Why old Labour kept on belting

8th January 1999 at 00:00
THE STRAP, Scotland's favoured instrument of punishment, lasted for 15 years longer than necessary because Harold Wilson's government was afraid of upsetting belt-happy teachers, according to Scottish Office records.

Papers released after 30 years show that members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association were unwilling to lay down the tawse "until a proved alternative is forthcoming".

Although pressure for an outright ban on corporal punishment in Scotland was building throughout the Sixties, ministers were reluctant to legislate and instead backed a consensual approach towards its gradual elimination.

A code of practice, which recommended the belt only as a last resort, was published. This stated that the belt should only be used on the palm, and girls should be exempt in secondary school.

But the belting of boys was strongly supported by heads.

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