We welcome Bruce Grocott's Private Members' Bill to ban caning for handicapped children and in community homes (December 8). Although it does not go as far as we would have liked, such a step would be a major advance towards complete abolition of this barbaric and ineffective practice.
There is no evidence to support the view of the Catholic Education Commission that corporal punishment is used less than in the past. It is in full swing
in this country, being used in four out of five of our schools, several times a day in many, and often for trivial offences such as
"poor work" and "unpunctuality".
Indeed, its use may even be increasing. Gwynedd, for example, recently reintroduced corporal punishment into Anglesey's schools for mentally and physically handicapped pupils --boys under eight and all girls. Avon has reintroduced beating into Bristol's infant schools for the first time since 1905. These are simply two in a long line of retreats by local authorities.
The contrast with Europe is stark and shaming to ourselves. No other country on the Continent of Europe uses corporal punishment in its schools. Is it really credible that British children, alone in Europe, can only be educated by means of physical assault?
Tom Scott Committee member of Society of Teachers Croydon, Opposed to Physical Surrey. Punishment In common with the Society Totally Opposed to Physical Punishment in schools (STOPP) and with every other teacher 1 have met during my 25 years in the teaching profession, I am in favour of the abolition of corporal punishment in schools.
I would like to see class teachers made to record a far more precise account of every act of physical violence inflicted in
schoolrooms, playgrounds and buses. By force of law this should include every corporate or single act of punishment inflicted by children upon teachers and children.
Psychiatrists, I am sure, will then be able to comment on the corporate sexuality of such acts, no doubt demonstrating the masochistic overtones of teachers so much to be deplored.
Perhaps members of STOPP would like to ally with my own Society for the Total Abolition of Recalcitrant Rampaging Truculents (STARRT)? This would enable proper and unfrightened uninterrupted teaching ' of the higher percentage of docile and amenable children to continue -or in many cases commence.
The teachers' professional association could fill whole issues of your paper with such a punishment book of teachers who, in the absence of a nationally organised alternative to corporal punishment of a magnitude commensurate with the size of the problem, have tried STOPP before STARRT.
In fairness I think you should publish a few hundred. If the association does not feel able to supply, ask me. I have an interesting list. Yesterday I heard that the sixth member of my fairly close circle of teacher friends is doing his spell in a mental hospital. Shirley, why don't you stopp?
Christopher O'Reilly Redruth, Cornwall.