ILEA was first to take the pain out of the cane

17th June 2011 at 01:00

Your archive item from October 1978 on the "caning 'scandal' in London" (10 June) needs to be put in context. Corporal punishment in all primary schools maintained by the Inner London Education Authority had been banned in January 1973.

Dealing with secondary schools took longer. In February 1978, a motion for debate in the education committee read: "That headteachers in secondary schools should continue to use corporal punishment at their discretion."

That motion was lost and, after protracted discussion, corporal punishment in all secondary schools was banned from February 1981.

The ILEA was the first large local education authority to ban all forms of corporal punishment in schools. Eight years later, Parliament legislated nationally to that effect.

Peter Newsam, Former chief schools adjudicator, Thornton Dale, North Yorkshire.

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