Daily Mirror

BEND over, boy!


You didn’t find a lot of Christian kindness in church schools in the past.

“Punishment was rife in my school which was nicknamed The Yozzers in the 1970s,” says Billy Doyle in Birkenhead, Merseyside, who went to St Hugh’s RC Secondary Modern.

Being a strict Catholic school, Billy recalls they had to attend mass on Sundays then be tested on whether they’d been paying attention.

“On Monday we’d be asked to name the garments the priest was wearing that day,” says Billy. “When I was asked, I said, ‘He was wearing a frock, and his handbag was on fire.’ Obviously I was sent to the headmaster where I got four of the best.”

The headmaster, Mr McGrath, kept a stick and a book in his office.

“He’d whack you with the stick, then put your name down in the book. I think I had a whole chapter in there!” Billy also had a teacher named Miss Murphy who had a bizarre way of punishing children.

“When she gave you the cane, she would make you kneel down and extend your arms into a crucifix, then whack you dead hard.”

Things got so bad at school he started playing truant. “I sagged and got two years’ probation for that. The school board would send a member on a pushbike to catch me in the local market.”

Thankfully, things changed for Billy in his fourth year.

“A new English teacher, Miss Kellaway, changed my view on school life. She was so kind, even when she had to give me the cane, she let it drop like a feather on my hand.

“Due to her help and my imaginatio­n, I got the highest mark ever in English Lit.”

Did you get the cane? Or did a teacher inspire you? Email your stories to siobhan.mcnally@mirror.co.uk

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