by Coky Giedroyc CORPORAL punishment in all state-maintained schools is to be abolished from August 15, in accordance with a provision in the 1986 Education Act (section 47).
However the new Act has given rise to a serious dilemma for independent schools where children who are subsidised by the Government Assisted Places' Scheme, and children of servicemen, are protected from corporal punishment, while those who have their fees paid by their parents, are specifically, excluded from the legislation.
Many independent schools have already anticipated this problem. Brother Sassi, headmaster of St Edward's College, Liverpool, told the Catholic Herald: "We have been aware of the forthcoming legislation for some time and following the advice of the Headmasters Conference we
have phased out corporal punishment over the last three years."
However, for some schools the issue has still to be confronted. Fr Sweeney, of Princethorpe College near Rugby, admitted to the occasional use of corporal punishment — "about once a year" — as did Fr Simon McGurk of Belmont Abbey, Hereford, who referred to it as "reserve, backup".