This is the letter I wrote to my MP on why he should vote against bringing back corporal punishment in UK schools.

When I was 8 we had a history teacher who loved his subject. The first term he taught us about the Athenian war with Sparta and it's tragic climax with the ill-fated expedition to Syracuse. Because he loved his subject, he taught me to love history - a love I have never lost.

That same year we had a maths teacher for whom teaching maths was chore. Because she had no love for her subject I was bored and spent the time daydreaming. For this I was sent to the headmaster.

The headmaster told me that I would beaten once on the first day, twice on the second and so on till I learnt to pay attention in class. At six I would have been expelled but that was not necessary. After it got to three I was in such a state of terror that I was incapable of daydreaming. When I say terror I mean that from the moment I got up, every of second of the day I was gripped with fear. I remember vividly still my hand shaking as I reached out to pick up my mug of tea while in the queue for breakfast. This state of terror lasted for two whole weeks and then I went back to my old ways. What remained was a loathing for mathematics that lasted 20 years.

Finally at the age of 30 I forced myself to try a bit of mathematics and discovered that it had, like history, a beauty of it's own and I eventually got a degree in engineering.

I do not understand people who see the beating of children as anything other than abuse. Even if the only alternative is excluding a child from school that is still better than beating them. An excluded child may eventually chose to study again. By beating that child you risk giving them a loathing of learning that will last their lifetime.

I hope in the free vote you will vote against the beating of children.

David Barnsdale

Back to Mixed Politics Links