Mum brands ‘must stand for teachers’ rule a “regimented power trip”

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A mum has described her children’s school’s new rule of making pupils stand up when an adult enters the room as a “regimented power trip” and a “throwback to Victorian times”.

Michelle Westgarth-Graham says parents have not been made aware of rule changes by Saltersgill secondary and sixth form – the largest Catholic school in Middlesbrough.

But head teacher Louise Dwyer has responded by saying the school is “getting the basics right” in an effort to combat behavioural issues which she claims have been bought on by recent “turbulence” with the school’s leadership, report Teesside Live.



The school says its policy of standing up for guests is having a “positive impact”

Pupils are also greeted on entering the classroom by staff which is having a “positive effect on the majority of pupils”.

But mum-of-five Michelle says the new regime left her feeling “shocked” when she learned about it.

She said: “I know the school has an issue with behaviour.

“I’m just not convinced that kind of conformity is the way to stamp it out.

“What next, a salute?

“Respect comes from a special place and you have to earn it, respect the children and that will be given back to you.

“I feel as though it’s a power thing, it is a bit power-happy and has an awful feel to it.”

‘Can of worms’

She added: “It should never be ‘do as I say without question, I get respect whether I’m a good person or role model or not’.

“You are opening up a whole can of worms.

“The school has implemented some really good things, the head has come in and got stuck in and is sorting these things out.

“But this is a little bit too far.

“What else is implemented without parents knowing?”

In 2018 the school was deemed ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted but the schools watchdog said in December behaviour had “improved markedly”.

Mrs Dwyer said: “Our aim is to build on the strong Catholic ethos that already exists and ensure that all staff have a driving ambition for every child to excel.

“We teach our pupils to have respect for one another, the staff and environment.

“My main aim as head teacher is to provide a climate for learning that is purposeful and therefore we have spent time on getting the basics right.”

That includes staff greeting pupils at the start of lessons with a ‘good morning or afternoon’, she added.

“Like parents, we encourage our pupils to treat our guests with respect.

“Therefore just as you or I would stand for a guest in our home as a mark of respect, we ask that staff and pupils stand for guests when they enter the classroom in order to warmly invite them in.”

Mrs Dwyer added: “We are delighted with the recent Ofsted visit and the recognition that we are taking effective action towards becoming a good school.”



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