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School Rules Divide Parents As Children Told To 'Always Smile' And Respond To Whistle Commands

School Rules Divide Parents As Children Told To 'Always Smile' And Respond To Whistle Commands

Natalie Teece, headteacher at John Ferneley College in Melton Mowbray, issued the new instructions in an e-booklet ahead of September

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman

A newly-appointed teacher has divided parents by introducing a new set of rules for pupils, who are now expected to 'always smile' and maintain eye contact with teachers when talking.

Natalie Teece, headteacher at John Ferneley College in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, has drafted the new instructions and issued them in an e-booklet ahead of the school reopening in September.

Teece also sent three videos explaining the research and reasoning behind the guidelines, which include telling students to enter the classroom in single file, always sit up straight, to thank the teacher as they leave the classroom after a lesson, and to 'never forget to say Sir or Miss'.

The 11-to-16-year-old pupils must also learn to respond to a series of whistle commands given by staff and are expected to 'always smile', while turning around even if they hear a noise is forbidden - as is walking in groups of more than two people and looking out of windows.


If a teacher says hello to a student, they must ensure their response is 'upbeat', the rules say, and schoolchildren are also told they must wait to be told that they can pick up a pen or ruler.

According to the Mirror, one parent writing on a community Facebook page said the rules were 'absolutely horrendous', adding: "I do agree with the respect and some parts but a lot of this is like some sort of prison camp.

"The school needs to remember we are still going through a pandemic and the world is crazy right now."

Someone else said: "Just read the whistle bit - our children are not dogs."

Another said people 'can't be forced to smile at all times', while one other commented: "Tell me you're turning children into robots without telling me you're turning children into robots. JFC will go first."

Mowbray Education

On the other hand, some people in favour of the strict guidelines, with one saying: "I think the main bulk of this is absolutely fine and these rules should be in every school; children don't have respect these days."

Another shrugged the rules off, saying: "Most of those rules apply in schools anyway, just look worse when they are put in writing."

In response to the backlash, Teece said she had received 'overwhelming support' from the majority of parents.

She said: "Our priority here at JFC is student well-being.

"All of the amendments we are making to our policy are intended to help and support our already fantastic students and prepare them for later life.

"Our staff will support these with warmth and compassion.

Stock image.

"Acronyms like our STEPS and SLANT are intended to help students interact with adults but we will not be forcing students who may be shy or find interactions difficult.

"There will be amendments for students with SEND and we still aim to retain student individuality.

"We already operate a code word system for the use of the toilet during lessons which is proving to be successful and there will be an increase of clubs and activities for students to attend during lunchtime when they will no longer be on their mobile phones.

"Our school is a happy successful environment and we and I'm proud of the waiting lists we have in each year group at the moment.

"We always value feedback from students and parents but I'm confident that the amendments will help to improve our already great school."

Christine Stansfield, CEO of Mowbray Education Trust, said in a statement to LADbible: "John Ferneley College is part of the Mowbray Education Trust. As a team, we are incredibly proud of the work all of our schools have undertaken in planning for an exciting return to school in September, by strengthening our routine to create a strong sense of belonging in our schools and in our wonderful communities.

"Our Headteacher team has worked collaboratively and with the involvement of all stakeholders, including parents, since the start of the year. We are looking forward to the incredibly positive impact we know it will have.

"I would like to thank everybody for their help in getting us to this point and thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response we have received."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, News, School