Patten 'regrets ban on corporal punishment'

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The Independent Online
JOHN PATTEN, the Secretary of State for Education, revealed yesterday that he had been beaten twice by the Jesuits for not knowing the Proof of the Second Theorem, writes Judith Judd.

Mr Patten, who attended Wimbledon College, in south-west London, declined to say at a press conference whether the beating had been effective but said on Radio 4's Today programme that he personally regretted that corporal punishment was now illegal in state schools.

He said 'I think that in certain circumstances parental restraint, parental sanctions of various sorts can be very useful.'

But he added the Government had no intention of changing the law which came into force in August 1987 after a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights. Fee-paying pupils at independent schools can still be beaten, but those on the Government-funded assisted places scheme cannot.

David Woodhead, director of the Independent Schools Information Service, said: 'There are now very few independent schools which retain corporal punishment. The tenor of advice from the Independent Schools Joint Council has been not to use it.'

Under the 1993 Education Act, no school will be able to administer inhuman or degrading corporal punishment from September this year. In May last year, the House of Lords defeated an attempt to abolish corporal punishment in all schools.