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School CP - August 1976

Corpun file 7259


The Daily Telegraph, London, 13 August 1976

'Super strap' for heads after schoolgirl riot

By George Turnbull

A NEW heavier, larger, wider strap is to be provided for headmasters at Newcastle upon Tyne, where seven months ago 200 children rioted at a comprehensive school over the introduction of corporal punishment for girls.

press cuttingDetails of the new deterrent were disclosed by education chiefs yesterday when six teenagers appeared before a juvenile court to be punished for their roles in the playground rebellion.

Issue of the "super strap" follows recommendations by a working party which has been considering a standardised form of corporal punishment for the area's 180 schools.

Head teachers have already been asked how many straps they will need and supplies are expected after the summer holidays.

The old strap was 18in long, 1.5in wide and weighed 50 grammes. Its successor will be 20in by 1.7in, weighing 55 grammes.

Cane rejected

Councillor Derek Webster, chairman of the education committee, said: "We accept there is still a place in schools for corporal punishment. Minimum use will be made of the strap but on occasions it is the only solution at the end of the day.

"The working party recommended retention of the leather tawse and reintroduction of the cane. We accepted a recommendation for a larger strap and rejected the cane. We think this is a reasonable compromise."

The decision was not a result of the trouble at a comprehensive school in January when children rampaged through the school after the headmaster decided to strap unruly girls as well as boys.

Councillor Cuthbert Stephenson, chairman of the working party which comprised councillors, teachers and head teachers, said: "Some school children get out of hand from time to time. Teachers on the working party felt a larger strap would be a greater deterrent. The threat is enough for 90 per cent. of the children but the odd one will now be punished with this strap."

The committee had examined various straps and had chosen a heavier one which had a "stiffer" action. "Some teachers felt that the children would just laugh at smaller straps."


Corpun file 7260


The Daily Telegraph, London, 14 August 1976

'Super strap' has a sting

By George Turnbull

THE so-called "super strap" to be introduced into Newcastle upon Tyne's 180 schools next term was very much a lightweight, it was claimed yesterday.

"Compared with some, particularly those from Scottish schools, our tawse looks like a toy," said Mr Philip Bowden, an assistance director of education.

The new tawse recommended by a working party set up to standardise punishment in the city's schools is 20in long and 1.7in wide but weighs only 1.94oz. The redundant model was 18in long, 1.5in wide and weighed 1.876oz.

But the leather tawse, which will be used on unruly girls as well as boys, at head teachers' discretion, has a sting in its tail: its last few inches are split into thongs.

Mr Bowden said the tawse was selected after other types of instrument were examined. The working party selected a larger tawse because it was felt that the existing instrument was not particularly effective.

Local maker

The new tawse is made by a local firm but no bulk order had yet been placed because head teachers had not yet had sufficient time to submit their requirements.

It was the decision to strap girls as well as boys that sparked off a mini-riot at Heaton comprehensive school, Newcastle, in January, following which several teenagers appeared in court.

Mr Derek Webster, chairman of the city's education committee, said that punishment of girls had always been at the discretion of the head teacher. In the long term, Newcastle would like to phase out corporal punishment altogether but it was too easy for people to bury their heads in the sand and say it should be abolished at once.

"We have to think of the teaching staff, who are abused and sometimes even assaulted and also of the majority of children who are not unruly. It is their education which is being affected by the minority unruly element for whom the tawse is designed."

Scottish belt

The Lochgelly Belt, which has been made for more than 100 years, comes in two sizes, each 23in long but with different thickness and grading of leather and two or three tails.

Mr John Dick, the maker, of Lochgelly, Fife, said last night his annual production was about 3,500 belts. This was more than 10 or 20 years ago.

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