Discipline

"Huyton Hill was not a harsh regime by the standards of the day. We called the staff Sir and Ma'am and they called us by our Christian names. This was the exception rather than the rule at Prep schools in this era. Staff didn't exceed the bounds of reasonable discipline. There was no widespread bullying or abuse by older boys. Among ourselves we used nicknames, friendly and less kind.
Corporal punishment was very uncommon and I can't recall any examples. A small minority behaved badly almost routinely and we all had our moments of getting away with what we could. By and large, though, rules were dutifully obeyed.
The culture was not designed to divide the strong and the weak. The Butlers were firmly in charge and everyone, staff and boys alike, was respectfully deferential to them both." - Peter Royds (1957-1962)
 
Points System
For the time, the school discipline was very forward looking and used a system of points that triggered rewards or loss of privileges instead of traditional methods, and there was no corporal punishment by the mid 1960's.

The points system evolved over time, during the 1950's daily points were given or taken away depending upon behaviour, The boys could earn extra plus points in the holidays by getting their parents to sign for the fact that they had had a cold bath every morning of the holidays (giving one point per day) or by pulling willow weeds along the school drive, (giving one point per hundred willows). There was a Conduct List published to show the ranking of boys according to their point score (affectionately known as the 'Spite and Favour' list).

By the 1960's the system had changed so that each day every pupil was awarded 10 points which accumulated daily and a perfect score for the week was 70. Minor infringements could cause the loss of 1 or 2 points with a range of up to 10 points lost for major misbehaviour. Good behaviour or doing helpful things could be rewarded with extra plus points so very exceptionally it was possible to accumulate 100 points in a week. Then at the end of the week the point scores were announced, with good conduct badges for those who lost no points and loss of privileges for those who lost too many points. Finishing the week with a minus score meant extra detention for studies, not being allowed to watch the film or TV and being confined during break times.
 
This is a green Conduct badge (the only known original in existence, preserved by Richard Rudkin) for Alfred House for accumulating 75 points in a week. The Arthur House badge was blue. On rare occasions for accumulating 100 points in a week a red Conduct badge was given.
 
Every Sunday sweets were handed out in a ceremony that involved queueing up to select a chocolate bar or pack of sweets, those at the back of the queue might find their favourite sweet gone, and those who finished the week with a 'minus' points score got none. The rarity of sweets raised their value and they were then sometimes used for trading valued items such as Dinky toys.
 
Hercules Duty
1950's
"Regularly one of us was taken out of school for the day and given 21 tasks to complete as Hercules. I seem to remember it happened about once a term for me. It included shovelling coke from the shute and into the boiler hopper, cleaning all the outdoor shoes, drying up all the plates at lunch-time and doing other jobs around the estate. I don't think there can have been many ground staff, which is perhaps why Estate Work was so important and why there was a spade for each of us. I hated picking gravel off the lawn that cars had thrown up from the drive."

 

"On the subject of Hercules, my father kept all my school reports in a file together with a number of letters I wrote. Here is an extract from a letter I wrote on 12 June 1954:

 “Jeep is one of the dogs, and he was lost and Miss McClements found him at Clappergate. The life savers have been practising for the life saving test. The up stairs dorm are doing the fire drill. The steamers have started last Sunday. Last Sunday we had two films one was the school film and one was an African film. I was Hercules that means we do all kind of jobs. I clean the shoes, I get the waste paper and I brush Jeep and Rusty and do other jobs. I sweep all the steps round the school and you get tuck for it.”

I thought slavery was abolished in the 19th Century!"

 
1960's
"Being 'Hercules' was a duty, either early morning or during the evening - I cannot remember which. There was yet another list, for the Hercules duty. I think that this 'honour' was reserved for boys at a particular age in the school - probably the older boys. I think each boy had to do the duty for one week. The task was to change into blue games shorts, and red or white house colour tee shirt. Then.... go into the basement, and into the boiler room and collect a 'swill'. A swill was a large shallow oval basket, and these were used for several purposes, including estate work, collecting leaves, logs etc. Armed with the swill, Hercules would make a tour of all the classrooms (Playroom, Riley, Library Crossley - and I think also the two rooms upstairs in the boat house) collecting the daily accumulated rubbish from the waste paper bins in each room! The collected rubbish was returned to the boiler room and deposited into a large Hessian sack, which was supported mouth open, in a wall mounted metal frame, ready to receive rubbish!"
 
Escape from School
"I remember hearing tales about boys who had attempted to escape from the School, including one of a boy who had taken a boat and rowed out over the water to freedom - until, that is, he was apprehended by officers of the law on the other side of the lake. This appealed to my sense of adventure, and, one evening, at the end of the play period, I hid in the bushes before setting off through the woods (with the intention of going where precisely I cannot recall). However, I had not gone far in the encroaching dark when I entirely lost my nerve, and headed back towards the School, fearful of retribution. It was something like the feeling you might get from falling off the edge of a high cliff, an irreversible horror.
 
I was found on the way and led back to the School by some senior boys. Once inside I was received by a visibly livid HDB, who took me by one ear and forced my head down before leading me past ranks of watching boys in that abased attitude. I quite understand that the School was responsible for my safety and general well-being, and that I had behaved stupidly and irresponsibly, but I believe that such humiliation (and it was physical too) ought not to have been inflicted on a young boy, especially in the sight of his peers. I was smacked by the Major on at least one and possibly two occasions, and I believe that this must have been one of them. Although I do not recall the other offence, I am perfectly certain that the punishment was thoroughly deserved on each occasion. I remember too the Major's facial expression and manner on these occasions, and although his resolve was very clear, it seemed to me that the necessity of such punishment was a matter of some distaste to him, an unpleasant duty that he had to perform.
 
I had envisaged my 'escape' as a thing of bravado, with a dollop of kudos to be had as well, but terror and abject humiliation were the only consequences, and the punishment (HDB's, together with the dread anticipation of my return) was certainly greater than the 'crime'. The Major's iron hand would have sufficed.
 
I  share this rather personal recollection because laudatory words (of which we have rightly employed a great many of late) are reinforced by just criticisms that offset bias, and because I trust Old Huytonians to receive the above information in the spirit in which it is offered. That trust is, I believe, at least partly a consequence of my education at Huyton Hill and the sense of loyalty and comradeship that have arisen out of it. Needless to say I have never found that fabled circle of a moral elite in what we call 'real life', but my time at Huyton Hill, and what that still means to me, is the closest I have come to the ideal.
"
 
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