HC Deb 11 May 1972 vol 836 c1539
16. Mr. Cronin

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will seek powers to regulate the use of corporal punishment in primary schools.

Mrs. Thatcher

No, Sir. In my view this, like other questions of discipline in individual schools, is best left within the discretion of local education authorities, the managers of the schools and the teachers.

Mr. Cronin

In view of the successful results of the Inner London Education Authority's abolition of corporal punishment in primary schools, should not the right hon. Lady at least advise other education authorities to take a similar course of action? Is it not high time that this idiotic and sadistic habit of beating small children in our schools ceased altogether, and should not she give a lead in the matter?

Mrs. Thatcher

One does not wish this form of punishment to be used very much—indeed, only very rarely—but I think we should leave this matter to the local education authorities and to the teachers.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Without being doctrinaire or emotive either way on this question, may I ask my right hon. Friend what research has been done into why this form of discipline is not found necessary in most corresponding foreign schools but is found necessary in this country?

Mrs. Thatcher

As far as I am aware there has been no research on that subject but, as my hon. Friend, will be aware, there are different rules governing schools in other countries from those which operate here.