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Tuesday, June 16, 1998 Published at 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK


Corporal punishment outlawed

An attempt failed in the House of Lords to save the school cane

The cane is set to be removed from every school in the country, as an attempt to allow private schools to retain the use of corporal punishment has been defeated in the House of Lords.

The government successfully fought off attempts by the Conservatives to exempt private schools from legislation that will outlaw corporal punishment in all schools, with peers voting 150 to 64 in favour of a total ban.

Arguing for the retention of corporal punishment in the debate on the School Standards and Framework Bill, Conservative Lord Beloff linked the violence of English football hooligans in France with the disappearance of corporal punishment.

"We have seen the general reluctance in our society to check bad behaviour. One of the consequences of that is what we have seen recently in the streets of Marseilles. That is how the young English who have been freed from corporal punishment find it easy to behave," said Lord Beloff.

Parents have a right to choose school that canes

Baroness Blatch, a former Conservative Education Minister, said that parents had a right to send their children to schools which "in extremis appy corporal punishment fairly and within the remit of the European Convention on Human Rights".

Urging peers to oppose the complete ban on corporal punishment, Baroness Blatch said that there was no use "wringing our hands" about ill-discipline among pupils if teachers were being stopped from imposing an effective punishment.

Labour's Baroness David, vice chair of the all-party children's group and supporter of a complete ban, said that corporal punishment was "a bad thing in all our schools".

The ban on corporal punishment was supported by Liberal Democrat education spokesman, Lord Tope, who said that there were many unique facets of British life of which we should be proud, but "hitting small or large children with a cane" was not one of them.

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