Publication - FOI/EIR release

Corporal punishment in schools in Scotland from 1970 - 1980s: FOI release

Published: 26 Oct 2018
Directorate:
Digital Directorate
Part of:
Public sector

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
26 Oct 2018
Corporal punishment in schools in Scotland from 1970 - 1980s: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02577
Date received: 13 September 2018  
Date responded: 12 October 2018
 
Information requested

Information on corporal punishment in schools in Scotland from 1970 - 1980s.  You requested:

1. Was parental agreement sought before any punishment to a child was administered?

2. Were records kept of punishments/beatings administered. I.e when a pupil was belted, did the teacher record the date of this event and the reasons for the punishment?

3. Was there a list of punishable offences that the teachers worked from and did they have to follow any criteria before administering punishment?

4. Teachers administered punishments with no right of appeal. Why was this?

5. What checks and balances were there in place to counter-act the over-zealous teachers in the use of the belt?

6. Were any teachers in Glasgow area sanctioned for the over-use of corporate punishment?

7. Was a child’s emotional vulnerability highlighted to staff/teachers and taken into consideration before punishment, such as coming from a broken home or the death of a parent? This would have been addressed at teacher’s staff meeting, I presume?

8. Who was the Education Minister in place looking after Scottish Schools in 1979 -1981?

9. Has legal action ever been raised against the Education Department for the physical abuse of children in its charge in the 1970s?

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not hold, in terms of section 17 of FOISA (Notice that information is not held), some of  the information you have requested. We do not hold information to answer your questions 1 – 7 inclusive.  However, information related to some or all of these questions may be available from records held by National Records of Scotland under section 25 of FOISA (Information available elsewhere).  I have provided information (as per the Annexes attached) about how you can access this.

We have been able to answer questions 8 and 9 respectively.

8. Who was the Education Minister in place looking after Scottish Schools in 1979 -1981?

The Secretary of State for Scotland who had responsibility for the Scottish Education Department was:

Bruce Millan (Lab)               8 April 1976 – 4 May 1979

George Younger (Con)       5 May 1979 – 11 January 1986

The senior Civil Servant with responsibility for the Scottish Education Department:

1979 – 1981 was Mr J A M Mitchell CB CVO MC. (See annexes for Civil Service Yearbook) (section 25(1) of FOISA (Information otherwise accessible).

9. Has legal action ever been raised against the Education Department for the physical abuse of children in its charge in the 1970s?

I can confirm that there have been 29 actions for damages raised against Scottish Ministers, as statutory successors of the Scottish Education Department, (as one of a number of defenders) by individuals claiming physical or emotional abuse suffered in Scottish schools which was said to have occurred between 1970 and 1980. None of the actions proceeded to a substantive hearing against Scottish Ministers in light of the decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session in M v Hendron 2007 SC 556.

I have included a print out of the Court of Session M v Hendron 2007 SC 556 from the link below (section 25(1) of FOISA (Information otherwise accessible).

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/search-judgments/judgment?id=009b86a6-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 
Edinburgh 
EH1 3DG