§ Mr. Bill Walker
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the position with regard to compliance in Scotland with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Campbell and Cosans v. United Kingdom, concerning the use of corporal punishment in schools; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Younger
Compliance with the Court's judgment means that there must be respect in schools for the philosophical convictions of parents against the use of corporal punishment. It remains my view that this would be best secured by completion of the voluntary process of elimination of corporal punishment in education authority schools which has been the long-standing general aim in Scotland. Most education authorities have taken positive steps to this end, though not all have met the target date of the end of 1983–84 school session which I suggested. I shall continue to press those few authorities which have not yet taken steps to eliminate corporal punishment in their schools to do so.
Most education authorities have also taken measures to ensure that, until the process of elimination is completed, there will be respect in their schools for the philosophical convictions of parents against the use of corporal punishment. The Court's judgment is binding upon the Government and I have decided that it is now right for me to take steps to support those authorities which have already acted and to ensure through legislation compliance throughout Scotland with the judgment.
It is therefore my intention to introduce when parliamentary time permits a Bill to provide for parents of pupils in education authority schools to have the option to exempt their children from corporal punishment.