From the Archive - 21.12.1990

15th June 2012 at 01:00

Call to ban the cane in independents

Opponents of corporal punishment are pressing the government to end caning in independent schools.

Epoch, the pressure group organising Britain's first national "no smacking" week, says that at least 50 schools are still using it four years after it was banned in the state system.

Independent schools can still cane pupils as long as their fees are not paid by the state, and provided their parents do not object. The Children Act, which comes into effect next year, bans physical punishment in private children's homes, and requires independent schools with up to 50 boarders to register as homes. Epoch wants this extended to all independent schools.

Its coordinator, Peter Newell, has submitted a paper on the subject to the Department of Health. He has also asked the Department of Education and Science to stop authorities placing children with statements of special needs in independent schools which still use physical punishment.

Mr Newell said: "It is illogical that the protection of pupils from physical punishment should depend on whether their parents or the state are paying their fees."

The latest edition of the Equitable Schools Book, which lists about a quarter of Britain's independents, names 14 which advertise the fact that they have corporal punishment. One is St James Independent School for Boys in Queen's Gate, London. Its head, Nicholas Debenham, said: "I don't think these campaigners know what they are talking about. They are just wrong. Punishment and reward are part of learning about life as a citizen."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today