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School punishment book page | by theirhistory
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School punishment book page

A page from a junior school punishment book from the period from the mid 1960s to early 1970s when it was decided to end the use of the cane at that school by the new Headteacher.

The date, surnames and teacher who inflicted the punishment have been removed due to modern requirements on documents.

The reason for the odd number of strokes was that they were often given on your non writing hand, there would still be lessons to attend for the rest of the day. An extra part of the punishment was often the additional chore of lines "I must not.........." normally with reference on to your latest crime. In most cases these lines had to be presented the following day, if not up to the required standard, the lines would have to be redone, the offer of the cane instead was not offered as an alternative. Lines always seemed as the worst punishment as they lasted so long, 100, 200, 500, on the higher numbers you would have almost pleaded for more of the cane at the time of the original punishment instead.


One of the most common crimes was to go and get the football back after someone had kicked it over the fence into the field that was next to the school, for most of the time the one getting the ball back was not spotted, but from time to time a teacher on playground duty noticed that there were boys playing football, and the football was not in play, it was easy to guess where it was.

The standard punishment was three strokes on the hand you did not write with. I think 1966 was the year that the most punishments were given out, the school went mad over football. (World Cup Willie - Snigger, snigger). It was just luck that I was never punished for getting a ball back.

Other crimes include.

Continual disobedience, fighting, insolence, hitting other pupils, bullying girl.

How to keep a child in order at a junior school.


Surnames removed because all the children are now grown up and would be so embarrassed if they had to admit the number of times they received the cane for minor offenses and never managed to do anything really wrong.

Some entries were missed out due to lack of time. When adults look through their old school punishment books it can be disappointing to find that their deed was never recorded, others were simply glad at the time, as a "Black Mark" was never put on their school report that their parents saw at the end of the school term.

Many schools today will never let you see the full punishment book, if you ask for your record, all you will receive is a photocopy of the page, with all the other names totally removed.


If ever the full range of punishment books that have my entries from the schools and children's homes I was in are ever found, then my other canings from the age of seven will show: Pushing desks, treading in ink, flicking potato, flooding toilets (twice - two different schools), throwing bibles, hitting girl, peeing on houseparent (not true), and fighting indoors etc. etc., might have been recorded for posterity. From the age of 12 at school, I avoided the cane, I knew by then that it hurt.


Some boys managed to avoid such punishment if they were good at lessons, good in lessons or might be smaller than the average for their age. I failed on all three reasons.

I was not very good at school work having missed out on early education and only started school at the age of six, I was not very good in lessons, having a short temper, I often caused a problem if someone was teasing me, or calling me names over the colour of my skin. My height made me often the tallest between the ages of six to eleven, often my foe would be smaller, I was thought of as bully if I was in a fight.


My first meeting with the cane and the headmistress was when I had just reached seven, even my own teacher in the infants class complained to her that I was really too young to be treated that way, the comment from the headmistress was that she thought I was now in the juniors.


Children of today when the hear stories about school from their grandparents, will never realise that the event of actually been sent for the cane brought as much fear as the actual hits from the cane.

Having to wait outside a headmasters door to be ushered in might take anything from a minute to half an hour. You might have started your trip with the thought that you would soon get it over and it would not hurt that much.

Tales from other boys about what the cane would be like if you had never had it before might have been a little bet too horrific, but you knew whilst waiting it was going to hurt, if you were under ten, the amount of fear could get to you. Bursting into tears even before any hit had come was often result, for many boys either the long wait or when you actually saw the cane, often meant that you wet yourself, do that in the headmasters office might result in sympathy and let off the punishment, but often a couple of extra strokes were added.

Returning to your form equally made you tremble, having to announce to your teacher where you had been and trying to not let the others see you had been in tears was difficult. Sitting in the form trying to do lessons was difficult, some masters would not bother you for the rest of the lesson, others would go out of their way to make you talk, asking why you had the cane, why were you crying, and just making your life hell.

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Taken on July 15, 2013