BARKES at Large is, of course, right that no civilised society can envisage a return to the cane in our schools and teachers deserve our sympathy as they struggle to maintain discipline in the classroom and search for a viable alternative.
Instead of trying to impose discipline by means of external punishments, a more civilised approach is to instil in children the moral values that will enable them to practise self discipline.
In the past, when children were much better behaved than in our permissive society with its emphasis on individual rights, religious education was found to be an invaluable resource for teaching pupils their duty as members of society to respect others and help those less fortunate than themselves.
It is therefore a retrograde step that the coalition government seems determined to downgrade religious education and refuse even to contemplate the inclusion of this vital subject in the curriculum of their proposed English baccalaureate.
Rev John Brown
Manor Way, Middleton-on-Sea