His comments follow research by the Office for Standards in Education which revealed gang culture and weapon-carrying was rife in state schools.
"I am much less politically correct than others about the issue of corporal punishment - it certainly did not do me any harm," he said. "There is an increasing number of schools with severe discipline problems but no sanctions to deal with them - a position worsened by the Government's insistence on inclusion at all costs. I am not saying these schools should bring back corporal punishment, but clearly something needs to be done."
Corporal punishment was largely dropped in private schools in the UK in the Sixties and Seventies and banned by law in the state sector in 1987.
Professor Woodhead was caned in 1962 after his behaviour was described as "often deplorable" in a report card.
He ruled out a comeback for the cane in Cognita schools: "We cannot and would not bring back corporal punishment - it is too controversial."