Pupils Leave School After Intro Of Strict Rules

21 September 2017, 16:31

Barry Smith

Parents at a school in Great Yarmouth say more than 20 children have left since the start of term - after the new head teacher introduced strict rules.

Barry Smith was brought in to turn the struggling Charter Academy around - but faced criticism when he released rules that included telling parents what time thier children should be going to bed.

Other include that pupils must track a teacher with their eyes whenever the teacher is talking and pupils must walk between lessons silently in single file.

Parent Kelvin Seal, who set up the Facebook group Yarmouth High Worried Parents in response to concerns over the new rules, said he had been told that 23 parents had taken their children out of the school since the start of term, and that some of these were in response to the rules.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said it had received 13 requests for transfers from Great Yarmouth Charter Academy to another school, but could not comment on the figures claimed.

If a parent decided to withdraw their child and did not request a transfer, they would not be aware of it, the spokesman added.

The former Great Yarmouth High School was taken over by the Inspiration Trust and renamed Charter Academy this summer. The academy said around a third of pupils at Great Yarmouth High School left without a pass in English and maths in 2017.

James Goffin, a spokesman for Inspiration Trust, said the number of pupils leaving was not a cause for concern, and parents had also approached the academy asking for their children to join.

"It's something that happens at every school in September, particularly with year seven pupils," he said. "They often find they come in and their friends are at a different school.

"We're not surprised there's been some movement. We've had some parents who have asked about joining Charter as well. It's not one way."

Parent Darren Wheeler said he removed his 13-year-old daughter from Charter Academy after hearing reports of children wetting themselves in class. The school has a rule banning children from going to the toilet during class time or between lessons.

The behaviour guide states: "We never go to the toilet between lessons or in lesson time.

"The toilets are open before lessons and at break times.

"You should not go to the toilets in the last five minutes of break to ensure you do not miss a single second of lesson time."

Mr Wheeler, whose daughter is in year nine and started at Caister Academy this week, said the rule was "inhumane".

"She suffers from IBS so she needs to go to the toilet whenever," he said.

Asked about this, Mr Goffin said: "If there's a medical reason, a genuine reason, then that would be fine. We will make reasonable adaptions where there's a genuine need.

"There's been a problem in the past with people claiming they need the loo just to get out of lessons. It's not an unusual policy. The toilets aren't locked, which is being claimed by some people."