Times were different in 1965 – 1972 and children were encouraged, both at home and in school, to accept whatever punishment came their way. Undoubtedly, reporting punishments of any hue to your parents guaranteed a more severe retribution than that received in school. Few parents challenged the disciplinary measures, which were fair and deserved in virtually all cases.


The punishment in school reflected the seriousness of the “crime” committed. There was a class or whole school detention that was used sparingly by most staff. Serious cases of indiscipline would lead to Saturday detention or a physical punishment. Mr Woodman reluctantly administered all corporal punishment, either with a gym slipper or the cane, but this was a male-only punishment. Although the amount of physical punishment was very limited many a story has been embellished over the years whilst sipping a pint of beer and reflecting on PC.


During my seven-years at the school the only time I remember an incident of corporal punishment being used on our class was when we were in Lower Sixth year. All the boys had been messing around and we were sent to the Principal. The punishment was the slipper, to be administered onto our rear-end, in truth the anticipation was much worse than the aimed-shot. However, I do remember sitting in the PE changing-room in second or third year when two older boys came in and showed us three neat marks on their buttocks. The memory of that day probably saved us from repeating their mistakes during our school days or more likely in getting caught.


I do remember an expulsion but the offence was rather serious being related to health and safety. In essence an end-of-term prank that was ill-judged and unfortunately it escalated out of control during the excitement of the day. It all seems so long ago and the details will remain firmly in the past.


What we need to remember is that almost 1000 pupils are very difficult to keep in line and they did not have to break the rules. Growth-spurts, testosterone, hormones and exam pressures can lead teenagers to make some poor choices. The “Deeke” was a fair man and administering punishment of any sort also affected him, as it was a sign of collective failure.








Portadown College Class of 1972


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