From the Archive - Caning 'scandal' in London

10th June 2011 at 01:00
20 October 1978 Ninety-six beatings per 100 boys at one school at a time when corporal punishment is dying out

An inquiry has been called into the "scandalous situation" in an inner London school where there are 96 canings for every 100 boys. The plea comes from the Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment following newspaper reports on Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) caning rates.

The school, which is unnamed in a report on corporal punishment for the ILEA, also beats girls regularly. The school is in marked contrast to 49 others surveyed by the authority earlier this year. Most inner London schools have either given up the cane totally or use it only on very rare occasions.

The report on caning says: "Though the majority of schools have abandoned corporal or use it rarely, it is evident that in a few schools the incidence is very high."

Only four of the 37 schools containing girls use corporal punishment on them. The survey shows little evidence of change in the incidence of beating in recent years. In 1974 the average punishment rate was 11.86 incidents for each 100 boys. In 1976 it was 12.57.

The figures show that 1,641 boys received corporal punishment in 197677 in sampled schools. This is about 7.5 per cent overall, but 13.11 per cent were hit twice and 14.8 per cent on three or more occasions.

During the survey it was realised that the authority's rules could be interpreted as allowing girls to be caned on the bottom, although this was not the intention when the rules were formulated. The ILEA will be asked to change the rules to forbid the caning of girls anywhere except on the hands.

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