Melton school defends its new behaviour code after negative national media coverage

A Melton secondary school has defended its new behaviour policy and says many parents have been supportive despite national newspapers portraying the code as too strict.

By Nick Rennie
Monday, 5th July 2021, 1:57 pm
John Ferneley College, Melton EMN-210507-135049001
John Ferneley College, Melton EMN-210507-135049001

John Ferneley College, which is managed by Mowbray Education Trust, has found itself in the media glare after sending out to parents a list of 10 code of conduct rules students must abide by and which they say were drawn up as a result of surveys with parents.

Newspapers such as the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and The Times picked up on comments on a Melton community Facebook page which criticised some of the rules as draconian because they require pupils to always greet others at school with a smile, to ask a teacher’s permission before picking up a pen in class and to never look out of the window during a lesson because of the need to retain a focus on learning.

A parent contacted us to voice concern that the rules discriminated against youngsters with special educational needs because they would be unable to observe all the rules, which will come in when the autumn term starts in September at all the trust’s schools, which also include Melton’s Brownlow and The Grove Primary Schools and several local village schools.

Christine Stansfield, CEO of Mowbray Education Trust EMN-210507-135134001

But the trust say it has received plenty of positive feedback to the new code, which also bans mobile phones from being used on site, establishes tighter regulations on school uniform and requires students to be punctual and act respectfully and courteously towards others.

And CEO, Christine Stansfield, said the new behavioural rule formalised what many students already adhered to and that the needs of individual youngsters wil be taken into account when they were being enforced.

Mrs Stansfield told the Melton Times: “Throughout the planning phase, we have been overwhelmed with the enormous praise and positive comments from our parents and guardians and academic leaders across the country, and locally, as well as our supportive school community.

“We have identified a series of routines – that already exist across the trust, and that the vast majority of our secondary and primary students enact every day.

“The behaviour routines approach is centre stage, both in primary and secondary.

“The routines that are being implemented from August are not new at all – we are simply reinforcing them in order to reduce social anxiety and increase the sense of belonging and routine that we have identified as important steps in helping local children to recover from extended lockdowns.

“They will underpin school life but they will be overlaid with care, compassion and kindness.

“We will respond to the individual and additional needs of pupils and ensure that every pupil can thrive.”