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'Britain's Strictest Headmaster' Says Parents Need To Teach Kids 'Common Courtesy'

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'Britain's Strictest Headmaster' Says Parents Need To Teach Kids 'Common Courtesy'

The 'strictest headteacher' in Britain has said parents are often to blame for poorly behaved children and that adults are 'afraid' of children.

Barry Smith, who was dubbed the UK's 'strictest head' for his military-style punishments, says parents are failing to teach their kids common courtesy.

Speaking to the Sun, Smith said: "I don't think that all parents are doing what they should be. Some parents are.

Credit: East Anglia News Service
Credit: East Anglia News Service

"When you don't support the school, you don't support your child in many cases."

Smith hit headlines in 2017 when he took over a failing high school in Norfolk, which he relaunched as Great Yarmouth Charter Academy.

During his time there, Smith reportedly ordered students to walk in single file and told them to be asleep by 9.30pm so they were ready to face the day at 6.30am.

If a student claimed they felt ill during class time, Smith warned them they would be sent back to class with a bucket.

Credit: East Anglia News Service
Credit: East Anglia News Service

Smith now works at a school in East London, where he is reported to have handed out a whopping 7,500 detentions in the first half of this year - with 150 pupils once being kept behind after the final bell in a single day.

He added: "I think we bend over backwards to accommodate children and I think instead of accommodating this behaviour we need to promote good behaviour. We need to be more active.

"We live in a society that thinks stricter is negative. Teachers are abused on a daily basis. They are ignored, they are belittled."


The headteacher says he believes school should introduce the mantra 'if I am polite to you, you are polite to me' and says some parents fail to teach their kids 'common courtesy' meaning it falls to teachers to pick up the slack.

He told the Sun: "Often adults are afraid of children. And we have to create an environment where everyone feels safe at work.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

"When I go and visit schools I stand in the yard and say 'good morning' and hardly any say it back.


"Imagine if every time you speak to somebody they make people feel bad about themselves? Spend a day doing supply teaching.

"Parents need to teach common courtesy so you don't have to."

Featured Image Credit: East Anglia News Service

Topics: UK News, schools

Claire Reid
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