Should schools still spare the rod?

14th January 2000 at 00:00
LAST WEEK'S millennium poll of parents conducted for The TES by FDS International found more than half want corporal punishment. This week, we asked teachers' opinions:

John Ridgley, head, Marion Richardson primary school, Tower Hamlets, London.

"I have been teaching for 34 years and cannot imagine myself or anyone on my staff hitting someone a quarter of their size in the name of discipline. I have listened to the opinion of former Tory education minister Sir Rhodes Boyson and it doesn't make sense as I can't see what it is going to achieve. It is putting the clock back 40 years. I wonder what sort of parents they are who think that their children need corporal punishment."

Margaret Armstrong, head teacher, Felldyke community primary school, Gateshead.

"My school is in a very disadvantaged area and has pupils with special needs and behavioural problems. Its whole ethos is based on positive encouragement and reward in a caring environment. Corporal punishment is not an option."

Paul Connell, head of science

at John Kryle high school,


"ow parents treat their children at home - provided it is within the law - is one thing. What people do in school is something else entirely. In my younger days I witnessed a student being given the cane. I don't think it's appropriate or that students respond to it appropriately. Parents and teachers are aware there are students that you can't get through to ... but this is not the solution."

Phil Williamson, head of the Christian Fellowship school, Liverpool, which appealed to the European Court of Human Rights over



"In... a good relationship with the child who knows we care for him, we are prepared to corporally discipline pupils with a smack on the leg if they break a moral code. That is reasonable and we believe has a tremendous beneficial effect on the child. We have a system that works, our children are very well-behaved, happy and contented. Our parents are happy, why should the state interfere with that? If you take away the means of inculcating moral and social values into the child you undermine society."

Maureen McTaggart

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