Benefits of the strap in schools

SIR — So Paul Blum wants to smile his way to teaching success. What a “bummer” (News review, May 2). I had two days of supply teaching in Highbury Grove in 1996, the only school I ever worked where the staff-room door had a combination lock with new numbers every week.

At the end of day one, when everything Mr Blum describes had happened, in every class, I asked to have my employment slip signed. A kindly deputy head explained that happened on day two. I explained there would be no day two. It was people like Mr Blum who, mainly through condemning corporal punishment, paved the way for the lunatics to take over the asylums.

It was with the early establishment of my willingness to belt children, if necessary, that I and my colleagues kept order and taught lessons in tough Scottish schools in the Fifties. We also stayed after hours to run the folk-song club and took kids on Saturday “trips” to the seaside. The late, great ex-schoolteacher folk singer Matt McGinn could have put Mr Blum right if only he had listened: “To belt a boy is a terrible thing, For everyone’s a mother’s son. Take the belts from all the teachers. Issue everyone a gun.”