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School CP - August 1962

The Advertiser, Adelaide, 7 August 1962

S.A. [South Australia] view on use of cane

Secondary school headmasters in Adelaide agree with most of the principles of schoolroom justice embraced by NZ's proposed national caning code.

Most headmasters of private schools said yesterday the code closely followed corporal punishment measures in SA [South Australia].

Maintenance of discipline in Education Department schools is governed by regulations.

The code, recommended to the NZ Government by a commission on education, says students can be caned only for bad behaviour and not for bad work.

The commission recommends that caning be restricted to boys between 8 and 15. Prefects in private schools should not be allowed to cane.

The headmaster of King's College (Rev. R.A. Cook) said: "The code is similar to what happens here. I reserve the right to use my judgment and the prefects do not have the right to cane."


The headmaster of Scotch College (Mr. C.D. Fisher): "The proposals sound fairly archaic as far as we are concerned.

"Our attitude is that corporal punishment is to be administered very sparingly, and only in a responsible way by responsible staff."

The headmaster of Pulteney Grammar School (Rev. W.R. Ray): "We have a system of caning by masters for certain offences, so the boys know where they stand.

"Prefects have never been allowed to cane and, generally, are advised not to touch the boys."

Young boys were not caned but he believed boys over 15 should be caned if it were warranted by their conduct.

The principal of CBC, Wakefield street (Rev. Brother J.V. Bourke): "Our rules are very close to the code. The cane is administered only for bad behaviour and prefects have never had the use of it."

Caning was not governed by an age limit, but senior boys were not punished in this way.


The headmaster of St. Peter's College (Rev. J.S.C. Miller) said he was opposed to any "national policy" on the subject because every school had its own tradition and headmasters had their own way of handling discipline.

"It should be left to individual schools and individual headmasters," he said.

Education Department regulations include these provisions:--

  • Corporal punishment may be used only as a last resort. It is not to be given for trivial breaches of school discipline.
  • Corporal punishment may be inflicted only by the head teacher, except where he delegates authority to a senior male assistant.
  • In most cases, corporal punishment may not be given publicly, and it is expected that it will not be necessary for young children or girls.

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Colin Farrell
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