"One to Ten"
Edited excerpts from the
St Augustine's Old Boys Message Board

I would like to hear other people's views on this guy. Try as I might, I cannot but recall my days in his form as being anything but a time of abject terror, with the slightest infringement of his bizarre rules being met with loutish violence. To my mind, and I think I've only just realised this, he and Jessett were probably the two primary reasons why I despised the place. I remember him as a thug, a calculating, violent no-mark who clearly enjoyed the thrill of reducing children to tears. I remember many staff who had the humanity and intelligence not to sink to the depths afforded them by the system as it was in those days, but he rose to the challenge with brutish enthusiasm. Can anyone please explain to me how someone sits down at home, maybe in the local over a pint, possibly joking with a mate, and thinks up a "system" of humiliating and brutal ways of violating children?

What a load of crap. he was one of the better teachers at Augustines. If you think being taught maths by Blokes like Starkey and Leonard was useful you must be dreaming. I was constantly rubbish at Maths until I got in his class. I grant you he was tough but if you behaved like a dickhead you deserved your punishments. I seem to remember he did not like fairy boys.

I'm with you on this one. You may want to peruse the ongoing message string entitled "Punishment Number..." And like you, I thank God my own sons aren't subjected to this kind of criminal abuse.
And no, no one deserves to be belted ten times in this manner.

I don't think it is justified to single him out for scrutiny after all these years. His punishments were no more unsavoury than straps, belts pumps hair pulling or any other forms of mental/ physical abuse that were seen over the years.
Don't get me wrong, he wasn't my 'cup of tea', especially after getting a number 2 with a classmate even though I was innocent of any charges. I lived with it and as statistics go most people who got caught were guilty of some sort of 'crime'.
Think about all the times you didn't get caught and look on them as well.
He is no more guilty than other adminstrators of corporal punishment which was legal at the time; he just couldn't be arsed writing out dockets.
Move on.

I quite agree, speaking as someone who was on the receiving end. There was an awful lot of corporal punishment, but that fact isn't what you remember- it was the individual teachers way of implementing it that sticks in your mind. His way certainly was dramatic, but it had a dramatic responce as well- as it was designed to do. In reality though, it was no different from being picked up by the roots of your hair, having your face slapped against a blackboard by being clouted round the back of the head, or being rapped against the bony part of your shins by the edge if a stick.
The mode of punishment seems to hide the fact that corporal punishment was a way fo life in the school at the time. Looking back, I certainly remember that, whenever I was receiving some kind of punishment, it didn't seem wrong that it was happening. The thought process seemed to be, "this is normal for the school, and so there's nothing wrong with it happening."
It is certainly something I would not allow my children to be subjected to in any way, shape or form nowadays though, as it is not now the norm.
Those times have gone, and I have moved on.


In the First Year(!), asked if anyone had not brought in their Maths homework, Kevin O’Sullivan had not and he was duly summoned to stand at the front of the class and raise his chin. At which point he slapped him repeatedly on both cheeks (facial!), as if he was clapping his hands with the hapless Kevin’s head in the way! I remember he used to number his various punishments, reputedly the most severe punishment (number 1) was a belt across the shins with a cricket stump!


just a bully. I didn't take chemistry because i'd watched him knock shit out of people for little excuse and didn't fancy a bit myself. I was very pleased to hear he once jokingly sparred upto a bloke in st johns snooker club Benchill and was belted .To suggest his merits were being a better teacher than Bilko and Starkey is like arguing Idi was a nicer chap than Stalin.If any one can remember Mr Goddfrey who taught Maths without violence, now that was a top man.Was any one lucky enough to be taught by Mr Holland in 79 for History. This was a truely inspirational teacher who's classroom management NEVER rose beyond "come on fellahs" and didn't have to because he was niether a bully,a toss pot or a thug,good luck to you Mr H where ever you are.

...my type of guy....do the right thing and you are ok,fuck about and watch out.Up front and genuine,not like some of (most of) the other power crazed,vindictive bastards that paraded as teachers.If you look back and imagine being in the same age group as they were then they would probably shit themselves stupid in a confrontation with you.I look back now and despise most of the pricks for their abuse of trust and authority.
...if ever he had anything to do with picking the football team, I was always in but petty grudges harboured by the likes of Howells meant I was out.With him you got what you saw and without any two-faced agenda.

It's good to be reminded that although there were some bullies and some useless idiots, there were actually some top quality teachers at Augustine's.These could inspire an interest in a subject without resorting to violence or the issue of dockets.
Some that spring to mind are Messrs Addis,Dennison
Brennan,Foley, Widdall, Glynn, McCabe, Rigby,
Scrowston, Smith, Whiteman, Morrison and Fr Stratton.

Mostly I would agree and add Mike Allen, Barney Quinn and Barry Thorpe among others, however I would disagree on Harry Rigby. Anybody who gets off on tugging the hair of 11 year olds and slamming their heads against desks is not going to get my personal reccomendation as a great teacher. Oh and all the PE staff were, stupid, badly educated, malicious, childish and not fit to be in charge of children, execpt possibly for Hewitt who just seemed out of his depth. But quite how you get out of your depth when teaching PE is another mystery.

Some PE teachers who were an exception to this were Denny Howells, Joe Kirwan and (?) Flevill.
My main gripe against some PE teachers was that they only seemed interested in the lads who made it to the year footy teams.At games we were given 4 cricket stumps, sent to Hollyhedge Park and left to our own devices.Often we would stand around talking the whole time and no-one knew any different.
The above 3, however, were spot on and should have been on my first list.
Sorry to hear about Rigby . I can only take as I find and never saw him do anything like that.


Anyone out there ever been subjected to punishments that involved a simultaneaous smack to each side of the face? I remember poor old Nipper getting punishment number six, and it was painful enough just watching it! Can anyone top it? I once received a number two, and my face is still stinging now from the memory.
Step forward, you pained pupils.

Zyggy - I saw you get the number 2 - I could feel it in the 3rd row.... However, I think he put chalk dust on his hands from the board rubber to create a better sting.

I had a "Punishment No. 2" in my first year. I hadn't done my homework (again!) (Even when I did it I usually got 0/10, so there wasn't much point!).
He called me to the class, stood me up in front of all the boys, braced himself and, using both palms, slapped me across both sides of the face 10 times. I was a blubbering wreck and the whole class was silent. He then sent me out to the toilets to "get myself cleaned up, Sully".
A few months later, John Jackson, in my class, was in the same situation. He called Jackson up to the front; all the class knew what was going to happen and were deadly silent. Just before he started though, he told me to stand up, and asked me if Jackson should receive Punishment No. 2, to which I said, "No". He then let Jackson sit down without the punishment, and allowed me to have a night excused from homework,whenever I wanted, but it was not an offer I ever took him up on.
Incidentally. I went to Loreto after St Augustines, and he came in to the college one day, to meet former pupils, in some sort of careers shop event that was organised. I went up to him, told him who I was and there was not the slightest glimmer of recognisation at all. He smelt strongly of alcohol, even thought it was lunch-time. That is the last time I ever saw him, and the last memory of him I have. Not a pleasant way to be remembered by the pupils you teach, I'm sure, for any teacher

Ten Whacks!!! That's a number ten, not a number two. But you have my heart-felt sympathy all the same.

So what were his punishments and what did they all comprise of?

There was nothing complicated about his punishments. They were simply named after the number of facial assaults he administered. So a number two was two whacks, and in your case, Kevin, ten whacks was a number ten. It doesn't say much for the man's maths skills if he told you it was a number two!