HC Deb 31 October 1906 vol 163 cc1116-7

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether the Board of Education has presented to it any Return as to the frequency of corporal punishment in the girls' and infants' departments of the public elementary schools; whether the Board of Education has any control or power to frame any rules as to the method of this form of punishment or as to the persons who can exercise it; and, if the Board of Education has the right to control, whether he will consider the advisability of abolishing corporal punishment in the girls' and infants' departments of all elementary schools.


The Board have no Beturns of the kind referred to in the Question. Punishment books, in which of course all cases of corporal punishment should be recorded, are usually kept by the head teacher and are open to examination by the inspector. If properly kept those punishment books are valuable and ought, in my opinion, always to be kept. The Board have full power to frame rules on the subject, but have thought it best to confine themselves to making suggestions to local authorities. These suggestions are to be found on page 11 of the Board's "Suggestions for the Consideration of Teachers," and are as follows:—"In no case should infants be punished by the infliction of bodily pain, nor should girls be subjected to corporal punishment unless in exceptional cases, and then if possible at the hands of a woman teacher." Personally, I am strongly opposed to corporal punishment of girls, and I can assure the hon. Member that the whole question of the administration of corporal punishment is carefully watched by the Board of Education and its inspectors in conjunction with the local education authorities.

MR. O'GRADY (Leeds, E.)

Has a parent the right to inspect the punishment book?


I do not think so. I can assure the hon. Member that corporal punishment is going out of use, and I should certainly be indisposed formally to prohibit it when I am persuaded such a course is not desirable.


Is it not in the discretion of the teacher to make the entries in the punishment book?


I regret that discretion. I think he should be obliged to do it.


Is a punishment book kept in the infants' department?


I will inquire.