Front Page







World News in Audio

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Tuesday, March 24, 1998 Published at 10:55 GMT


Move to ban 'six of the best'
image: [ Opponents say caning degrades children and teachers ]
Opponents say caning degrades children and teachers

An attempt to extend the ban on corporal punishment to independent schools is being made in parliament.

BBC Education Coresspondent Sue Littlemore reporting for BBC Radio 4's Today programme (4'02")
The House of Commons is due to debate an amendment tabled by a group of Labour MPs to the School Standards and Framework Bill which seeks to outlaw the cane from all classrooms.

Britain is unique in Europe because it retains corporal punishment in some schools.

The use of the cane, slipper and other forms of corporal punishment has been illegal in state schools since 1986.

The ban followed a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that pupils could not be hit against their parents` wishes.

A 'ludicrous' situation

David Hinchliffe, one of the Labour MPs, who want the ban extended, said it was "frankly ludicrous" that teachers in private schools could still beat children.

He said "a significant number of the better private schools" wanted the ban extended.

The Liberal Democrat Education Spokesman, Don Foster, also said he supported the move.

The prospect of a ban has prompted at least one independent school to take pre-emptive action.

Nicholas Debenham, headmaster at the St James School in Middlesex recently suspended the use of corporal punishment until the law is clarified.

He says he makes no apologies for his belief in the effectiveness of caning a persistently indisciplined child. For years many in the teaching profession agreed with him.

Classroom anarchy

In the 1970s when individual education authorities started to ban the cane many teachers thought the result would be classroom anarchy .

In 1979, commenting on the abolition of the cane in London schools, a senior member of one teaching union said: "Corporal punishment is one of the tools necessary for the job. Abolition is like a Ford worker having his spanner taken away "

BBC correspondents say so few private schools still use physical punishment that the impact of the ban would mostly be symbolic.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


Link to BBC Homepage

  Relevant Stories

21 Mar 98 | UK
Schoolchildren to hit books over summer

14 Mar 98 | UK
Sir to disappear from the classroom?

  Internet Links

The Department for Education and Employment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online

UK Contents

Northern Ireland