Corpun file 19290
Daily Express, London, 1 June 2007
'We don't want "barbaric" cane to return'
By Macer Hall
ALAN Johnson ruled out returning to traditional
school discipline yesterday – because of his own memories of
"barbaric" corporal punishment.
And he even singled out a former teacher who he said was
dedicated to using the cane.
On the day schools were given authority to check pupils for
guns and knives, the Education Secretary insisted the Government
was against returning to the era of a "clip round the
"I went through the kind of childhood at a school where
teachers were allowed to do barbaric things in terms of
caning," said Mr Johnson, 57, who left school with no
In an interview on Radio 4 he singled out a Mr Hughes –
thought to be at Bevington Primary in Kensington, west London, in
He said the teacher "used to cane you across the wrist
rather than across the hand.
"I don't think that's the right solution at all."
The experience affected him "adversely", he said,
adding: "It was an adult, someone in a position of
authority, being violent towards me." But campaigners called
for a return to traditional classroom methods.
Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, said searching
children in schools was "a clear sign that discipline
standards have fallen drastically".
He added: "The cane wasn't all that barbaric, it was
certainly far less brutal than allowing youngsters to run around
with knives stabbing each other.
"A return to corporal punishment doesn't seem likely, but
discipline in schools has become far too lax over recent years
and ministers must take some of the responsibility for
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