I have recently been cataloguing some files from a collection donated to the IOE by an organisation called STOPP (Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment). When we started discussing how to catalogue the collection I did a little bit of research into the dates involved. I was startled to learn that corporal punishment in schools was not made illegal in the UK until 1986, leaving it lagging behind many other countries in the world, some by hundreds of years (corporal punishment in schools in Poland was banned in 1783).
The group campaigned for their cause for around 20 years and the papers can help us to understand the various functions of the organisation. Having previously catalogued flyers that had been produced as part of single issue campaigns it’s been interesting to gain an understanding into how “pressure” groups work, and the sides of them that may not be so obvious.
While STOPP lobbied the Government, they also gave advice to parents of children who had been beaten at school, tirelessly fought to gain the support of teaching unions and other professional bodies, and amassed large amounts of research to support their argument. They produced reports, pamphlets, leaflets and established substantial links with the press.
Once catalogued, parts of this collection will be available to researchers, and at some point we hope to do an exhibition in the foyer about it. In the meantime, if the argument for the abolition of corporal punishment in UK schools relates to your current studies you might wish to look at the following publications available in the library: