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Quantock School Discipline

Was it really as bad as we all seem to remember?

One thing a lot of former Quantock pupils will fondly remember are the various punishments and duties that were part and parcel of everyday school life. Sometimes the differentiation between what was a punishment and what was a regulation duty was hazy, and things changed frequently over the years. Many of the duties and punishments were crucial to the smooth running of the school machinery, particularly during mealtimes. Such duties included trolley, table and serving duty, as well as being consigned to doing the washing up.

In my days at Quantock, washing up was a punishment, although some from other periods have maintained that it was a rostered duty. Either way, the sinks needed to be staffed in order to ensure the successful circulation of clean crockery and cutlery. At the other end of the scale were such things as potato-peeling duty or "spuds", log chopping and the rare but painful corporal punishments, usually administered by the Head or one of the senior members of staff. Gerry Warriner's cane was particularly feared!

The disciplinary system at Quantock School was clearly set out in the Prospectus, but the reality on the ground was markedly different. Many of the very legalistic rules - such as a rather elaborate appeals process(!) - were never applied; it is highly likely that the staff, let alone the prefects, were not even aware of what most of these rules actually entailed.

"Book him!"

The rather crazy application of what was called 'discipline' was epitomised during the late 1980s, when the then borderline senile Gerry Warriner would take Prep: if he heard a noise come from one corner of the room he would cast his eye to that corner, jab his finger in the direction of some random person and shout "Book him!" Of course, the prefect on duty was more than keen to sign up yet another sap for washing up, even if he might have had his head clearly lodged in his books at the time. I was once the victim's of Gerry's finger, and ended up being sentenced to two days washing up - for doing nothing more than quietly getting on with my work while the prat behind me was laughing like a madman. I didn't even entertain the idea of lodging an appeal; it would have been easier to nail a marble to a table than take Gerry on.

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