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Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 20 2009 at 11:53 AM

I wonder how many posters here remember anyone being given CP for not wearing the proper uniform at school, both boys and girls.
I think most schools were very strict on this back in my days. I remember once, in secondary school, being sent out of class for not wearing the school tie and told not to come back before getting my tie. Luckily CP had been abolished by then at my school because I'm sure I would have fared worse otherwise. I don't remember if I had to go home, which wasn't far away, to get it or if I skipped school altogether that day.

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Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 20 2009, 7:06 PM 

Some schools in the UK are still very strict about uniform and in general I believe it is good for students to learn that there are occasions on which they should dress smartly. However, there are occasions when the rules seem needlessly fussy.

Last month, one school sent a boy home because his trousers had a flat front rather than a single pleat design. Another was told he could not wear trousers with jeans style patch rear pockets even though they were not jeans and in an acceptable dark grey fabric.

Children in my own family have some of their classes in temporary buildings that become very hot during the summer, yet they are not permitted to remove ties or jackets during lessons.

However, one local school takes the prize for draconian punishment in banning the wearing of training shoes. To do so once brings a warning, but further offences are punished with a full day in solitary detention.

Much as I approve of school pupils wearing uniform, I think these examples are unreasonably dictatorial and do not build respect either for the rules or the rule makers.

In my own school, more than half a century ago, the rules were clear but fair. Failure to comply meant a punishment of lines or, at worst, a stroke or two of the slipper. However, there was some flexibility and we were permitted to wear lighter clothing and go without a tie in the summer. Blazers could be removed if it was a hot day.

We were expected to bring the correct kit for PE and sports sessions and it had to be clean. Not meeting the required standard usually resulted in a dose of the slipper, which taught us the importance of observing the rules when you are part of a team.



Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 20 2009, 11:48 PM 

Hi Willy. You ask:

I wonder how many posters here remember anyone being given CP for not wearing the proper uniform at school, both boys and girls.

I can't help with the girls, we didn't have uniforms at my mixed primary school, and my secondary school was boys only. However, a classmate at the latter was caned for not wearing his school cap. It wasn't for a single offence, but for total intransigence over the issue!

The school was a very traditional one. Uniform regulations were absolute. In school, going to and from school, outside the school during lunch break, at school events in the city and even spectating at school sports events, uniform had to be worn and worn correctly. This was even more onerous than might be supposed, because we had Saturday morning school, so there were 6 school days a week. Prefects, Privs (Priviliged Sixth Formers, a sort of sub-Prefect) and Staff would all act on any observed breach of the regulations, even if you happened to be on your way home, 10 miles from the school and 10 yards from your home.

Except when actually in school, caps (the peaked kind with the school badge on the front) were a required part of the uniform unless you were a Prefect or a Priv, or were in CCF uniform (in which case you had to wear the CCF berry). This meant that if you didn't make Prefect or Priv you had to wear a cap until the end of your schooldays, which of course could be well into your eighteenth year!

Most people put up with this regime without too much protest and hoped to make Priv as soon as they got into the sixth form. Braver souls might risk removing their caps once safely on the bus to or from school, providing no authority figures had got on the same bus, but you risked being spotted through a window. Staff would normally issue lines for caplessness, and if they'd happened to catch you a few times it would be detention. Prefects and Privs would 'book' you, which meant you went into the Prefects' book and duly appeared before the weekly Prefects' court. This also almost always meant lines, though if you were a very occasional offender you might get off with a warning. However the Prefects could, and sometimes did, cane if the offence merited it, which caplessness normally didn't.

In the last term of the upper fifth year one of my classmates got very up tight about having to wear his cap. His girl friend from a nearby girls' school had apparently said that he looked ridiculous in a cap, and if she was on the bus home he started removing his cap in her company. Sadly a Priv, a fairly mean-minded individual, sometimes travelled on the same bus.

In those circumstances, knowing what the problem was, and given his age and the fact that he was almost a certainty for Priv the following year, most Privs, who always had a slightly less secure disciplinary status than Prefects, would have turned a blind eye. This one didn't, and booked him repeatedly, sometimes two or three times in a week. After a couple of warnings from the Prefects' court he started to get lines in ever increasing numbers with heavier and heavier warning lectures.

This couldn't go on and about two weeks before the end of term the inevitable happened and the Prefects decided to cane him, the maximum three strokes. This was a bit of a cause célèbre. At that school at that time canings were not an everyday event for the majority of boys. Only the Headmaster and the Prefects caned. The Headmaster seldom caned, though when he did he apparently did it thoroughly! The Prefects caned fairly often, but usually only younger boys and only one or two strokes.

There was no point in my classmate exercising his right of appeal to the Headmaster. Rules were rules, and he hadn't got a leg to stand on, in fact he was lucky not to have been caned before. He was caned the next day. The Prefect allocated the task was one of the few first year sixth Prefects, and was slightly less than a year older than the unfortunate recipient, but a big lad with his colours for the rugby first team. The victim said it hurt like hell, and the compulsory Prefect witnesses didn't please him either. It was his first and last school caning, because apart from the cap thing he'd been as well behaved as me!

I took the whole thing as an illustration of the damage women can do to a poor unsuspecting male! happy.gif However the following year when I got my Priv I am ashamed to say that I turned a blind eye to a lot of caplessness offences. My caned classmate didn't though. I think he felt that if he'd had to suffer so should those coming after, which was a not uncommon attitude at the time. A few years after I left the Prefects voted to abolish their right to cane and the Headmaster followed suite.



Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 21 2009, 12:46 AM 

Arragh! In my post above for CCF berry please read CCF beret. Any other errors or spelling mistakes are deliberate to see if anyone can spot them. wink.gif


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 21 2009, 7:30 AM 

I don't remember uniforms at my school being a big issue. In my early years we had to wear a cap , but this was abandoned in the second year I think. I cannot recall anyone being punished for a breach of uniform rules.

We had to wear a blazer and tie, and the girls a green jumper and grey skirt. Oddly enough the girls now wear a blazer, and a very smart one. The school has now changed its name again to include " technology" and they have re-designed the badge.

The only uniform issues which attracted punishment were in PE lessons, and there were a few slipperings for failure to bring the correct PE kit, and in one instance a boy was made to wear girls knickers because he forgot his PE shorts. No doubt had this happened today the teacher would find himself in court.



Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 21 2009, 10:56 AM 

Hi Declan. A most interesting post. I am amazed at the unfortunate boy made to wear girls knickers! I can't recall when you were at school but even if it was earlier than me, which I know it wasn't, I'm shocked that a teacher would do that! Mind you, PE Masters seem to have been a law unto themselves in most schools, they certainly were in mine. One of ours could climb a rope one handed and considered that anyone who couldn't, which was everybody in my form, was a useless shirker and a thoroughly bad lot. PT wasn't fun!

In school uniform terms I think the breath of fresh air which was the sixties altered things for ever and not necessarily for the better IMHO. You can tell how powerful it was, since as noted above it even persuaded the Prefects at my school to give up the cane a few years after I left in 1960.

Nowdays boys from my school wander about in school blazers capless, tieless and with shirts unbuttoned and pulled out of their trousers just like any other schoolboys. They probably don't know about the regime we had to live with, and even if they've heard of it they probably don't believe it. They don't have Saturday morning school either, and they probably wouldn't tolerate that or the old uniform regime. It had it's advantages though. When you'd coped with something like that even working in an old fashioned Accountants Office or 1960s Local Government didn't come as too much of a shock. happy.gif


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 21 2009, 11:35 AM 

Wherever did they get those girl's knickers which the boy was forced to wear from? happy.gif Did any of the girls oblige by giving him or the PE master her own knickers? Assuming it was a mixed school.
While on this subject of knickers and school uniforms I think in some schools even the colour of the girls knickers was dictated and compulsary as part of their school uniform. It must have been very embarassing for the girls to be checked if they were wearing the right knickers. Though during the sixties and seventies this would not have been difficult since it was the miniskirt era, even in school uniforms, I remember it well. Those were the days. happy.gif


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 21 2009, 4:44 PM 

The " knickers" incident happened in about 1970 and I was at a mixed grammar school.

We had a laundry room and if you were in a school team the kit for the teams was washed for you, I assume to make sure you looked your best. This would apply to boys at rugby and cricket and for girls at hockey and netball.

When I say knickers these items were officially referred to as bloomers ,and girls wore them for PE, and were orange in colour and quite baggy and elasticated around the thighs. There would have been a few spares in the laundry room and I assume this is where the teacher who made the boy wear them got them from.

The PE teacher who made this boy wear these things did not take kindly to boys who were useless at sport, especially if they were a so called " swot" and he liked to humiliate them. This applied to that boy. I was fine as I was good at sport and not a " swot", though he did slipper me once.

I can know see why there are so many people who say they hated PE at school. though I enjoyed it. I have mentioned this teacher before on here and he is still alive and well and allegedly spends plenty of his time looking through binoculars at the school playing fields.



A_Lurkologist, here's your chance!

September 21 2009, 9:00 PM 

Hi Declan. You say:

I have mentioned this teacher before on here and he is still alive and well and allegedly spends plenty of his time looking through binoculars at the school playing fields.

Ah, that would be the teacher who featured in this thread from 7:42 AM on June 25 2009 onwards, a traditional teacher of the very best type with a pride in his school and a high slippering score to ensure the proper behaviour of his charges. Brian Damaged of course considerered that he might be in danger of imminent legal action for his observational activities but it was clear to me that he was merely exercising the right of any householder to observe, with optical assistance if required, the world outside his windows.

Cue for A_Lurkologist to leap in once more and post another cryptic comment accusing me of being Fran of Wembley! happy.gif


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 24 2009, 6:31 PM 


The only CP incident I know for uniform violation was a caning my brother received by a prefect for not raising his cap to a master. This was early 50's

NO known incidences of CP from my school apart from the PE teacher who slippered the boys for incomplete kit or dirty pumps , a couple of us girls had quite a profitable sideline with our bottle of canvas whitener, girls sneaked into the domestic science room to make sure their PE skirts were ironed to avoid of PE in underwear, lines or detention depending on the teachers mood.

First year boys had to wear short trousers and girls ankle socks. You had to feel sorry for any boy who put on a spout of growth towards the end of their first year, a few tried to get away with wearing long trousers and got sent home and coped a detention on return , girls tried to break the sock rule in the winter, several teachers were sympathetic and lenient, giving verbal warnings, others it was detention, same for not wearing a beret, cap or shirt or blouses hanging out.

Most girls got at least one pull trying to roll skirts over to shorten, breaching the no more than 2 inches above the knee rule, how many of us went through the torture of spending break kneeling on a wood floor under supervision or stood facing the corridor wall.

Second senior school the uniform rules were much more rigid, the thing that sticks in my mind, the number of times we changed in and out of uniform in any one day. Uniform was compulsory for outside school, and church . Violating uniform standards within school resulted in detention or loss of privileges, out of school, grounded and plenty of ear ache..

Don't forget Hair styles the obligatory, no longer than collar length or tied back, regulation ribbon or clips.

While on this subject of knickers and school uniforms I think in some schools even the colour of the girls knickers was dictated and compulsary as part of their school uniform. It must have been very embarassing for the girls to be checked if they were wearing the right knickers. Though during the sixties and seventies this would not have been difficult since it was the miniskirt era,

Shortening skirt lengths weren't an option at my later school , we wore dated gym slips right up to late 60's. To say nothing of hideous boaters, blazers and highly polished shoes. Knickers as you mentioned it , were compulsory of regulation colour, it didn't pose much resentment, elegant fashion hadn't found it's way to Wales. Much is myth attached to girls being individually checked than truth. Discreet opportunities to observe wouldn't have been hard in a boarding environment.

A_L wrote

BTW, while on the subject of school corporal punishment there may still be an untold story from your post at 6:46 PM on July 16th in your Uniform debate thread. I hesitate to pursue this, but Another_Lurker can't resist a skirt raising during punishment account, especially from someone with your gift for words as so excellently manifest in your 'excuses' post above. Sill Lee Asso would probably be quite pleased as well!

A_L I seem to have missed your request for elaboration , not too out of place here I hope , unfortunately you might be disappointed. No lurid tales of witnessed skirt raising,

her raging outburst during one morning assembly. that decision a contributory factor that led to skirt raising during punishment,

As mentioned above we wore traditional uniform of gym slips rather than skirts. These were secured at the waist by a sash tied and hung to the left just short of hem length,. Assemblies were held every morning where the whole school congregated as one. Apart form the fifth and six forms that were privileged with chairs, all other pupils required to sit crossed legged on the floor. The head a traditionalist was fanatical that uniform should be pristine and worn correctly, and the school assembly become the place for umpteen reminders and rants of its importance.

The day in question the head with eyes of an eagle spotted two girls distracting each other, fiddling with their sashes something a lot of us did sub consciously , she immediately summoned both to stand reprimanding them two in front of the of the whole school, there the matter might have ended, but for another girl not paying attention, also made to stand she noticed her wearing a couple of metal badge attached to her sash, This provoked the head to and outbust on violation of uniform standards .

Being one for humiliation demanded the whole school stand remove their sashes, and tie in a bow behind their back, we all felt like five year old, especially as the things were pink. Following day few assumed the dress code as normal, promptly to be told sashes would remain worn in that fashion, until otherwise instructed, in my time the rule never reverted back.

Girls being girls are not the best informers of what goes on behind closed doors until you find out by personal experience, but sometime after it become knowledge that a certain girl had been caned and that the head rather than ask the girl to remove her sash proceed to chose an alternative option to raise and fold her gymslip back, Im sure the intention was one of convenience and making good something she thought might hinder or distract from the target, rather than making any punishment more humiliating or painful than already, thereafter it became part of the formality of any caning she handed out.


Uniforms and caps

September 24 2009, 10:49 PM 


A very interesting post , just re-awakened one memory.

You mention your brother and raising caps to staff. At eleven I went to a most forbidding grammar school in Yorkshire, which was established in Elizabethan times. Not raising your cap , even as a first year 200 lines, repeat detention further infractions could imagine but didn't want to know , thank you!

Anyway I was liberated to independent school at the end of that year, and for my first year we had a 'modernising' head. Few trivial punishments .

One morning as a very wimpish forth former I was worried when asked to remain behind by my form master before assembly.........not normally good news .My form master was Head of classics, an old man ( at least as old as I today!) , and very gentle in his approach.Like Mr. Chips, full gown , mortar board ....three piece suit He told me he had been at the school since before the war, and that in those days it was a serious offence for a boy not to raise his cap to master. That morning I had passed him in the street, raised mine and said good morning Sir! ( by now ingrained habit!). He appreciated that, indeed it was the first time anyone had done so to him since the appointment of the New Head

He had contemplated reminding the whole class of this simple courtesy, but on reflection , decided not to as it might turn my life into a living hell for a few days! There , in his mind, was nothing more cruel than a pack of forth formers after blood.............!


good grief!!!!

September 24 2009, 10:54 PM 

Sorry everybody Forth not fourth TWICE IN A ROW that will never do !!!!!!!Mea maxima culpa ! Next time use the spell checker.........




Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 25 2009, 1:55 AM 

Thank you Ketta, an excellent account in your usual inimitable style, and well worth waiting for. The Welsh school cannot have been a great deal of fun, but luckily for this estimable Forum you survived it with your sense of humour intact!


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 25 2009, 1:59 PM 


Not much fun.... but life might have been whole lot easier if i had not resisted against becoming Institutionalised for so long,

THOSE OFFENDING SASHES IN FULL, you can see the high fees didn't even warrent a set of matching chairs

[linked image]



Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

September 25 2009, 11:33 PM 

Thank you Ketta, a most interesting photograph! They certainly didn't spend much on providing for your comfort during leisure time! That looks like a hard floor surface as well, so presumably no carpet. I am intrigued by what the two girls sitting on the floor are playing. Judging from the hands of the girl facing the camera it could be jacks, or as it was called here in the East Midlands, snobs. But did girls play jacks/snobs? It's so long ago now I can't remember!

You say:

but life might have been whole lot easier if i had not resisted against becoming Institutionalised for so long.

All accounts I've seen of that school suggest that it was a tough environment, unnecessarily so even by the standards of the day. I guess any signs of individuality led to the toughness becoming tyranny, which is always wrong and which you rightly resisted.


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

November 23 2009, 5:48 PM 

I was caned at my grammar school as a result of being incirrectly dressed on a cross country run. The running kit consisted of white shorts and white plimsolls, strictly no shirts. On one occasion I found a coloured bib, used for team games, which had been discarded into a hedge outside the school grounds. For some reason i thought it would be clever and "rebellious" to put it on. I intended to lose it before returning to the school but I was seen and reported. As a punishment I was ordered to complete another run during lunch time. On my return I was told I had cheated by jumping a stream rather than wading through a ford further away. I then had to report to the gym after hours where I received a four stroke caning over a vaulting horse. This was followed by a half hour of circuit training, made more difficult by the effect of the cane. Afterwards I was ordered back to the vaulting horse where I received a further six strokes. I was told that my double offence justified the severity of the thrashing.


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

November 23 2009, 8:34 PM 


Can you tell us in which year and on which planet all this occurred?


Knickers !

November 23 2009, 8:58 PM 

Declan, you previously mentioned about girls wearing orange coloured knickers, or bloomers. Was this school in St Annes ?


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

November 24 2009, 3:40 PM 

Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline November 23 2009, 8:34 PM


Can you tell us in which year and on which planet all this occurred?


"All this occurred":

In 1967.
In Hertfordshire,
which is in England,
which is in Great Britain,
which is in the United kingdom,
which is on the edge of Europe,
which is on the planet Earth


Re: Uniforms as part of Discipline

November 24 2009, 6:46 PM 

Greg_R, thank you for your response. I am sure you can understand my scepticism, exaggerated claims are not unknown on this board, though less common in recent times.

If your claim is true, you were subject to nothing short of serious abuse. I hope you or your parents took some action against those who assaulted you and others who were complicit in the act.

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