HC Deb 15 February 1968 vol 758 cc1550-1
2. Mr. Cronin

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department with what rules a master in an approved school must comply when thrashing a boy on the buttocks.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. James Callaghan)

Rule 35 of the Approved School Rules; and the Common Law, which is that corporal punishment is lawful only if it is moderate in manner, quantity and severity.

Mr. Cronin

Would my right hon. Friend reaffirm the assurance of his predecessor last November that corporal punishment will be phased out of approved schools as soon as possible? Will he also reassure us that the date when these sadistic practices cease will be as early as possible?

Mr. Callaghan

Although there are difficulties in handling unruly boys of advanced years, that is to say, of 14 or 15—[An HON. MEMBER: "Advanced years? "]—I mean before they become young men. I do not underrate the difficulties of the staff who must deal with them, whether in ordinary schools or approved schools, but I agree that the sooner we can achieve better methods of treatment than corporal punishment the better.