Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/687/12881
The Socialist 28 September 2011 |
Join the Socialist
More whacko ideas from Tories
A Times Educational Supplement survey received massive publicity when it showed 49% of parents supporting corporal punishment in schools.
The more significant finding which the tabloids did not cover was that over 80% of parents opposed cutting education spending. I can't imagine why the gutter press wasn't interested in that one!
I have taught successfully without the use of corporal punishment for 32 years. It is many years since corporal punishment was allowed in British schools.
In many cases the people who condemn the 'feral youth' of today did not actually get caned themselves.
A sign of the times was when a Sussex private school wanted to use a loophole in the law and carry on caning (sounds like a good film title).
They found the only place they could purchase canes was a sex shop which could also have provided whips and bondage gear.
When this got into the papers they thought it was not quite the public image they wanted to portray.
The most difficult pupils I have taught were beaten by their parents. And a fat lot of good it seemed to do them.
This does not surprise me. My brother was caned on his first day at secondary school for fidgeting.
His school had substantially more physical punishment than mine, yet by any standard the behaviour at his school was worse.
Perhaps the culture of bullying was passed down from teachers to pupils. I saw the school bully at my school outside the head's office on numerous occasions. Did he cease being a bully? No, he became a bully with a sore backside.
If anyone suggests that my classroom must be a haven of licensed wrong-doing, do spend five minutes there before drawing such a rash conclusion.
After all I would have sought an alternative occupation if things were like that - an Ofsted inspector for example.
The caning issue is a diversion from the real problem in education: a problem correctly identified by parents who overwhelmingly oppose the cuts.
Gove and Co really do want to turn back the clock: unqualified teachers in dilapidated schools for the poor and only the best for the rich.
Of course many of the cabinet's old Etonians will have felt the cane. And it has not improved their behaviour one jot.