A few points here have been raised, which I am happy to try to answer.
1. I much appreciate jakew's timely reminder, supported by stage crew, that I am here as a voluntary contributor. I was beginning to wonder!
2. As to TMF's queries:
(a) References: Any sensible headmaster would not rely too heavily on a single reference. Usually at least two were requested, and served only to guide the construction of a short-list of candidates. Great stress was attached to the face-to-face interview. So, heads had the opportunity to ask exact and pertinent questions and to assess the candidates from their responses. Some heads would follow the initial reference with a phone call, finding the direct personal contact useful. Coincidentally, the head who employed me from CH knew Newsome well from university and (from what he said to me) did not have a very high opinion of his integrity, if I understood correctly; so he would not have been bowled over by the reference, however glowing. As in all cases, there was a tick list of desirable contributions to the school, in my case, mountain leadership and qualifications for running a rifle range, for example.
(b) 'Control'. In response to what TMW has said, implying an uncontrolled lashing out, and also richardb's information about the starting point for prison sentences in the modern day for such assaults as I committed then, both which cast a particularly unfavourable light on this sad incident, I say this: Context is Everything. Those were the days, spoken of with nostalgia by many now, when a policeman would give an errant youngster 'a clip around the ear'. Such discipline was widely sanctioned in usage if not in law. It was not generally regarded then as disproportionate. I entered teaching direct from university, as you could then, with no training. Before ever stepping into my first classroom I was advised by a senior colleague to establish my authority in class by making any excuse to punish some pupil with a smack around the head. That was my training to teach! You established discipline first and then learnt the trade through trial and error, but with the invaluable guidance and oversight of your department head, etc. The smack around the head was not therefore, as TMW implies, a matter of me 'losing it', it was in very widespread use and here employed as a chosen method of correction which seemed to fit the need. Having said that, it was perhaps a state school thing and I cannot recall seeing it used by other staff at CH. The problem was that in this case the blow caught the unfortunate boy awkwardly and in an unintended way and so resulted in an actual injury, which could not be ignored.
3. As to LHA's queries:
(a) I informed the Common Room soon (days, probably, rather than weeks) after I had agreed to resign, and long before I actually left. I never returned to CH after leaving, not because of any sanction against me but because I felt embarrassed at the circumstances of my departure and preferred to look forward rather than back. I was, in any case, now residing a long physical distance from the school. I was never again in touch with anyone from CH until joining this forum very recently.
(b) The name Hoskins does ring a bell, and I think that was the name of the school doctor at the time. I believe that he did speak to me before telling Newsome, out of courtesy, putting it that, unfortunate though it was, he had no alternative but to inform the headmaster, given the possible adverse influence this injury could have for the boy, in his choice of a future career etc, should it not heal... It was very gentlemanly and professional.
(c) I think that the boy was not in any way whining or complaining or trying to make trouble for me. He just accepted it as one of those things, and bore no grudge at all, or treated me in any way differently. He remained a delightful friendly young lad showing no resentment, which of course increased my sense of regret. He went to the doctor because it was a medical problem, not to complain. If he disclosed my name on request, I am sure that it would have been in all innocence in response to a direct question, not thinking of any possible repercussions for me. And his parents, once they had been informed (by the school?) were supportive of me rather than the reverse, making the excuse that their son was a bit of a handful, and no doubt it was well-deserved!
Last edited by Vilified
on Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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