Parents have blasted a new headteacher’s strict new school rules that include ‘always smiling’, never looking out the window and asking permission to pick up a pen.
The newly-appointed head Natalie Teece sent her school rules to parents of pupils at John Ferneley College in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. They caused a stir among parents – and some compared the new head to Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and Miss Trunchbull from Matilda.
When the 11 to 16-year-olds return to school in September, they will be expected to ‘always smile’ and learn to respond to a series of whistle commands given by staff. 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.
Going to the toilet between lessons at the academy is banned – as is walking in a group of more than two people and looking out of windows in class. Turning around ‘even if you hear a noise’ is forbidden, and pupils have to maintain eye contact with the teacher whenever they are talking.
Children have to wait to be told they may pick up a pen or ruler, and if a teacher says hello to them they should make sure their reply is ‘upbeat’.
Disgruntled parents hit out at the new rules online. 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.