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School Discipline

Canes

Fantasy stories often talk about different kinds of Cane — senior, junior, dragon or whatever.

Teachers in the Beano often had collections of canes of different lengths and sizes. There was one Bash Street Kids story in which the teacher experimented wit ha frozen acid cane!

In real life, some LEA guidelines talk about a smaller cane (to be used on younger children and girls) and a larger cane (for older boys.)

Did pupils at Caning Schools have any sense that there were different kinds of weapon? Did teachers ever say “If you do that again I’ll use my bigger cane?” Did teachers really spend time chosing a cane before administering a punishment? And did it make much difference to the effectiveness of the punishment?

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At my school serious canings were administered by the First Master. On one occasion in the first year our class had been making life hell for one of the teachers and the first master visited the class to say that if the problem didn’t stop immediately he would have no hesitation in caning the whole class. To make his point he carried with him what he described as “the official school cane” from which I would infer there was only one. ¬†Strange thing is that rather than having a crook handle (or not as the case might be) the handle end terminated in a kind of bulge like the one illustrated here. I’ve never really seen those described anywhere else and have no idea how they were sourced.

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We always assumed that there was an Official School Cane, which was probably passed down from headmaster to headmaster and had been used on our fathers and grandfather bums. That was why we talked about THE cane, rather than just any old cane. \

The infamous Bognor Cane Company leaflet says that it is worth paying the extra couple of pence for the curly handled cane, because it adds some symbolism to the punishment. “The sense of having been caned is more effective than the pain itself.”

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I have never seen a cane with a bulge at the end. The one in the picture looks about the same length and thickness as the crook handled one used in my school.

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The infamous Bognor Cane Company leaflet says that it is worth paying the extra couple of pence for the curly handled cane, because it adds some symbolism to the punishment.

The crook handle is also useful for hanging the cane from a hook or wardrobe rail – and it stops the cane from rolling off the teacher’s desk.¬† I know of one teacher who used to hit with the crook end when using the cane on the hands, and I heard of the same thing happening in another local school, but I don’t know how common it was.

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The Bognor Cane company thought that the crook was for hanging on the hook. They believed (or pretended to believe) that the main point of a cane was to display as a deterrent — it would rarely, if ever, be used. They suggested you bought two canes, one to hang on display and the other to actually use. (Very different from my school where the cane was kept locked away and no-one, except the very, very naughty pupils had ever seen it.)

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the cane at my school was kept in a cupboard in the head’s study and I only saw it once briefly as I was bending over a large padded chair for my one whack!

 

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