derek replied: “I have mostly had no problem with that. I have found that the other sixth formers are able to separate what you are doing as a prefect, or in my case as Head Boy, from other things so long as they believe it to be fair.”

I mulled that over for a few minutes and finally nodded. Another thought suddenly occurred to me. “I have no idea how to give a caning, and only saw a slippering a couple of times in my old school.”

“An issue for every new Senior Prefect! We also need to appoint a second girl prefect tonight, who I think should also get an overview just in case you are ill, or fall foul of the rules yourself of course!”

Mr McKendrick gave a smile at this. He clearly thought that highly unlikely. I shuddered at the thought, remembering that a reporting prefect making a mistake was also quite vulnerable. He continued: “Come to my office tomorrow at seven and I’ll give you some tips.”

“Now this second prefect, I have given it some thought and discussed the matter with some staff members. Two names have been suggested: Grace O’Flynn and Katie Hampton. Before I decide, I would value your opinions.”

Derek said: “Being in the upper sixth, I don’t know them very well. I can’t really comment.”

I felt both their faces turn to me and I felt myself flush. Another realisation that things had changed; I had never thought before about assessing two girls I thought of as friends in such a way. Once again I found myself gathering my thoughts before saying: “Grace is quite quiet but incredibly diligent, she would certainly carry out everything asked of her to the best of her ability. She tends to think through things carefully before making a decision. However, she can be a bit nervous though. Katie is much more assertive and I suspect that she would be much better at getting her authority recognised. However, she might not look at things so carefully and make snap decisions. Both I think would make excellent prefects though.”

“And you’d rather not choose between them,” said the Head. “Fair enough, and the analysis is helpful, backing up what the teachers I spoke to said.”

He took a breath. “I think assertiveness is going to be important in carrying out the various prefect duties, especially for the first girls in such a role in a mainly boys’ school like this, so Katie is my choice.”

“Derek, perhaps you might want to explain to Amelia more fully her duties and go though the roster with her. Can you get either Tom or Ian to accompany Katie to my office too, please.”

And with that we were dismissed.

I was very self-conscious of my new badge as we walked along the corridor. Sub-consciously I was already on my way to the sixth form common room, when Derek said: “Prefects’ common room is this way. I think you need to be introduced to everyone.”

When we got to the door, Derek said: “After you!” As he pushed it open, rather vigorously I thought. I walked in to a surprisingly large and airy room that certainly was better facilitated than the sixth form room. It was about the size of one of the larger class rooms and had chairs of various comforts and vintages around, with some study desks along two of the walls. The third wall next to the door had some notice boards on it, some shelves with box files which, if the labels were correct, seemed to contain the minutes of the Prefects Court going back over twenty five years to before the start of the (second world) war.

An irate boy glared at me as I came in and, standing up, said angrily: “Where are your manners girl!? You knock before coming in he… re.”

His voice tailed off and his jaw dropped as I turned to face him. He could then see my new lapel badge.

It was only then that Derek appeared round the door with a laugh on his face.

“Yes Joe,” he said. “Not the best welcome you have ever given a new prefect. Everybody, this is Amelia Norton, who the Head has appointed Senior Prefect this evening.”

There was a shocked silence for a few moments as they took in the news. I could see quite a few of them looking at one another wondering what to make of my arrival, not as a guest but as a colleague.

It was Derek who quickly filled the silence, introducing me to the dozen or so in the room, and sending Ian to find Katie and take her to see the headmaster. He indicated that the Head wanted him to wait while the he was talking to her.

After the initial shock wore off everyone was very friendly, and became more relaxed especially once Katie arrived with her new red prefect badge. She looked quite flushed and excited as we both congratulated each other with a bit of a hug.

We learnt quite a lot that evening about how things really worked, and Derek spent some time fitting us into the duty roster. He gave us the first week off, but after that we had stair duty, monitoring the lunch queue and so it went on. While we avoided night patrols in the dorms, there were a couple of patrols round the classroom and dining areas, which we of course picked up extra.

The only sour note cane when a lad called Frank came in, fresh from monitoring the first formers’ prep period. When he heard about our appointments and the reason behind it he said: “And there was me so looking forward to seeing some knickers caned, or better still with their knickers around their ankles!”

Katie and I were rather shocked, although relieved that the ‘joke’ was met with a deafening silence. In fact Harold, who was Frank’s best friend, could clearly be seen shaking his head before putting it in his hands as he contemplated the stupidity of the remark. I have a strong suspicion that the night before, with lad’s humour, it would have been a little different, but…

Derek looked at Frank coolly and said: “Can we chat about those comments in my room please.” He then walked out. Frank bit his lip before following him.

“What was that about?” Katie asked.

“Frank has his heart in the right place, but he lacks any sort of tact. I suspect he is about to painfully find out that Derek expects him to learn some manners soon!” Said Ian.

“Painfully?” I asked nervously.

Ian continued. “If a prefect doesn’t do his job properly, forgets his duties or otherwise lets the side down, then he, or now she, I guess, is usually interviewed by the Head Boy. The outcome is usually that either you take a caning from him, or he takes the case to Mr McKendrick. Of course this is not really officially acknowledged to happen but a quick whacking is far better than discussing your failures with the Head!”

“What?” I asked in surprise. The ways in which my bottom could be liable seemed to be increasing all the time.

Katie looked at me rather nervously, I suspect with similar thoughts.

Tom was the one who seemed to read our minds. “Remember this is firstly a boys’ boarding school. The cane is just part of life. I doubt that there are more than ten first formers out of the forty odd that have not yet experienced it, either in the court or from their housemaster. It’s only the fact you’re in sixth form, and the Head has made it very clear to staff and prefects that you were all to be given time to settle in, that has meant none of you have got whacked yet. Five of the fifteen new boys in the sixth form have already had it, you know.”

“What special treatment?” Asked Katie rather indignantly.

A boy called Robert said: “How about lights on, three hours after lights out? I think that was your dorm, Katie? We can see your dorms, and the light peeking out of the curtains, from some of our rooms. The sixth form boys would not have got away with that. In fact four lower sixth formers were caned for that just before half-term! We prefects can turn a blind eye to an hour or so for the other sixth formers, but hardly after two in the morning for second consecutive weekends.”

It was at that point Frank returned; he looked very nervous as he addressed us. “Derek would like to see you both in his study. I’ll take you there.”

Derek had effectively two rooms to himself: an airy study and, through another door that was ajar, his bedroom which did not look very tidy. I guessed dorm inspections did not apply to the Head Boy!

Derek looked at Frank who made a very humble apology and then, glancing at Derek, went on to say that he had heard we needed some practice in using the cane, and perhaps he could help by providing a target!

Katie and I just looked at each other as Derek said he would give us a few tips, and we could practice on a cushion first before going on to Frank. He would demonstrate a couple on his bent over backside before we each got to give him a couple too. The advantage to Frank was he would a) show how sorry he was; b) he was getting to keep his trousers on, and c) he would not be getting all six from him.

Katie agreed instantly, leaving me little choice. All this sudden caning seemed rather too much to me.

Frank flinched as he faced the window while we attacked Derek’s pillow, attached with a thin belt to the back of a wooden chair. The cane felt unwieldy at first, but soon we both had a fair idea what to do.

Then Derek brought Frank across and I watched as his trousers tightened as he bent over the chair.

Derek picked up the cane and started tapping, before then unleashing a vicious swipe towards the top of the target area.

To my amazement Frank took the blow in near silence.

On the second swipe, just below the first, I heard a small gasp.

Katie was given the cane and Derek advised her where to aim for – right in the centre of poor Frank’s backside. She put plenty of effort into the two whacks, and again I was amazed at how little he reacted to the stick whistling and whacking his read end.

I felt suddenly rather nervous as Katie, with rather a flushed look, passed the cane to me. Frank gave a barely perceptible twitch as Derek pointed to the lower part of his bottom that I was to target. All sorts of emotions were swirling in me; this was very different from whacking a pillow. I was about to inflict pain on someone, to deliberately injure them.

Eventually, when I realised I could not tap to line up any more, I gritted my teeth, raised the cane and brought it down hard. I felt the impact through my arm as the cane cracked into his trousers, and was amazed once more at Frank’s resilience.

Slowly raising it again I tried to whip it down harder and flick my wrist as Derek suggested. The noise of the cane impact was louder and Frank gave a mild: “Ooh,” as a result.

He was clearly grimacing as he stood and rather formally thanked us and shook our hands.

Derek let him go, but asked us to stay a few minutes.

He asked us what we felt. Katie had clearly found the thing rather exciting. I confessed to finding the experience confusing, trying to deal with my aversion to inflicting pain, with the need to carry out the punishment.

Derek comment was that is how it should be. There were too many prefects in the past, and some teachers even now, who seemed to get an unhealthy enjoyment out of it, in his view.

Katie was the one who nervously asked what he would do if one of us did not do our duties properly.

It took him a few minutes of thought, but eventually he said: “Me caning another prefect is purely voluntary, an alternative to the Head. I guess you can take it from each other if you prefer. I can go into my bedroom while you sort it out between you. However, it is very rare. Frank is only the second prefect I’ve done it to. I think last year’s HB was a bit more enthusiastic, but he still only did it about a dozen times in the whole year, and a couple of boys got it twice in that, so let’s not worry about it!”

Katie rather relaxed as she heard that news.

It was getting close to lights out, and he was on patrol, so he started to let us go. However he then gave a warning that certainly made me think, and rather wiped the smile off Katie’s face.

“Tomorrow you have your ‘practice’ with Mr McKendrick,” he said. “I’d wear some modest underwear. He might suggest you practice on each other. That’s what he did with Ian, Tom and me. Trust me, it is very difficult to say no!”

Then as an afterthought he also said: “Stick to one layer though. The tradition is always over one layer in the school!”

Katie replied mischievously: “So Frank was unusually lucky tonight.”

Derek shut her up when he responded: “But maybe you don’t know what he wasn’t wearing under his trousers!”

Returning to Derek’s warning, the prospect of Katie and I having a go at each others’ backsides clearly was one that left us both aghast. For the first time I thought Katie might agree that the school caning policy seemed rather over the top. However, that seemed to be the price of arriving at one of the better boarding schools in the country.

Derek had one more piece of advice. As he left to do his patrol he asked: “You’re still in the same dorms aren’t you?”

When we muttered that we were he replied: “You should ask Mr McKendrick about that. You are entitled to better rooms as prefects.”

“I’m quite comfortable as I am.” I replied rather abruptly. Katie nodded.

“Trust me, you won’t soon.” He replied.

I did not believe him, but how right he was.

I did not bother going back to the sixth form common room, but went first with Kate to see Matron, who congratulated us both with a hug and said she was delighted to see some girls in such a role. She promised to have the ribbons on our sleeves in the morning, saying it would not take her too long. After we went to our respective houses and rooms, I had just taken my jumper and tie off when Mary came in. She looked very worried.

“Where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you.” She asked.

“With Mr McKendrick…” I answered.

“Oh!” She interrupted and then said: “I have got a problem. I need your help, Amelia!”

I should have read the warning signs but didn’t. “Of course.” I replied. “What is it?”

“Robert has reported me to their Prefect’s Court. I am really scared. Will you come with me.”

I saw her confusion as my face fell. “I, I am really sorry,” I said. “But I can’t. The reason the Head wanted to see me was that he wanted girl prefects and asked me be one.”

“Wow! Well done,” she said, rather absently. “But that’s okay, a prefect can act as supporter too.”

“Yes, but the Head made me senior prefect. I have to sit with the Head Boy as one of the judging panel.”

“Oh!” She said. I noted her eyes looked a bit red as she continued. “I guess I’ll ask Carol then. I am sorry, but I have been so stupid. I can’t imagine bending over in my knickers in front of all the boys for Derek to c-cane me.”

I tried to comfort her and replied: “You’re worrying too much. The court may not decide that, and the Head and Derek both agree that the boys should not see a girl punished. If it does get to that then you won’t suffer that embarrassment.”

“Oh! Thanks Amelia,” she started, and then her face fell in shock as she put two and two together and hit four.

I watched the horrified realisation, the step away from me, the raised finger as she pointed at me. “It’s you isn’t it? That why the Head has made you senior prefect. You’re the one who’s going to cane me!”

As I blushed and looked down she burst into tears and threw herself on her bed. When I approached she shouted at me to “Go Away” and to “Leave me alone”. It was very soon after that my other two dorm-mates came in and soon had the story out of Mary. Carol stayed with Mary. Liz at least listened to my version of events and congratulated me, but suggested I perhaps give Mary a little while to calm down.

I decided to go back to the prefect’s common room and found a couple of them still there. Tom was one and I told him what had happened. I also asked if anybody would mind if I bunked down on the better looking of the two sofas as I was pretty sure Mary was not going to be in a fit state to see me in the dorm for that evening, and in all probability the rest of the week. Tom was sympathetic and found me some blankets from somewhere. I endured a fairly uncomfortable night.

The reaction from the rest of the girls the following day was superficially “well done” et cetera to both me and Katie, but both of us could feel the change. We were now different, with our returned blazers now marking us as being different with their ribbons, in the same colours as the school tie, on the sleeve. Katie realised just how different when I told her about Mary and my night on the sofa. I told her I was going to ask for a prefect’s room and she agreed we should share.

I asked for a meeting with Mr McKendrick directly after breakfast. Initially he was sceptical, but after he’d heard my story he agreed. He was shocked that I’d spent the night on the sofa! I made it clear I was not asking for my own room, like Tom and Ian had, but two-person sharing which was the standard for ‘ordinary’ prefects. I also pointed out that Derek had asked us to police the lights out policy in the girls sixth form dorms, at least to some level, and that would not be easy if were actually in the dorm we were supposed to police. I was relieved that his final comment was that he had always wondered about whether that prefect’s privilege was justified, but that he at least now could see some good reasoning behind it.

Katie and I had a room, nominally for four but now with only two beds in it, sorted by mid afternoon and we moved our stuff in directly after classes. I was going to miss having Liz as a dorm-mate, but I could not face the prospect of being with Mary, especially if the court did indeed decide I was to cane her. I suspect in my heart even then I knew she was doomed, the conversation with the Head the night before had more or less indicated that to me.

As our ‘Training Session’ with Mr McKendrick approached, both of us were perceptibly nervous. We both decided on our sports ‘shorts’ (more like knickers in any case) instead of our usual underwear under our skirts.

Mr McKendrick welcomed us in and first discussed how important it was to cane safely. As he did so, each of us bent over as he showed the other the angle to hit and where to avoid, including the dangers of ‘wraparound’. I felt very vulnerable as he gently touched the cane on my skirt-clad rear as he outlined to Katie what to do and not do.

We then spent a while whacking a cushion. He seemed mildly impressed with our technique. Neither of us mentioned Derek’s ‘training’ last night, nor of course Frank.

He then came to the procedure and outlined the rules. First and foremost a pupil had to voluntarily submit to punishment in every aspect. We were to give orders, but if they refused our only recourse was to refer them to him. This meant that the girl (in our case) had to take her skirt off or lift it herself and had to get in the requested position herself. He also said canings should normally be over one layer of clothing only; underpants or sports shorts were both permissible.

Apparently before he had become Head, prefects giving boys canings ‘on the bare’ were still allowed. It was one of the first things he’d put a stop to. There was only one circumstance he would countenance it, and that was a pupil caught ‘cheating’ (extra layers or padding) could elect to take it bare rather than the normal extra three penalty strokes. But it had to be their decision. However, as far as he knew no boy had ever cheated in his time as Head; it was too easy to be found out and the deterrent was enough.

He then paused and said: “Neither of you have been caned before, have you?”

We glanced at each other knowing what was coming, then rather reluctantly shook our heads.

He continued. “If done properly, a caning is a humiliating and exceptionally painful punishment. I personally believe those giving that punishment should have some idea of that. Among those schools like ours that allow prefects to administer corporal punishment the concern is always excessive zeal, especially by those who are not fully aware of what exactly they are inflicting. You also need practice in ordering the person into position. Therefore to finish this I would suggest the best way would be for each of you to give the other a caning, if you agree.”

It was, as far as I could see, impossible not to agree. He had awarded us positions of trust and it came across almost as a question about whether we merited it.

“How many strokes do you think is appropriate, sir?” I asked nervously.

He pondered for a second then said: “It is not a punishment, but an experience. I would suggest two strokes, but given properly.”

Katie and I had already agreed to go through with it if we were asked and I nodded and said: “Very well, I agree.”

Katie equally nervously gave the same answer.

The Head smiled and then asked: “So who’s going first?”

We had not discussed that and once again looked at each other. I decided I really did not fancy the idea of inflicting pain on someone knowing that they were going to do it to me directly after. “I’ll take the caning first, if that’s okay?”

The question was aimed at Katie who shrugged.

My body was tingling with nerves as I waited for Katie to start.

After a little verbal encouragement from the Head she took a deep breath and looked at me. “Amelia, you know why you are here. Take off your blazer and skirt and place them on that chair.”

Taking my blazer off was easy. Even with my sports knickers underneath it was much more embarrassing to remove my skirt, but soon enough it was folded on the chair.

The Head was at least trying to observe in the most discrete manner possible, but he could not resist a comment. “I see you came prepared,” as he saw my pants.

I shrugged and said: “We heard a rumour that this might happen.”

Katie was getting into her stride. “Now bend over the back of that chair and grip the front as low as you can.”

I did so, and then felt Katie start to pull my blouse up as the long tails were clearly in the way.

“No!” Said the Head. “Ask her to do it!” The only time you should touch her clothing is if you suspect she is wearing padding. If you suspect, then say you wish to check her underwear and discretely lift the waist elastic to look.”

After a muttered apology she ordered me to lift the tails of my blouse out the way.

I was a bit unnerved when she decided to follow the Head’s formula to have a peek under my shorts at my bare bottom, maybe for practice, before saying: “Hold tight. Two strokes. If you move before the last stroke I will give it again. Understood?”

“Yes, Katie.” I replied and shut my eyes as I waited.

She took her time in lining up the first stroke and then I heard the swipe and the crack as the cane landed across the meat of my bottom. I gasped but managed not to cry out.

The second stroke landed almost immediately after, and more or less on the same place. I heard an “Oow” escape me and immediately cursed my lack of self control. As I slowly stood and explored the damage the Head was already analysing Katie’s performance. His key points were; take your time between stokes, don’t let the punishment be over too quickly, and try not to put strokes on top of each other as one could cut the skin.

I listened although most of my attention was with a throbbing line of pain in my backside, on which I could feel the welt forming as I continued to discretely probe it as I put my skirt back on. I took my blazer off the chair and put it on another out the way. I felt more comfortable for the next stage with it off.

Once the Head had finished, Katie looked nervously at me. I picked the cane off the desk and ordered her to take her blazer and skirt off, then to bend over the chair. “Hitch your blouse out the way!” I ordered.

She having done it to me, I did indeed take a quick look inside the top of her shorts before telling her: “Two strokes. Hold still until after the last stroke otherwise I will repeat it.”

Finally I said: “Are you ready?”

“Yes, Amelia,” she said in a voice that was higher than her normal pitch.

I looked at her maroon shorts piped with white down the sides, then placed the cane across the middle. I was very nervous with Mr McKendrick watching me.

Finally I slowly raised it, gritted my teeth and brought it down hard on the middle Katie’s backside. She gave a little grunt.

I lined the second one up, low, and after counting to ten in my head whacked it down harder. Katie gave a small scream and jumped up rubbing her bottom.

I ordered her brusquely to get dressed and told her I hoped never to have to do that again.

“Me too!” Was the reply through gritted teeth.

With that the Head dismissed us, but had a final comment. “Can you warn the other girls that in the first half term I set very strict rules to prefects, teachers and housemasters about the use of the slipper and cane as you settled in. Most of you have not abused that, and no-one has gone over the top. However, from now on those rules will gradually be relaxed and you all will be treated like any other sixth former.”

We both agreed to do so as we made our somewhat painful way down the corridor.

We both returned to our new dorm to recover. Katie had some cream. She told me her mother had given it to her ‘just in case’ and we put some on each other after comparing notes on the experience and examining our marks. I had one thick one as the two strokes had merged.

We both hoped we would not have to ‘do’ each other again. Katie was all for making a pact to go easy on each other in that case. My reply was that the others didn’t do that so neither should we, and if anyone ever suspected then there would be real problems for us. I told her I expected her to do me properly if it came to it, although I fervently was hoping that was not going to happen!

After about half an hour we decided to go back to the comfy chairs in the prefect’s common room. The court was tomorrow and I wanted to read the minutes to get some idea of what sort of indiscretion led to what level of punishment, before I was to assist in making those decisions.

The boys though were agog to hear how our ‘training’ session went. I left Katie to satisfy their curiosity and grabbed the minutes of the Prefect’s court for the year so far.

It was fairly well laid out although some prefect’s handwriting was clearer than others. The name of the pupils and prefect reporting were listed, then the summary of the case, including any questions on the facts or cases for leniency, or indeed aggravating factors.

The next section was the discussion of the senior prefects and the sentence awarded.

Finally there was a note indicating the sentence had been carried out. Most cases ended in a caning, although younger pupils were often slippered. A few were dismissed in the light of ‘new evidence’ and only one had led to a (new) prefect being caned for being over zealous with a first form boy in the second week of term.

As I was reading Derek came in and sat down next to me. “How’s your bum?” He asked.

“A little sore.” I said quietly and then changed the subject. “You were right about the dorms, Katie and I are sharing now.”

Derek smiled. “Yeah, Tom told me you slept on the sofa last night!”

He then asked me about my ‘exciting reading’ and went through some of the cases to give me a better idea what would happen. As we chatted I think this was the first time I began to realise that I was getting to like Derek quite well.

Mary and I had got on quite well together, but the stress of her impending appointment with the court seemed to be telling heavily. On Tuesday she had been sort of okay, apologising for being so upset the night before, but on Wednesday she avoided me, and in the subject we shared she and Carol did not sit in the row behind us (Liz and me) as they had before, but on the other side of the class. I saw her looking across at me occasionally chewing her lip. Thrice our teacher had to warn her to concentrate, on the third occasion he mentioned his slipper and after that she at least made the effort to look interested.

Liz told me Mary was petrified. In the dorm on Tuesday night she’d not really slept and kept Carol and her awake too. Liz was going to tell me what she had done, but I told her not to as I was supposed to keep an independent mind. Liz did say she could see no way that Mary was not going to be caned but pleaded with me to go easy on her. All I could say was I was one of four and I would make sure it was fair and any mitigating circumstances were fully taken into account.

During the day Katie and I also had the unenviable task of telling the rest of our colleagues about the Head’s warning, which was met with a number of worried looks as they absorbed the fact that their bottoms now were much more vulnerable.

As I entered the Prefect’s common room on Wednesday, directly after dinner, I found it had been set up very differently. At the furthest end of the room a table was set up with four chairs behind it. A smaller table was to one side for the prefect rostered to take the minutes.

I also saw that an area had been screened off in the corner behind the smaller table. I was surprised it was already there, but then remembered that there was the remote chance Katie and I would need to disappear behind it if a prefect was found to be delinquent in his reporting.

There was a door behind the table, which I had thought was to a cupboard, but could see now was into a second smaller room which Derek and Tom were in, along with a boy called James whose turn it was to take minutes. I later found it was a quiet study room, popular near exams, but otherwise rather ignored. However, it also served as a room for the senior prefects to deliberate on each case, and a room for pupils to wait their turn for punishment the following night.

I went through and saw they were looking at the list of cases. There were five, involving a total of ten pupils. The time for each case was nominally ten minutes with the first at seven, and they were arranged in order of age. The one case involving the four sixth formers was therefore at the end. I knew the other girl was Fran by this point, but for the first time I got an inkling of the offence; out-of-bounds and contraband, and I saw against Mary a specific note saying ‘assault’.

Based on that I now knew the Head was being unusually lenient. Out-of-bounds was one of the ‘serious offences’ on the school rules list. However, of course we did not know the facts for which all of us would need to wait.

After Ian arrived in the room the four of us had a brief chat in which Derek for my benefit explained the procedure: Listen to both sides, prefect first; ask questions; retire and consider; finally announce decision. He reminded James that he was only there to take minutes and that the discussions between the four of us were not to be repeated outside, even to another prefect.

Derek then said to me: “Have you noted the second case?”

I looked more carefully at the list. It was against a second former and marked “spitting”. The offence had happened that afternoon and to my shock it was Katie who’d reported him.

“Spitting is not usually that serious, although it depends where he spat and with what intent.” Said Derek. “However, let’s wait and see.”

I sincerely hoped Katie had not made a rash judgment that she was going to regret.

When we returned to the main room it was more or less full with prefects sitting on chairs around the edge. The centre of the room was cleared to await the protagonists in each case.

Cliched though it was, Derek did indeed have a gavel and he banged it on the table. I sat nervously to his left, with Ian to his right and Tom to my left. The idea was so either Tom or Derek could whisper advice to me if necessary.

A prefect went to the door and ushered in two intimidated first years. They had been caught fighting, and had been sufficiently involved not break it up when the prefect first told them to.

The two boys both admitted it and when asked what it was about they both agreed it was nothing, and they were ‘just fooling around’.

The whole thing maybe took two minutes before we retired to the back room. Derek first asked James if they had been in trouble before.

Neither had. There was a bit of discussion about how serious the fight was and eventually the conclusion was that it was clearly enough to merit coming to the court and normally get caned, but given they were both one of the small number of first years with no track record, they would each get four of the slipper.

We went back in where the two boys and the prefect all looked at us nervously. The result was announced, to the prefect’s relief, and James gave the two boys each a slip with their punishment outlined. They both had been impressively impassive as they received their sentence and then trooped out to consider their fate tomorrow night. I suspect they were fearing worse and hoping for better.

“Next case,” called Derek banging his gavel again. “Katie?”

Katie looked rather worried but jumped up and fetched in a rather belligerent looking second year. He looked almost cocky as he stood there.

Katie outlined her story. The boy had been running down the corridor and knocked a couple of others out the way. She’d seen him coming and told him to slow down! The boy had ignored her and she’d caught him and told him to stop running. The boy had sworn at her and then spat on her badge saying she was not a real prefect.

The boy’s response was he was late and he did not know she was a prefect and he did not feel he was running, just walking very fast. As for spitting, he thought the badge was a joke as he thought he knew there were no girl prefects, especially as they knew nothing of the school traditions. To say I was irritated by his attitude was an understatement. For the first time I asked a question. “Did he not note the prefect ribbons on her sleeves too?”

Brazenly, in my view, he said he thought they too were similarly fake.

The private discussion was interesting. Ian felt Katie was being rather overzealous in bringing him to the court, as there had indeed been no girl prefects until Tuesday and neither of us had any duties yet, even if spitting at some-one was a pretty disgusting act. Tom sympathized with Ian but felt the boy had pushed over the limit. Derek then asked me. I bluntly said that the boy’s attitude was exactly why the Head had chosen an assertive girl like Katie as prefect. The boy did not want nor feel the necessity to obey a prefect as she was ‘only’ a girl. I did not believe that the boy could assume the badge and ribbons were a joke as wearing either if you weren’t a prefect would be a very serious offence in the school’s eyes. Finally I said in my view the authority of Katie, and to some degree myself as another girl prefect, was on the line if the boy was let off lightly. In my view the court should treat it as a direct insult on all prefects and punish accordingly. The debate went on but eventually Tom agreed and Ian at least agreed she was not over zealous. The boy had been in trouble often before and with my argument winning the boy was awarded three strokes of the cane.

He blanched when he heard the punishment and left looking very deflated. I suspect the worst he had expected would have been the slipper. As he left with his note I wondered if he would appeal to Mr McKendrick. In contrast Katie was clearly very relieved that I would not be escorting her behind the curtain!

The next case was a third former who was caught out of bed after lights out and had been carrying snacks smuggled in for a ‘party’. It was border-line as it was not that long after lights-out and it was on a Friday, but he got two strokes of the cane. He was the first to bring a supporting friend, who said that basically he had been pushed into it and could we go easy on him. However, nobody was saying who it was doing the persuading!

Two fourth formers caught smoking were both given five strokes each, causing much surprise in the room.

There had been a lot of debate between the three boys about whether four or six would be appropriate and they looked at my incredulously when I suggested they compromise at five.

“It’s not traditional!” Said Derek when I asked ‘why not’ to their negative response.

“Neither are girls here, but here I am! Traditions can be broken or new ones made!”

After a pause Derek laughed and said: “Okay you win. Five it is?”

Tom and Ian nodded with half amused smiles.

That left the final case, the sixth formers who’d started the chain of events leading to me sitting at this table. Robert stood up and brought in Mary, Fran and two boys called Tony and Gregor from the lower sixth. Carol was there as a supporter for Mary and Fran. A boy called Keith was there to support his two friends. They all looked somewhat nervous, although Mary was by far the worst. She looked on the point of tears. Gregor I thought looked mildly resentful at being tried by prefects more or less the same age as himself.

Robert told his story. On Sunday morning, a time normally allocated for either free study or recreation after chapel, just before midday he was running the cross country track which ran for a large part near the edge of the school grounds. As he came along he saw some people climbing the wall and stopped and watched as they helped each other over and passed a couple of bags across. He recognised them as the four now in front of us. The bags contained various snacks, but also cigarettes. It was clear they had walked the mile or so into town and made some purchases. None of them had a pass-out slip. When he had stopped them one girl had tried to run away and he’d caught her. She struggled to run away again and had slapped him hard on the face and painfully kneed him between the legs before her friend had persuaded her to give up.

Mary, I noted, had tears running down her cheeks at this point.

Gregor spoke first and basically tried to take as much of the blame as possible. He said the idea was his and the cigarettes also. He had persuaded the girls to go for the adventure. Tony admitted to willingly going along. Keith pointed out that Tony was new to the sixth form and asked that we should take that into account in determining his fate.

Fran was apologetic and said nervously she’d gone along for fun and now realised how foolish leaving the school without permission was.

Mary could only say: “Sorry!” Before looking at Carol whose hand she was holding for support. Carol basically said Mary also regretted going and bitterly regretted her behaviour towards Robert. She had panicked in trying to escape as she was scared of getting into trouble. Finally she asked us to bear in mind that Mary had never been in trouble at any school before and that this incident was out of character. Carol continued that Mary was appalled at what she had done and coupled with the prospect of being punished had barely slept since. She rather formally begged the Court to use whatever discretion it had.

During Carol’s well made address, Mary just stood with tears running down her cheeks. She seemed totally unnerved by what was happening.

We then retired. Derek said what I already knew, that out-of-bounds cases normally went to the Head, but as this was a first time for the four concerned, and they were in sixth form, the Head had let it stay with the court. However, it did mean we needed to be looking at the more severe end of our sanctions, although as the Head knew and had commented, we did not need to consider that option.

Gregor was easy. He had admitted principal responsibility and could realistically expect little else other than the maximum eight strokes.

Tony, like Fran, was new to the sixth form, and also had not yet been in trouble. I made the case that as newbies we should be more lenient and also that there was going to be a certain stigma in Fran’s case to being one of the first girls caned. I tried for three for each of them, but the others all felt the absolute minimum was four.

That left Mary. I was in no doubt that normally it would be eight and that is where the discussion started. I said that she was clearly very ashamed and maybe we should go for six.

Ian in particular thought this was lenient but after some discussion eventually six was indeed agreed.

Derek told all four of them they were lucky not to be seeing Mr McKendrick before announcing their punishments, and that in all cases he felt the punishment was the absolute minimum they could award. Mary still buried her head into Carol when her six was announced.

With that the court was over. In the back room we reviewed with James the minutes. Also I was told that I needed to speak with Fran and Mary to ensure they understood what was expected the following night. Tom agreed to do the same for the two first formers and Ian would speak to Tony. All the others had been through the procedure before and therefore should of course know what to do.

I decided both to take Katie with me, and to do my quiet chat that evening. Fran was in the sixth form common room and we took her to our new dorm room. She said she felt nervous but accepted she deserved it, commenting on her fate: “I guess I’ll survive.”

We checked she knew what was happening and she’d already been told in good detail by Gregor. I told her about the one layer of clothing rule, but suggested that she consider her sports shorts rather than knickers. She nodded at that and, with no questions, left us to find Mary.

She was in her dorm by herself, and clearly was struggling. We were as sympathetic as possible as we explained what she had to do, and again I told her about the one layer of clothing and that her sports knickers might be more modest (and a bit thicker). She nodded, then asked a few questions: (No, this time she could not bring a friend; Yes the boys would hear but not see the punishment; Yes you would get extra if you did not stay in position). I encouraged her to be brave.

I think she desperately wanted to ask me to ‘go easy’ but of course that was not really something she could say. She knew I think that she was lucky not to be getting all eight like Gregor.

Thursday came. I saw Fran a couple of times. She seemed to be okay, and smiled wryly when we met. In contrast, Mary seemed totally absorbed with the prospect what was to happen. After seeing her and remembering the threat she’d had of a slippering yesterday I took it on myself to speak to her teachers that she had to ask them to go easy on her if she was distracted.

She did not turn up at evening dinner. Carol came up and had a word saying that she was concerned about how Mary was handling it. All I could say was try to encourage her, tell her just to hold on and not do anything silly.

I sought out Derek before the evening session started and told him I was worried.

“About Mary?” He asked.

I nodded, then asked: “What are the rules if she can’t stay down? I can’t just keep adding penalty strokes.”

Derek thought for a moment. “Like most of the teachers, we are not allowed to force someone to take a punishment. Only the Head or a housemaster can do that. However, if they stand up the third time then I would give them a choice; straight to Mr McKendrick, they can ask to be held, or they can carry on. It’s only happened once so far this year and about three times last year, and in all cases the boys carried on. For them it would be utter humiliation to accept being held or going to the Head.”

He then continued. “However I don’t know whether that logic holds for girls, and to be honest I have never seen someone quite so upset at the prospect of being caned. Most, I think, try to pretend it is not really happening or that it’s not going to be so bad until the whacks start. That’s what I always did.”

I replied: “I worry this is going to be a disaster, maybe for me, but mostly for her, and her self-esteem.”

Derek was silent.

I had a final question: “What would you do if someone asked to be held from the beginning?”

Another long pause. “I would agree but give them two extra. If they had already stood up once or twice then I would add one extra above the penalty for standing. After three I would not add anything as it just becomes too much.”

I nodded and said thanks. Derek said finally: “You can be sympathetic but you must show no weakness. Whatever else, try to be absolutely firm.”

I went to my room for awhile to think, and I wanted to be alone. More and more I found this caning all a bit barbaric and was feeling both nervous and scared at the prospect ahead.

At quarter to eight I went to the common room. The chairs were arranged facing the front. In the middle a solitary chair stood by itself. Its back was facing the others. The screen was set such that we could see most of the boys but not the chair at the front. Tom said when it came to Fran and Mary it would be reset so that none of the boys would see what was happening.

The slipper and a couple of identical canes lay on the table at the front. As the prefects drifted in they looked relaxed. I felt anything but!

As was the case the day before the room was close to full. Apart from a couple who were rostered everyone was there.

Before we started Derek made an announcement. This was the first time that pupils were being punished with members of the opposite sex present. If he heard of anybody making inappropriate remarks either in the meeting or after then he promised he would do his absolute upmost to ensure he, or she (with a glance at us) would bitterly regret it.

That out the way he looked at the clock. It was eight exactly and at his signal a prefect went to the door and escorted the eight boys and two girls into the room and took them straight through to the small back room. Various levels of nerves were shown. One of the two smokers for example looked more resigned to his fate rather than in any way worried, while the other was chewing his lip nervously. As for the four sixth formers, Gregor kept his eyes straight ahead, while Tony and Fran nervously looked around. Both let their eyes rest on the canes as they walked past. Mary looked petrified but walked purposefully though focussing mostly on Gregor’s back in front of her. She averted her eyes from the table where the canes lay as she went past.

Derek signalled me to join him in going into the small room with James, whose minute taking job included noting the punishments had been carried out, including any penalties that were applied. Derek told the miscreants that they would be called in rough order of age and reminded them of the procedure. There were no questions when he asked, and with that he left them standing facing one of the walls in the room to consider why they were there. They were of course to remain silent.

After checking all was okay Derek picked up the slipper and James brought in the first boy. In a nervous voice he apologised for fighting and embarrassing the school by his actions. He then was pointed to the chair. Katie and I discretely slipped behind the screen for the first time.

We sat on a couple of chairs and watched the other prefects’ reaction as the punishment proceeded; most remained impassive throughout.

The boy was ordered to drop his trousers and bend over. Four resounding whacks came in fairly rapid succession, but apart from a small yelp, he took it in silence. As soon as he said thank you to Derek we knew it was safe to come out. His face was flushed but otherwise he looked fine. He then shook each of our hands before departing.

The same procedure followed for his friend, other than Ian did the ‘honours’. The boy gasped and grunted his way though his four whacks and looked to be in much more discomfort as he went round the room before leaving.

Next was ‘Katie’s’ second former. He looked a lot less cocky as he apologised, including a specific one to Katie, something he technically did not need to do. Derek chose to do him himself, I suspect as he was going to ensure he really felt them. We heard the whacks as three blows were dealt out at about ten second intervals. He gave a gasp on the first two and a bit of a wail on the last. He looked like he had learned a lesson, and he made a point of apologizing again, both to Katie and me for his comments on girl prefects as he made his pained way round.

The third former took his two strokes from Tom well, as did the first of the two five stroke smokers, whom Derek did. However, the second was the first who made a fuss. He was clearly much more nervous and stuttered his was through the apology. Ian was doing the caning and the boy took an inordinately long time in getting his trousers down and bending over. Ian was not happy about something and checked he was only wearing one layer; I found out later he had elected to wear his gym shorts rather than pants, which was quite unusual for the boys.

He screamed on the first two strokes. However, on the third he lost control. I saw one or two prefects giving looks of disgust as Tom ordered him down again and told him he would get the stroke again. He bawled his way though his three remaining strokes. I felt sorry for Fran and especially Mary listening to the racket.

His face was a mess as he slowly walked round shaking our hands, and apologising for not taking his punishment better. It was for me now hard not to feel sorry for the lad. I had been impressed till then with the way most had submitted to this ritual. However, clearly not all boys could manage it.

I knew that there were now only the four sixth formers in the room, waiting for James to bring them in. However, Derek signalled for him to wait and came across to me.

“We normally do groups in ascending order of seriousness, but it might be easier to do boys first to save changing the room. What do you think?” He said quietly.

I thought of Mary waiting till last and shuddered. “Let’s keep with the traditional order,” I replied. “If we do Tony before Fran then we only need a quick change round for Gregor at the end.”

“Worried about Mary?” He whispered very quietly in my ear.

I nodded and whispered back. “I just don’t want her to be last.”

Tony nervously looked around the room before taking a deep breath and making his apology. He was already fiddling with his belt as Katie and I disappeared behind the screen once again. He obviously had himself in position ahead of time as the first command Derek gave was: “Four strokes! Remember to hold still.”

Judging by the sound Derek put extra effort when caning sixth formers. Tony took them well for a first ever experience of the cane. He grunted and gasped on the first three, really only shouting out on the last. As he shook my hand my nerves were mounting. It was Fran next.

Before James ‘invited’ her in, the screen was moved and some chairs on one end adjusted. As we were doing so there was a perceptible change in the atmosphere in the room.

Only Katie and I were standing at the front as James brought Fran in. Up until then she had look very much in control of herself, but the nerves were telling as she in a rather high pitched voice apologised for leaving the school grounds without permission and ‘disgracing the traditions of the school’ (that last bit was the compulsory element).

I then escorted her behind the screen. She looked at me blank with nerves. Katie was sitting on a seat to one side. She had positioned it such that she could watch the boys’ faces and Fran at the same time, and both of us had agreed she would after challenge any boy in front of Derek who looked amused.

I took a deep breath and said: “Take your skirt off, or up if you prefer, and bend over the chair. Make sure your blouse tails are right out of the way.”

I watched as she hoisted up her skirt and blouse at the same time, and bent over the chair back only grabbing the seat once she was sure the tails would not fall back.

“Get your hands lower, grab the legs as far down as you can!”

It was funny to hear her say: “Yes Miss,” as she complied. Her maroon sports shorts were stretched tight across her rear. I walked back across the room to the desk and picked up the cane.

I wished I’d brought it with me earlier as I saw twenty odd boys watching me cross in front of them. Perhaps Derek’s words had had an impact as they all seemed to sit stony-faced, or maybe it was the baleful glare that Katie seemed to giving them. Only Derek seemed to show anything else. Perhaps I was imagining it but he seemed to give a look that said ‘good luck’.

I was glad to be behind the screen again. As I gave a first gentle tap on Fran’s rather full bottom I said: “Four Strokes. Hold still, if you let go you will get extra!”

This was different to the practice. I was here to punish someone for real. The others had been not quite real; the pain of course had been real enough and I still could see and feel a mark from Katie’s efforts but I still could not believe this.

I was still tapping Fran’s bottom and realised that the wait must be torture for her. I took a deep breath steeled myself up, told myself that I must do the duty I agreed to and, raising the cane high brought it down hard. I watched as Fran gasped and gave a little wiggle.

I tried to take two deep breaths to slow things down and repeated the stroke, a little higher. Another gasp from Fran as the agony I knew I’d inflicted sank in.

The third stroke I placed a little lower than the first two and it was probably a little harder. A “n-n-ngh” sound indicated that Fran had registered my effort.

One to go. Using the elastic on the leg cuffs of her shorts as a guide I whacked it down pretty much as hard as I could. There was a whistle and a loud crack as the stroke hit home. Fran rewarded me with a scream and jumped up with her hands going to her rear. As she turned I noticed the beginnings of tear tracks forming, although she was not sobbing. She thanked me and shook my hand and did the same with Katie. I had to stop her and quietly suggest she let her skirt fall properly into place before she faced the boys. It was enough for her to pause, whisper stuttered thanks, and wipe her eyes on her sleeve before the final ritual. After she’d finished I watched her leave the room.

James looked at me and I nodded. It was finally Mary’s turn. Mary came in and started to say her apology. She was so quiet Derek called to her to please start again and speak up.

She took a couple of breaths tried to smile (more of a grimace) at Derek and said: “Sorry,” before giving her formal apology in a louder voice.

I was relieved she seemed to be holding up as she finished and looked around confused. I had to tell her to walk over to the chair behind the screen where Katie was waiting.

Being as kind as I could I gave her the same order as Fran and she choose to undo her skirt, letting it fall to her ankles, and bent over the chair. Unlike Fran she immediately bent over as far as she could manage, both naturally lifting her blouse tails out the way and stretching her maroon sports pants tight. As I looked I felt sick. Katie grimaced. Briefly I had wondered if I could pretend to ignore it, but with Katie noticing too I had no option.

“Hold still, Mary, I am just going to check your underwear,” I said and before she could react I placed one hand on the small of her back and lifted the elastic at her waist. As I suspected, instead of seeing the bare skin of the top of her buttocks I was greeted with the sight of not just one but two pairs of white knickers.

How stupid could she be! Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!

I was furious and felt sick at the same time. I now had to deal with this. It was absolutely the last thing I needed.

“Don’t move!” I ordered angrily.

Mary already knew she was in deep trouble and whispered desperately: “Amelia, please…”

“Silence!” I nearly shouted at her. “You will not speak at all unless spoken to. Understood?”

“Yes, Amelia,” was the petrified reply.

I needed time to think. I walked over to the far corner at the front and beckoned Derek to me, as well as Katie. I could see Derek briefly glance at Mary’s upturned maroon clad backside before deliberately positioning himself so he faced away from the sight.

“She’s got two pairs of knickers under those sports shorts.” I whispered urgently.

Derek swore quietly and shook his head. “You’ve no choice, get it down to one layer and three penalty strokes. If she prefers, there is the bare option. Then I’ll make sure that nobody dares move on this side, I am sure Katie (he’d clearly guessed our plan) can help in that from her vantage point. The only other choice for Mary is of course the Head.”

He paused, swore again, then continued to whisper: “Sorry Amelia, I know this must be horrible for you, and you Katie.”

I nodded and walked slowly back, followed by Katie. Derek returned to his chair but, I noted turned it slightly so he could watch his prefect’s reactions.

I gathered my thoughts and said coldly: “Mary, stand up.”

She reluctantly faced me, and I saw the fear in her eyes as she saw the fury in my face.

“You have more than one pair of undergarments on. Adjust your attire NOW and school rules mean there are now three penalty strokes extra.” I announced impassively.

“Please, I am sorry, don’t give me extra, please,” she begged.

“Do what you are told!” I ordered loudly.

Slowly she pulled her maroon shorts down and the first pair of knickers.

But she still would not bend over.

“Please, not extra.” She begged in tears.

“There are two other options; get dressed and I will take you to see Mr McKendrick, or you can take the original six with your knickers down!”

I am sure I heard a noise from one of the boys, confirmed as I saw a flash of anger in Katie’s countenance from her seat. However, she did not need to point as Derek got in first, saying quietly: “Paul, go and stand with your face to the wall in that corner.”

There was a pause before Derek said in a dangerously quiet voice: “NowI”

I heard the chair move and a few footsteps as he did as he was told.

“Come on, Mary, make up your mind. If not, then perhaps it is best I take you to Mr McKendrick.” I said implacably.

Katie came across, went up to her and whispered: “Come on! Take ’em down, those knickers aren’t going to help much anyway.”

Mary looked at her, but would have only seen sympathy for her plight, which was one totally of her own making. Eventually she gave an exclamation of something like: “I am so dumb!” She turned round, yanked her last pair of underwear down and dived back over the chair.

Facing me was her rather petite bottom sticking up in the air. Her blouse slipped high enough to ensure her skin was exposed from her narrow waist to the start of her dark socks just below the knee. The maroon and white of her lost undergarments, as well as the grey skirt were all pooled round her black shoes which were more or less together.

“Six strokes,” I said to Mary. “Hold tight and this will soon be over. Don’t move, otherwise you will get extra!”

While the last statement was phrased as an order, on my part it was more of a plea. I did not want another debate with her on penalty strokes, and I was acutely aware that she was embarrassing herself in front of the other prefects, something she might find she regretted later.

I decided to do my best to whack from top to bottom of her rear and placed the cane on the upper part of her hindquarters. She was snuffling as I started her punishment with a couple of light taps.

Then, with a swish and crack, I brought it down. As a stroke it was hard enough although certainly not anything like my full effort. I was scared in case she jumped up immediately.

“Oooh!” She wailed, but held tight.

I saw the line on her skin whiten before turning red. It was easy to aim the next stroke a little lower.

I tapped a few times then brought the cane down harder a bit below the first.

“Aaah,” she shouted as the result was felt.

I felt that was enough without putting quite my full effort in and after a pause I whacked the third down right in the middle of her bottom.

She screamed and started to sob loudly as I watched the third red line form on her backside. I could see her bottom wriggling as she coped with the pain.

Raising the cane again I whacked another hard stroke. I was relieved she was still gripping the chair tightly despite another loud scream amongst the continuous sobs.

After a longer pause to allow the writhings to settle, I whacked down the cane more or less as hard as I could low on her buttocks.

She gave a banshee wail and lost her control, standing with her hands clamped on her rear, oblivious to anything else as she faced me. I was very glad the screen was in place, as I am sure she would be when she reflected on this later.

I went as close to her as I dared and said loudly: “Mary you are not finished. Get back over that chair now. You still have two strokes to go!”

She looked at me beseechingly. My face was set in stone, but my heart wanted to throw the cane down and tell her it was over. However, I had a duty to perform.

She still stood there. Eventually I said more quietly, but firmly: “You prefer to go to the Head?”

Finally, she slowly turned back to the chair and resumed the position.

As soon as she had a good grip I whacked the cane as hard as I could at the lowest point of her buttocks. The scream was ear splitting but at least she held on.

Relief. Only one more stroke and it didn’t matter what she did after that. I felt I never wanted to do this to her, or anyone else for that matter, as I surveyed six parallel lines across her buttocks. In my logic of the moment the best way to achieve that in her case was to ensure that she felt this final blow for as long as possible.

Steeling myself, I took aim, slanting the cane across her bottom and raising it high. I put everything into that last stroke, including the anger I felt at her putting me through this ordeal. The cane landed with a resounding “Thwack” cross-crossing the middle four of my previous efforts.

The “Aaagh” must have been heard half way across the school as she stood up and finally could touch her bottom without fear of further infliction.

I barely saw her; a mist of mixed feelings had engulfed me as I marched over to the table and half slammed the cane down on the table. Thank goodness it was over.

By the time I walked back, Mary had regained enough composure to look at me. I was shocked as she collapsed onto me saying how sorry she was, and I found myself comforting the person that I had chastised only a minute before.

It must have been three or four minutes before she had enough composure that I could gently release her embrace and encourage her to pull up her knickers, shorts and of course her skirt.

She gasped and winced as she pulled up her layers and then embraced Katie before finally stumbling beyond the screen to face the boys.

It took a lot longer than normal as she went round the room shaking their hands and apologising for making such a scene, but finally she staggered out, no doubt to find Carol who I knew had been lent Katie’s jar of cold cream. She was the only girl in the sixth form with the stuff, although I knew a number of us, including me, were planning to visit the chemist (with a pass-out slip of course) at the weekend to get some, just in case!

After a brief rearrangement of the room it was Gregor’s turn. As he came out Derek led Paul in to the small room to consider his position.

I sat behind the screen locked in a different world, trying to calm down and make something of what I’d just done to Fran and Mary, as Gregor took his eight without much fuss.

After he had shaken my hand and left, Derek came to see me. “That was terrible for you,” he said quietly. “I am sorry, not a good first experience.”

“No.” I replied. “I disliked doing Fran, but doing Mary I hated.”

“I was going to bring Paul back in his trousers and ask you to do him but I think maybe you’ve had enough for one day?”

“Enough, full stop.” If you want to do it like that, get Katie. She also had the training, even though she’s not so likely to ever use it, unless I resign, which to be honest I think I would be doing if I had another caning to do tonight.”

Derek smiled at me, and briefly touched my hand saying: “It’s that attitude that I think makes you special.” I felt a significant fraction of my dark thought lift as he walked away to speak to Katie. I saw Katie nod seriously and Derek then disappeared into the room where Paul was waiting.

Paul looked rather sick as he emerged from the room full of prefects and apologised, especially to me. He then took his position across the chair and I watched numbly as Katie, who was rather flushed, gave him the full eight very solid whacks across his trousers. I could see as he bent over a ruggle in the trousers around his upper thighs where I guess he had pulled his underpants down to underneath.

Although he took it well, he was still gasping after Katie’s efforts.

As soon as it was over I went back to our room and lay on my bed. I was mentally exhausted by the events of the last four evenings.

True to what Derek said, Fran and Mary did not hold any grudges about what had happened. Mary indeed came and thanked me for helping her take her punishment and apologised again for being so difficult about it. She said that she was determined to take it better if it ever happened again.

I thanked her, but suggested that it would be better for both of us if she determined that it should never happen again full stop.

End of Part One

© Joanna Jones 2010