I wouldn't have hought that this was common in other boarding schools but it certainly was at KH the morning after the exam results were pinned up and also evidented by a posse of healthy but grey faced under achievers as they lined up outside JW's study listening to the steady rythmic swish of JW's cane as it promoted six equally rythmic yelps of pain from the recipient within not wishing to display a tear or grimace of pain to those without and, of course, a total impossibilty: six from JW would make a glass eye weep !
These traditional and majestic applicationS of pliable rattan to the not so pliable backsides stretched beyond their natural limits over JW's old oak chair were only ever carried out by the headmaster himself but, and after I had left and according to an old underchiever house mate of mine, the responsibility and undertaking of such ferocious beatings were also administered by the housemasters as well and, I would imagine, a way of giving JW's well practised right arm the long deserved rest it needed after years of end of term exams and a healthy stream of takers anywhere in between !
Mr Phelps was my housemaster and I took a fiery two off him one evening for taking a bite out of a bun before supper had been served ! To say those two strokes were well worth it it would have been the biggest lie on the Hill at the time - Mr P was a very proficient maths teacher and an even more proficient wielder of the cane and six from him was only survived by the stoutest of hearts and bottoms of rhino quality - and did I ever under achieve?
You can bloody well bet I didn't !