HC Deb 01 July 1880 vol 253 cc1248-9

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, "Whether his attention has been called to the case of Jeffry v. Taylor, decided at the Southwark Police Court on Wednesday June 16th, in which a head teacher was fined for inflicting corporal punishment in school hours; and, whether, under the circumstances, he is prepared to advise that the conviction be quashed, and to state the law with reference to the infliction of corporal punishment in schools?


As to the state of the law generally, I imagine that in schools the schoolmaster is justified in inflicting a reasonable amount of corporal punishment; but it is for the magistrate, on a complaint being made by a parent, to determine whether that punishment is reasonable or not. That is generally the state of the law on the subject. I have inquired into this particular case; and it appears that the parents complained of the punishment of the child, who had been kept at home, and who had been punished by the schoolmistress, on return to school, with a cane. It appears from the statement of the magistrate, that the schoolmistress had not obeyed two separate regulations, which require that every occurrence of corporal punishment shall be formally recorded in a book kept for the purpose, and that the punishment must not be inflicted during school hours. The magistrate thought the punishment not unreasonable, and inflicted the smallest penalty, with 2s. costs. Under these circumstances, I do not think there is any reason to advise that the conviction be quashed.