30 Years ago

24th September 2004 at 01:00
After the dismissal of educationist R F Mackenzie as rector of Summerhill Academy in Aberdeen, The TESS of September 27, 1974, reported an angry letter to the local press:

A group of 14 teachers at Summerhill Academy, Aberdeen, wrote last week to the Aberdeen Press and Journal to dispute claims made at an Aberdeen Town Council meeting that there was now a different atmosphere at the school and that things were "settling down very well".

The letter said: "Yes, there is a different atmosphere in Summerhill now.

It is a place which is easier for teachers to be in because fear is used to control pupils. The belt is used frequently. One girl was belted by a male teacher and then went to the nurse to be bandaged. Another boy has been belted and has not attended school since. His mother says his hand was raw and doesn't want to expose him to such treatment again.At least one boy has been belted eight times this term.

"The atmosphere is one where teachers are encouraged implicitly to seek the easiest solution to their problem: belting. The spirit of the Aberdeen regulations on corporal punishment is not being adhered to. Belting isnot used as anything like a last resort.

"A different set of values is at work. Paper efficiency is what is important. Treating people as human beings is less so."

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