At a Q&A period following this film's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, director Shane Meadows noted that the grim skinhead influenced upbringing of the 11-year-old protagonist was a true portrayal of his own childhood and many of the events depicted were drawn from his early life.
When Combo was explaining the level of unemployment in the UK at the time (1983), he referred to a figure of 3½ million. Although unemployment figures in the early 1980s were staggering this figure was not reached until 1986.
When Shaun first meets with Woody, Milky and the other skinheads, in the tunnel after the fight at Shaun's school, you can clearly see that they've written 'Screwdriver' with spray-paint, but the group it refers to is spelt 'Skrewdriver'.
The movie ends with Milky still in the hospital, as far as I can tell. The only reference afterwards is when Thomas is sitting on his bed and his mum says Milky will be alright.Also, in the televison series sequel This is England 86' Milky is shown to be alive and is one of the main characters.
Did schools still practice corporal punishment at this time?
Yes, corporal punishment in British state schools was not abolished until July 1986, three years after the setting of the film.