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School Discipline

St Mary’s C of E Senior School – Hendon – North London

According to my search on here this school has only been mentioned once before by Sarajane in 2002  here as a friendsreunited reference.

The facebook group should be accessible to everyone  here.  What is extra unique about this group is that it appears to be untouched by the likes of the well-travelled Peter John and the not-so-subtle Paul Crook, Kirsty Smith and Christine Lewis.  Furthermore the corporal punishment references aren’t strikingly obvious.  Therefore, I recommend being creative with your keyword searches and spellings.  Anyway, I’ve extracted every SCP reference I could find and have listed below in an attempted more reader friendly order.

Paul (I believe to be a different Paul from SFR) states:

I am sure mr Withers used to make the girls change into blue P E shorts before caning them. I am sure someone can confirm this. Looking back that would get him 10 years nowadays

 I know my ex Paula got the slipper from Mr Withers, that was really bad changing into p e shorts first. A very strange man Mr Withers, hopefully schools have changed for the better in terms of headmaster.

also had the cane of Mr Withers and she had to change into shorts as well, she was always in trouble with Miss Ayre, usually for smoking
No wonder the cane got band with perverts and sadists like Withers around

These statements are both supported and questioned.

Paul I had the slipper many times from this pervert, had to wear my PE shorts and bend over the table tennis table in the girls changing room, and he’d wear his gown and mortar board  , sick perv  !

Oh yes Paul, we had to change into our P E Shorts and bend over the chairs in the girls changing room, looking back we had miss Ayre as Deputy Head so why was a man caning us lol

Didn’t have chairs in the girls changing rooms in pe block had long benches !and miss ayers always sorted girls out and miss McLeod

We had to take chairs from hall, me and Pauline had the slipper from Withers far more than Ayre, Pauline’s bum used to go black and blue

Oh,I had the slipper from him  many times.He used to make the girls put shorts on and bend over chairs in the girls changing rooms while he dished it out.Pretty pervy when you think about it.Lol.

Yes Willy Mr Withers did exactly that while bending over a high stool in the girls changing rooms.

Don’t remember me withers ever giving the girls the cane! He always left it to miss ayers to give us the slipper, as l got the slipper along with christella for bunking off and we got put on report… Lol

Had the cane of him & the slipper every week lol 

yea and you nicked my P.E shorts for the occasion i remember handing them over on second avenue never to see them again lol

Used to make the girls put there p.e shorts on and bend over the chairs in the girls changing room. then after a few years Miss Ayers gave us the slipper x

Susan Yep me you and Pauline but i think it was aping pong table he made us bend over  

Sharon and chairs he used to line them up, pervert 

Susan Foley or make you pull your skirt round really tight and make you bend over the high stool in the changing rooms

Sharon I think he was sacked when I was in year 3 he used to frisk all the boys making out he was searching for fags, pervert

Sharon Lenihan I was with you once, it was for climbing over the toilet door  

Mr Withers very handy with his cane.  I can still hear the noise of the cane when he was in action, that hideous moustache

Miss Ayre gave me the cane and mr whit hers the slipper. I don’t remember the nice teachers only the horrid ones and that was Mr Grant and his side kick Mr Ward

As well as the direct references to Mr Withers.  There are also further accounts of SCP.

Does anyone remember Mr Withers had a plimsoll, inside a plimsoll, inside plimsoll to whack you with?

Ellen that was Mr Plonker ! Had that a few times 

Ellen I knew that plimsoll intimately   I was at St Mary’s from 1975-1978

only got hit by Miss Ayre. Slapped on the back of my legs which she enjoyed far too much !

I got the slipper many times from miss ayres lol xx I remember getting the slipper cos a nick a xmas ball off the xmas tree which they had by the front doors lol and I also got caught smoking in the alley way going to and from schools by mr bug he sent me strainght to miss ayre lol

Miss ayres gave me the cane god rest her soul. i remember i got the cane for putting a bin over mr carters head and then many years later when my dad remarried he was giving the hymn books out lol x

I was definitely top girl for getting canned and slipper. I can’t count how many times I got canned by fuller.  I saw a lot of her always getting slipper

I got canned by that woman so much, love that you remembered her nick name (wooden tit) , that’s all i call her even now haha

Me and Elaine got gained by fuller. She was like Hitler. Elaine Do you remember when I got the cane from Mrs fuller lol x

Yes Madeline I do coz we both got it the same day. I will never forget the look on your face when you came out of the ole witches office it was a picture I am laughing just thinking about it. Do you remember why we got the cane though? I do xx

There is finally another reference to when Elaine borrowed Susan’s shorts and never returned them

I can’t remember my form teachers names, how bad is that, I remember one was a scatty art teacher who I loved, you must remember mrs hunt the German teacher I couldn’t stand her, did you have Withers and Constance Ayre, omg she used to Scottish dance in her office and then give us the slipper wtf lol
De Silver was a perv, Withers thought he was hitler, Constance Ayre was on another planet with her tartan slippers, German was a bitch, Miss Hunt was bitch number 2, Mihill, Guy, Henderson,Dixon,Beale, Maltman were all quite nice, we used to get the cane from Ayres and the Slipper from Withers wtf

Susan Talking of which you still owe me a pair of P.E shorts that you took off me the day you got the cane from Withers.. remember txt book down the shorts trick only they were my shorts and I never got them back lol xxxxx I reckon they would still fit me….. in my dreams

There does seem a lot of evidence that Mr Withers did indeed make girls change into shorts before caning and slippering them. I have seen other evidence to this practice during the 60s, but not as late as the mid/late 70s. It is also rare to find evidence of a male teacher caning any girl on the bottom. That said, there is a bit of conflicting information.  Susan thinks that Mr Withers was sacked when she was in Year 3.  Susan left around 1979/80 (I’m presuming year 5).  This would mean he was sacked around 1977.  Whereas Nikki remembers being slippered by him although she didn’t start attending while 1979.  It is worth noting of course that these events took place over 40 years ago.  It could be that either Susan or Nikki have mixed their dates up.  Or perhaps a mistaken identity on Nikki’s part.  Obviously, I’ve put all the references together, and in this form it could look like the ladies are playing Paul.  However, within the group they are more spaced out and my gut feeling is that they are true accounts.  I would also be interested to know if the likes Mrs Fuller, Miss Ayre, Miss Mcleod or the unfortunately named Mr Plonka gave the cane/slipper to the hand of bottom.  If Peter John or anyone on here did attend this school perhaps they could launch a post to encourage more people to fess up and more information would become evident.


haven’t yet looked at the Facebook page concerned, but if I may, some initial comment.  I am as certain as I can be that the practice of requiring girls to change into PT kit to be caned by the Headmaster was used at the senior school associated with my junior school in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  The justification for this was apparently the large variations in the skirts and underpinnings worn by girls in that period.

Like the St Mary’s Church Of England Secondary School, Hendon in the 1970s, my junior school, and the associated secondary school were C of E schools.  In the case of my school that meant that control was split between the LEA and the local C of E diocese.  Probably the same thing would have applied to the Hendon school.  In my time at junior school the local church schools (there was also a Catholic primary school in the town) had somewhat more robust SCP regimes than other local schools.  This doesn’t seem to have been totally uncommon.  Schools with an SCP reputation sometimes turn out to be church schools.  Bacons school in south London is a well known example.

I am puzzled though.  One might not expect a practice such as requiring girls to change into PE kit to receive SCP to have survived into the 1970s, though of course it was claimed in some reports to have been used at the Rodney school in Nottinghamshire as late as the 1990s for some canings by the headmistress.  Those reports appear to have been incorrect.  However if the practice was used in the 1970s at St Mary’s Hendon, why were there no reports of it on Friends Reunited, or at least none found by the many researchers then associated with this Forum, who trawled Friends Reunited assiduously?

Your link to the Sarajane Friends Reunited entry is, as you say, the only reference here to the school, and there is no mention of Mr Withers or Miss Ayers or of caning in PE kit.  On the face of it there would appear to have been a considerable new recollection of SCP at the school between the days of Friends Reunited and the advent of Facebook.   There is a possible explanation for this.  The web is accessible to far more people now, and indeed became far more accessible in the Facebook era, than it was in the Friends Reunited era.  That alone could account for the new recollections.

What of the practice of requiring girls to change clothes for SCP in general?   If for whatever reason a headmaster decided that he personally needed to cane girls, and the normal school wear for such girls might be a skirt whose material or construction or underpinnings could be considered to impede a cane, then he had a problem if normal practice was to cane on the bottom.

Disturbing the skirt, even with the assistance of a mistress, could lead him into some very dangerous areas indeed, most of them possibly career limiting.   But leaving aside all relevant considerations except availability and practicality, requiring girls to change into PE kit would appear to have offered a solution.  A layer of clothing of a known and predictable nature between bottom and cane.  Problem solved – possibly!

If I recall correctly one of our prominent contributors with a substantial knowledge of both SCP and education has links to the Hendon area, while another was in an adjacent borough in his youth.  I wonder if either knows anything of the St Mary’s Church Of England Secondary School there?


I feel your request about schools in the Hendon area is intended for me.
Surprisingly, although I attended a school only just over half a mile from the present site of St Mary’s CE school, and my school choir sometimes performed at St Mary’s Church, we had absolutely no links, sporting or otherwise, with the school.    I suspect my headmaster might not have looked very graciously on his neighbour.  I regret that there is nothing factual that I can add and personal impressions from 60 years ago might not paint an accurate picture.


Although I could have taken the 666 trolleybus from Willesden to West Hendon until January 1963, or the 266 Routemaster subsequently, I didn’t in fact do so, and I know very little of schools in Hendon.


Thank you, I thought it unlikely that either of you would have any information on events at the St Mary’s C of E Senior School in the 1970s, however a query seemed appropriate.



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