On 21st February 1907 Cambridgeshire Education Committee passed a resolution “That every head teacher be required to keep a Punishment Book, in which every case of corporal punishment shall be entered forthwith, with the description and amount of punishment and the offence for which it is administered; and that hereafter only head teachers be allowed to administer this form of punishment.”
The images below (pupils’ names have been hidden) are from the book that was issued to Meldreth School when it opened in April 1910. The entries range in date from May 1910 to April 1983, but the book was not always used. For example, there are no entries at all from 1920 to 1946 and from 1963 to 1982.
The first entry in the book is dated 30 May 1910 when a boy received “one stroke on each hand” for throwing stones at a horse in an adjacent field. Other earlier punishable offences include being late, insolence, refusing to obey, laughing and gaming. A typical punishment was one or two strokes or stripes on each hand.
It appears that some pupils may have been punished simply for being unable to answer a question: one boy received three stripes for “deceit with sums” and other pupils were punished for “not opening mouth” and “deceit and refusing to speak”.
From 1947 onwards, most punishments were for fighting or hitting other children.