Friday, 16 February 2007

Is Corporal Punishment the answer?

Corporal punishment refers to the use of physical punishment to correct behaviour. The term derives from the Latin corpus, meaning body.

A 2005 survey of nearly 1,700 parents by the ParentMail website found 20.8% would welcome the restoration of corporal punishment in schools, with 44.4% saying they would like it to be an option.

Although the various methods of corporal punishment were steadily outlawed throughout the 20th Century - the use of the birch in schools was famously abolished in 1948 - it was not until after the 1967 Plowden report, 'Children and their Primary Schools', that the abolition of corporal punishment in state schools was treated as a major issue, and in 1986 it was outlawed altogether.It was not until 1998 that corporal punishment was outlawed for the few remaining independent schools that retained the practice.

Phil Williamson, head of the private Christian Fellowship school in Liverpool, went to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the ban on corporal punishment in independent schools, which took effect in 1999. The campaign was supported by the parents at the school and backed by 40 other Christian schools across the UK. The court agreed that there was nothing to prevent schools using corporal punishment on children with the consent of their parents. But the UK court of appeal finally rejected the bid in 2005.

Mr Williamson feels the last 20 years have proved the legislation to be "an absolute disaster". "Teachers are less safe, there is more bad behaviour and violence in schools and that translates into more bad behaviour in society. I think Ofsted and the politicians are out of touch with what is really going on in schools."

In 1989 the Elton Committee said: "There is little evidence that corporal punishment was in general an effective deterrent either to the pupils punished or to other pupils."

In 1998 Baroness Warnock, of the School Standards and Framework Bill Committee said: "We are in a position to prevent corporal punishment in schools. We are probably not in a position to prevent corporal punishment in the home. It is not that corporal punishment is good in one case and bad in the other. It is bad in all cases."

Ref: BBC News,

Q. Should we bring back Corporal Punishment in School?

To view the results go to:


Neil Welton said...

That photograph brings back memories - painful ones. It also captures what it was like for me too - a real sense of being completely humbled coupled with utter petrification. Just what our foul mouthed gun carrying youths need. To read my own views which will no doubt offend:

Anonymous said...

I don't think it should be in schools but i think parents should be able to punish their children without being threatened with social services. Children wised up to the rights given to them and learnt every possible loop hope to escape being punished.

jen hardy said...

i go to the christian fellowshiip school and have all my life, when i first started the school they had permission to smack us lightly on the hand or leg and i never got smacked once even though i was quite disruptive and abit rebelious as a young child, i have spoken to several people who went too the school at were in older years than me and never got smacked either and it just shows that firstly they only use it as a last resort (sort of like suspension is a last resort) and it also proves that knowing theres a consiquence to your actions thats not very nice stops you from being naughty, so personally i feel that mr.williamson was hard done by and that he didnt get the respect he deserves and i have been reading news paper reports and just by reading the first line you see just how bias people are and i think thats a million times more wrong that smacking a child on the hand for being very naughty
thank you and feel free to email me at

Gerard Mulholland said...

Back in the 1950s, I was subjected to vicious corporal punishment at St Edward's College, Liverpool and then at Joseph's College, Blackpool - both being Direct Grant Grammar Schools run by the Irish Christian Brothers. The possession of that leather strap turned otherwise rational men into salivering sadistic maniacs. Whenever an adult has administered corporal punishment to a young person it uis the adult who has committed the grave fault of an assault upon an innocent child - no matter what the child has done. If there is a lack of communication between an adult and a child it is the adult's fault, not the childs.

A.L said...

Our entire Christian Fellowship School class is on this website right now reading Jenny Hardy's comment.

I, DD Manning, never got any corporal punishment because I am amazing.

So is Sarah Butcher. lollersk8s
Go Class of 09!!