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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 11:27 GMT
Smacking ban challenge rejected
Phil Williamson, head teacher of Christian Fellowship School, Liverpool
Head teacher Phil Williamson led the challenge to the ban
Independent Christian schools have had their attempt to overturn a ban on smacking pupils rejected by Law Lords.

Teachers and parents had claimed the ban infringed their religious freedom to provide a Bible-based education.

Led by Philip Williamson, head teacher of the Christian Fellowship School in Liverpool, they said families should be able to delegate the right to smack.

But Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead said overturning the ban would not be in children's "best interests".

'Encouraged to pray'

The claimants had said Corporal punishment of boys would take the form of administering a thin, broad flat paddle to both buttocks simultaneously in a firm controlled manner.

Girls could be strapped on the hand and then comforted by a member of staff and encouraged to pray.

Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had already thrown out their argument.

During earlier court challenges, lawyers representing the teachers and parents cited passages from the Bible, including Proverbs Chapter 23:13-14: "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.

"Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death."

They also repeated Chapter 13: 24: "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."

Since 1987, school teachers in state or publicly funded schools in England have had no right to smack pupils. This was extended to all types of schools in 1998.

In January this year, parents in England and Wales were banned from inflicting corporal punishment which causes visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts can face action.

The schools involved in the proceedings were the Christian Fellowship School at Edge Hill, Liverpool; Bradford Christian School at Idle, Bradford; Cornerstone School at Epsom, Surrey, and Kings School at Eastleigh, Hampshire.


SEE ALSO:
School smacking ban 'should go'
01 Dec 04 |  Merseyside



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