Parents Slam ‘Britain’s Strictest School’ Where Kids Are Sent Home For Too Shiny Shoes And Made To Wear Lanyards Around Necks For Wrong Uniform

July 18, 2017 | by | 0 Comments
Nick Short the current principal of Merchant's Academy, Bristol pictured with students and the then principle Anne Burrell

Nick Short the current principal of Merchant’s Academy, Bristol pictured with students and the then principle Anne Burrell

Parents have branded a school ‘the strictest in Britain’ after a head introduced new rules – including making kids wear SIGNS around their necks if their uniform is wrong.

Mums and dads say the hard-line behaviour policy includes kids being punished for having shoes which are too shiny, tapping tables and looking at the clock.

The new rules have been rolled out at Merchants Academy in Withywood in Bristol a fortnight before the end of term.

Pupils who flout rules have been forced to wear lanyards stating “I have 24 hours to sort out my uniform”.

It coincides with the head teacher, Nick Short, leaving the comprehensive and parents say as many as 100 pupils have been kept in isolation.

Mum Petula Peacock was appalled by the policy and complained to the school.

Mother Denise Barnwell, 50, with her child Lauren, 14, outside Merchants' Academy in Bristol.

Mother Denise Barnwell, 50, with her child Lauren, 14, outside Merchants’ Academy in Bristol.

Mrs Peacock, 49, said: “The head has started off this policy which has caused absolute uproar. I’m not a wishy-washy person, I know my son’s a good lad.

“We are talking hundreds of kids in isolation, they are just trying to prove a point.

“It’s stuff like making a girl wear a lanyard for wearing the wrong colour hairband.

“My son is worried about missing lessons, he is worried about being excluded.

“A girl took her blazer off to eat her school dinner – it was a hot day – and was put into isolation.”

A 17-page document was issued detailing the ‘Behaviour for Learning’ policy, as part of a crack-down on “low-level disruption” including looking at a clock.

Refusal to complete isolation will result in exclusion, defiance leads to automatic isolation for five lessons including lunch, break and 15 minutes after school.

One pupil was taken to task over shoes which were ‘too shiny’ and instead forced to wear a replacement pair which was too small, it was claimed.

The sign children are made to wear if they arrive at Merchants' Academy in Bristol wearing the wrong uniform

The sign children are made to wear if they arrive at Merchants’ Academy in Bristol wearing the wrong uniform

Amanda J Cawston raised concerns about the policy and wrote online: “It appear’s the punishments are rather harsh & don’t really fit the ‘crime’.

“It’s also a possibility that a parent might only be able to afford the black shiny shoes in Primark as opposed to the proper school shoes in Clarks which although are nice are generally beyond the pocket of most parents.”

Geoff Brodie wrote:

“Isn’t this what the nazi party did. Making people wear signs?? You would have thought that the school would have had a history teacher to point this out to them.”

Another said: ”It’s bizarre. He’s made it the strictest school in Britain.”

However others defended it and said rules needed to be obeyed.

Helen Sharpe wrote: “To many wishy washy parents now a days have resulted in a generation of self entitled teens who think the rules don’t apply to them and they are able to do what they like without consequence.”

And Jenna Anderson wrote: “The start of a sea change. This is working incredibly effectively across Bristol.

“I look forward to the pupils and teachers reaping the rewards of this policy once the first couple of weeks’ worth of teething issues are worked through.”

Nick Short the principal of Merchant's Academy, Bristol

Nick Short the principal of Merchant’s Academy, Bristol

Head teacher Nick Short said: “Low level disruption in class is known to negatively affect the progress and attainment of students.

“As a result, Merchants’ Academy introduced a new Positive Behaviour policy, designed to minimise and remove low level disruption from lessons, allowing for higher levels of engagement and more progress to be made by all students.

“Extensive research and visits to other schools drew a conclusion ‘Ready to Learn’ was a policy which could be developed to benefit students at Merchants’ Academy.

“Parents and staff were then introduced to this policy through a range of communication methods which has included a number of assemblies and a range of parent events and drop-in sessions.”

“Since the new policy was implemented, staff and students are reporting much higher levels of engagement in class, with many students making more progress as a result of significantly lower levels of disruption.

“The number of students who have been isolated or excluded as a result of poor behaviour is much lower than predicted.

“I am pleased to report that the revised policy is already making a positive impact at Merchants’ Academy, where ensuring the progress of our students is a top priority.”

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