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Quantock School Discipline

Prefects... Perfect?

The Head and senior staff were assisted in their day to day management of the duties and punishments by the school's prefects, all of whom were taken from the senior year. Usually appointed by either the Head or Mr. Phil, prefects were responsible for the drawing up of duty lists and the organisation of duties; they also had the power to "sentence" pupils to punishment, a procedure known to everyone as booking. Dependent on the crime, a pupil who had been booked could be sentenced in a number of ways, from simply being placed on the washing up list through to being sent to the head for something a bit more direct. According to the 1981 edition of the Prospectus:

Each [prefect] has a notebook in which he may write details of offences, and these are brought to the notice of the Headmaster at the weekly prefects' meeting. At this meeting - when personal feelings have had time to cool - the Headmaster hears the various reports, and a punishment list is produced. There is, of course, a right of appeal to the Headmaster even then.

While in earlier days this system probably worked as the powers that be had intended, as time wore on these procedures became more unorthodox and at times rather chaotic. For example, as far as the administration of punishment duty lists were concerned, the prefects usually took care of the issue themselves. While one could in theory appeal against Prefects' decisions, it was in the main something of a futile exercise. For the most part, pupils who were on the receiving end simply accepted what was doled out to them with a reluctant smile and, usually when the said prefect was out of sight and earshot, the usual kind compliment. (You can see the contents of a prefects' duties list from the late 1980s below). With regard to corporal punishment, the official procedure was similarly truncated: more often than not, prefects would instantly "sentence" the offender by taking them almost immediately to the Head or other member of senior staff who would administer punishment there and then. In these cases, the appeals "procedure" didn't really amount to much more than a lame response usually beginning with "but Sir..." which for the most part was instantly rejected.

Prefects' Duties List

The role and status of the Quantock School prefect changed markedly over the years, with the system complete with the elaborate appeals procedures outlined in early versions of the prospectus graudually being transformed into something far less elite. From the late 1980s for example, the entire fifth year were given prefectorial status. Below is a transcript from the Prefects Duties list from the late 1980s, which will hopefully remind many of the day to day routine at Quantock.

1. DINING ROOM - those responsible for a) serving b) trolley and c) table duty, make sure that they arrive in good time.
See that these duties are done properly and that those doing the duties have their meals last not first.
See that the dining room is swept by 1st or 2nd year on minor detention. Supervise 4.30 tea and see that those on table duty clean the room and wash up.

2. BREAKFAST - arrive for this duty not later than 7.20.
Supervise the queue. Make sure that all pupils are properly dressed (send away if not). Supervise meal requirements and make sure that plates etc are sufficient in number and clean.

3. LUNCH - Same as for breakfast, making sure in particular that all are properly dressed etc.

4. TEA - as for breakfast and lunch.

The most difficult of the above tasks is number 1. RESPONSIBILITY is for overall organisation and behaviour.

5. WASHING UP - punishments are in the form, at present, of units of washing up (remembering that two washings up in any one week means a Saturday detention.)
All details concerning these must be kept up to date in the Washing up book for which R. Alcock is responsible.
In the morning the duty prefect should ensure that those detailed for washing up should report at 7.30 and start no later than 7.45.

WASHING UP must be seen to be done thoroughly - not just dipping - and well dried afterwards.
When finished - floor must be dried and cloths left out to be aired or washed. In the morning - all should be finished in good time for assemply to be attended.
Those having completed the task properly have their names removed from the punishment book.

6. JUNIOR WING - Morning, arrive at 7.30 (not sooner). Help Mr Edwards and Mr Hazel to supervise. Each prefect to be responsible for one or two rooms for the whole week.
Evening. Arrive not later than 8.45 and help Matron to get all boys washed and in dorms by 15 minutes before lights out time.
Both morning and evening, see that the dorms are left as tidy as possible.

7. GIRLS WING - Similar to boys' - with the addition of being in the girls' junior block on Saturday afternoon to help if needed.

8. JUNIOR PREP - Arrive 4.55pm. and then help to see that all have arrived and are settled to work. SEE THAT THEY BRING A BOOK TO READ IF THEY ARE NOT WRITING. Supervise those watching Blue Peter.

9. CHECKS, Sat-Sun. Check all up to and including 3rd year are present at tea. At 7.00 check ALL (PERSONALLY) are present at their activities.

(Thanks to Mike Blake for providing me with the original of this document).

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