FURIOUS parents have slammed school rules which allegedly force kids to always smile, never look out windows and respond to teachers’ whistles.
The new rules implemented by a headteacher in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, have divided the parents after they were sent out ahead of pupils’ return to school in September.
According to the new rules, kids have to wait to be told they can pick up a pen or ruler, and if a teacher greets them with a “hello”, they should make sure their reply is “upbeat”[/caption]
Some parents who were unhappy about the rules went as far as to share GIFs on Facebook of Nazi soldiers[/caption]
According to the rules set by newly-appointed head of John Ferneley College, Natalie Teece, students will be expected to “always smile” and learn to respond to a series of whistle commands given by staff.
Further to this, they must enter the classroom in single file, “never forget to say Sir or Miss”, always sit up straight and must “thank your teacher for your lesson” as they leave the room.
Toilet breaks between lessons at the academy are banned, as is walking in a group of more than two people and looking out of windows during class time.
Students are not permitted to turn around if they’re distracted by a noise, or similar, and students are expected to maintain eye contact with the teacher whenever they are talking.
Kids have to wait to be told they can pick up a pen or ruler, and if a teacher greets them with a “hello”, they should make sure their reply is “upbeat”.
The list of new rules has caused a stir among parents and have prompted some to compare the new head to Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and Miss Trunchbull from Matilda.
Some unhappy parents went as far as to share GIFs on Facebook of Nazi soldiers.
One wrote on a community Facebook page: “Absolutely horrendous. I do agree with the respect and some parts but a lot of this is like some sort of prison camp.
“The school needs to remember we are still going through a pandemic and the world is crazy right now.
“A lot of children are suffering with mental healthy right now and this is going to tip them over the edge.”
One woman wrote: “The smile part is just wrong. You can’t be forced to smile at all times.”
Another took issue with the whistle-related rules, pointing out that their children are “not dogs”.
However, other parents were in favour.
One said: “Most of those rules apply in schools anyway, just look worse when they are put in writing.”
Walking in a group of more than two people in school grounds is banned[/caption]
Teece, who is currently the secondary head, will start her new position as head of school in the next academic year[/caption]
Another wrote: “I think the main bulk of this is absolutely fine and these rules should be in every school; children don’t have respect these days.”
The new rules were sent to parents in an e-booklet, delivered with three videos explaining the research and reason behind them.
Screen grabs posted from the videos showed the rules governed ten aspects of school life – which were titled “entries, line up, mobiles equipment, movement and uniform”.
A rule on sitting up straight said: “You never slouch. Be sitting up straight you are demonstrating physical respect. […] No exceptions. No excuses.”
And another said: “You always smile. You are polite and welcoming. When you greet somebody you smile, when a teacher says hello to us in the corridor you reply with an upbeat ‘Hello Miss!’ or ‘Morning Sir!’ and you smile.”
The guidelines inform students that they are “extremely fortunate to be in a school that is very popular” and must walk around the school only in single file or pairs.
Teece, who is currently the secondary head, will start her new position as head of school in the next academic year.
She has claimed most parents are in support of the new regiment.
In response to the comments received, Natalie Teece today said: “Our priority here at JFC is student well-being.
“All of the amendments we are making to our policy are intended to help and support our already fantastic students and prepare them for later life.
“Our staff will support these with warmth and compassion.”
The rules were intended to help students interact with adults, she said, but would not be forced upon students who may be shy or find interactions difficult.
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“We already operate a code word system for the use of the toilet during lessons which [has proven] to be successful and there will be an increase of clubs and activities for students to attend during lunchtime when they will no longer be on their mobile phones.
“Our school is a happy, successful environment and we and I’m proud of the waiting lists we have in each year group at the moment.
While the school “always values” feedback from students and parents, Teece said she was “confident” the amendments would help to improve what was already a “great” school.