A new headmaster is brought in to restore discipline
By Gillian Howard
My name is Joseph Mathews and I have just been appointed as the new headmaster of a mixed grammar school. I have been given a mandate by the board of governors to improve the academic achievements by any means that I think appropriate. The sporting achievements have been very good but the discipline has left room for improvement.
During the past 5 years, I have worked in both a girls Grammar school and also a boys Grammar school in positions of deputy Head. I am no stranger to dishing out corporal punishments and I am a great believer in the use of the cane for both boys and girls. I think also that most punishments should be carried out in class in front of their peers, as most misbehaviour is carried out in front of their peers. I also believe that an important part of any punishment is the fact that it is also embarrassing.
I arranged for letters to be delivered to the parents of all pupils to inform them that school would commence on the Tuesday and not the normal Monday as there was to be staff meeting all day Monday. I also included a letter explaining that all pupils would be liable to receive all forms of corporal punishments and, apart from when receiving a caning from me, they would be carried out in front of the entire class immediately. Any caning from me would be over 1 layer of clothing only across the bottom up to a maximum of 8 strokes. I also emphasised that full school uniform is to be worn at all times with no exception. Any deviation would result in an automatic 6 with the slipper.
I held the staff meeting on the Monday and made sure that all teachers had in their classroom a small cane for using across the hands and also a slipper, and that they knew how to use them. They were also all issued a punishment book and told that all punishments should be included in the book.
I was surprised to find that of all the pupils that had passed their O levels, only 20 girls and 15 boys had returned to the sixth form. The rest, it appeared, had gone to a local college to continue their studies and I considered this to be a sad reflection on the academic achievements of the school.
Before assembly on Tuesday morning, I instructed the deputy headmaster and deputy headmistress to report to my office with their slippers. I told them that after assembly we would be carrying out uniform inspections. The main infringements I expected were that boys would not wear white Y fronts or knee length socks and girls would not wear school knickers.
As I finished with the school notices in the first school assembly, I informed the school their parents had all signed a consent form for the new disciplinary procedures.
Then I called out: “Could the 2 boys and 1 girl at the end of the 2nd row of lower sixth please stand and tell me their names?”
“Mark Jones, Sir.”
“Joanne Riley, Sir.”
“Graham Lowe, Sir.”
“Thank you. I would now like to inform you all that we will be holding a uniform inspection. Any pupil not in full uniform will receive 6 strokes of the slipper at the front of the hall. We will start with the upper sixth and work down the school.
“Jones, Riley and Lowe, when you have been checked and cleared or received the slipper you will then go and wait outside my office as I will not have talking during assembly. Perhaps when you have each received 6 strokes of the cane across the bottom over 1 layer of clothing then the rest of the school will soon realise that things are going to change.
Sixteen of the upper sixth girls were sent to the front and all the boys. They were told to move a yard back from the stage and to put their hands on the stage. They would all receive 3 off me and then 3 off the deputy headmaster or deputy headmistress. It was similar with the lower sixth, but in the fifth year the numbers diminished and there were no uniform infringements in the first 4 years. A lot of tears were shed, especially by the girls, as there was no holding back with the severity of the slipper.
Jones, Riley and Lowe had all received the slipper and were soon leaving my office with very painful bottoms, each with 6 welts across their bottoms. Riley, especially, was in floods of tears as she had never even been shouted at before and now she was the first girl to receive the cane over her knickers.
By the end of my first four weeks, I had caned 8 boys and 3 girls, but none from the upper sixth. At our second uniform inspection at the end of the first week, the upper sixth were still the biggest culprits with 12 girls and 14 boys punished. Now only 1 upper sixth, Sylvia Jones, had not had the slipper.
At our third inspection, there were only 8 infringements in the entire school.
Up to half term I had kept an eye on the punishments books as they were handed in every Friday and there appeared to be a relatively large number of hand canings given, but overall the discipline did appear to be improving. I had now appointed a Head Girl, Sylvia Jones, and a Head Boy, James Wilson, and they each had 5 prefects under them.
As the school broke up for Christmas, Miss Chambers, my secretary, brought in a summary of the punishments and it showed that in my first term I had caned 23 girls and 47 boys but only 2 upper sixth boys and no girls.
The Easter term started well and for the first time we had a uniform inspection where everybody passed. I was walking along the corridors when I noticed that Mr Bryce, the Art teacher, had 4 upper sixth girls stood outside the class with their hands on their heads. I asked what they had been doing and was told they had been arguing and had been sent out to calm down.
I entered the classroom and spoke quietly to Mr Bryce. He told me that over the last few lessons the four girls had become disruptive and he had considered sending them to see me. As he was also their form teacher, he knew they had always been exemplary students. He said that he had smacked all their legs really hard today and sent them outside.
I asked if a sharp shock would bring them back in line and he said that he thought it might. I left the classroom and returned to my office, collected the senior cane and returned to the art room. I thought that 3 strokes across the knickers in front of the class would really be humiliating. I hid the cane under my cloak and as I entered the classroom called the 4 girls inside.
“Upton, Gray, Kelly and Buckley, you have been such a nuisance since returning after Christmas that Mr Bryce had had to resort to smacking you all, but we don’t think that will change you. Since none of you have been caned by me before, we wondered if that would be too severe but then we decided a short sharp shock may work. I will not be giving you 6 across your knickers,” as I withdrew the cane their eyes widened, “But I will be giving you all three across your knickers in front of the class.
“Gray, stand to one side and touch your toes.”
I saw her blush and, as she bent over, I saw that she was not wearing school knickers even though the entire school had passed inspection not 3 hours ago.
“So, you have changed your knickers, have you? Well now it is up to six strokes for you.”
As I lined up the first stroke, I could see her bottom begin to twitch and I brought the cane down at full power right across the centre and the welt appeared as she screamed in pain. 5 more welts were soon equally spaced across her bottom as I told her to sit down.
Upton and Buckley soon had six welts decorating their bottoms too, but Kelly only received 3 as she was in full uniform. As they all squirmed in their seats I asked Sylvia, the Head Girl, to check all the other girls and four more had changed their knickers and were standing next to Sylvia at the front of the class. They also received 3 strokes of the cane and I told them that as they had changed after the inspection I thought that was more serious.
I noticed Sylvia was still at the front of the class.
”I, too, have changed my knickers, Sir.”
I couldn’t believe my Head Girl would be so deceitful.
“Bend over and touch your toes!”
As she bent over, I lifted her skirt and saw she was wearing very brief white lace knickers. I gave her 3 of the hardest strokes I had given all day and the three welts were clearly visible through her knickers. She stumbled back to her seat in tears.
The canings appeared to slow down but the class punishments continued and as I signed all the punishment reports on the school reports I noticed that Sylvia had received 2 hand canings as well as the slipper on 4 occasions to go with her caning off me.
The most pleasing thing, though, was we had a 100% pass rate on the GCE A level mock exams.
The summer term was mostly taken up with exams and the results were outstanding. If we could achieve the same results with our O and A level students I would be really proud but they would only come just before the new school year started.
I returned from a meeting with the education board on the last Monday of the school year to find the Head Girl and Head boy, along with Susan Davies, outside my office with hands on heads and facing the wall. I asked my secretary what they had done and was told that Mr Royston had caught them smoking. I went to see Mr Royston who told me they had all tried to reason that they had finished their schooling and smoked at home, so could see no reason to stop at school.
I returned to my office, summoned them all in and asked for their version of events. They gave an identical version.
I sat looking at them before saying: “So, you all think that your schooling is over. Does that mean I should expel you all and therefore not give a reference to the universities you have applied to?”
They all shook their heads.
“I will therefore be giving you all six strokes of the cane across your bottoms, protected by your underwear only. You girls, wait outside.”
“Wilson, drop your trousers and touch your toes.”
This would be the second time I had caned him and he took six very severe strokes extremely well, but had some painful looking welts across his bottom.
“Jones, inside now. Bend over and touch your toes, and don’t move.”
I lifted her dress over her bottom to reveal high cut yellow satin knickers which had nearly disappeared into her bottom. I gave her 6 as hard as I had given to Wilson, but she screamed after the second and was crying after 4. She went to wait outside.
“Davies, in here now.”
As she bent over and I lifted her dress, she was wearing very small green briefs which again meant a virtual bare bottom caning. She took the caning, her first, a lot worse than Jones or Wilson had.
As the exam results were published we had gone from a pass rate of 32% to 76% in all exams and I was really pleased. I also received a letter off both my Head Boy and Head Girl as they said without my guidance and discipline they may not have achieved their required grades. I thought that it had been a very successful first year as Headmaster.
© Gillian Howard 2016