Britain’s toughest headteacher who cracked down on mobiles, trendy haircuts, short skirts and late bedtimes is moved out of his school ‘after pupil was restrained’
- Barry Smith made headlines with his militant practices at his academy in Norfolk
- Students at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy must observe stringent rules
- Mr Smith was ‘moved out of school after an incident involving restraint of a pupil’
Barry Smith, described as Britain’s toughest headteacher, has reportedly been moved from Great Yarmouth Charter Academy after an alleged incident of pupil restraint
A controversial headteacher who divided opinion with his militant school rules has been moved from his school after an alleged incident involving the restraint of a pupil.
Barry Smith made headlines for banning pupils from using mobile phones, ordering them to walk in single file to lessons, be in bed by 9.30pm and up by 6.30am.
His approach led to him being labelled Britain’s toughest headteacher in 2017 after he took over a failing high school and relaunched it as the Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, Norfolk.
Mr Smith’s unconventional style sparked debate in 2018 after he sent a letter home to parents banning a flamboyant haircut called the ‘Meet Me At McDonalds’ for male pupils, and in October that year the headmaster enraged parents by calling in staff from a school uniform shop to measure pupils’ skirts – as some of the girls were hitching up theirs to above the school-approved knee-length.
The education newspaper Schools Week has now revealed that Mr Smith has not been in charge of day-to-day activities at the 740-pupil school since early December.
Sources told the publication that he was ‘moved out of the school following an incident involving the restraint of a pupil.’
The Inspiration Trust, which runs 13 primary and secondary schools and a sixth form college in Norfolk and Suffolk, refused to comment on the reasons behind Mr Smith’s departure, but insisted he had not been suspended.
A spokesperson said for the trust said: ‘Barry Smith has not been suspended. He is working centrally on a curriculum project.
‘The school is being overseen by the executive principal, as usual, and while the principal is out of school, the deputy principal is taking over the day-to-day operations.’
The school had some of the worst GCSE results in the country when it was previously known as Great Yarmouth High School and rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, with only one in three pupils achieving a pass in English and maths. But Mr Smith’s new regime quickly led to dramatic improvements
Mr Smith has not made any comment.
The school had some of the worst GCSE results in the country when it was previously known as Great Yarmouth High School and rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, with only one in three pupils achieving a pass in English and maths.
But Mr Smith’s new regime quickly led to dramatic improvements, and the school doubling its success rate at GCSEs.
‘Britain’s toughest headteacher’ who banned mobile phones, had pupils’ skirts measured and banned the ‘Meet Me At McDonalds’ haircut
The Charter Academy in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, has proved controversial since it took over Great Yarmouth High School in September 2017.
Headteacher Barry Smith hit the headlines in February 2018 after sending a letter home to parents banning a flamboyant haircut called the ‘Meet Me At McDonalds’ for male pupils.
After the Inspiration academy trust took over in September 2017, pupils were also banned from using mobile phones at school, ordered to walk in single file to lessons, be asleep by 9.30pm and up by 6.30am every day.
An unannounced Ofsted inspection on February 21, 2018 has revealed a ‘significant’ improvement in pupil behaviour.
In October that year the headmaster enraged parents by calling in staff from a school uniform shop to measure pupils’ skirts – as some of the girls were hitching up theirs to above the school-approved knee-length.
Mr Smith introduced strict rules to encourage positive change after the school was rated inadequate by the schools regulator in October 2016.
The school was once the worst performing in Norfolk with around a third of pupils leaving without a pass in English and Maths in 2017.
The new rules included a ban on children getting out of their chairs without permission.
Its most recent Ofsted inspection last July described it as ‘good’ in all areas including ‘effectiveness of leadership and management’
Mr Smith warned pupils that they would be given a bucket to throw up in if they felt ill in class in a bid to cut down on them feigning sickness to get out of lessons.
While he was praised by many parents, his appointment led to a backlash from others who accused him of ‘Army-like’ behaviour, claiming their children were left scared about going to school.
Despite Mr Smith’s success, a Facebook group entitled Yarmouth Charter Academy Worried parents which was set up after his appointment still has more than 1,000 members.
Mr Smith made further headlines in February 2018 when he banned extreme haircuts including a boy’s style known as the ‘Meet Me at McDonald’s’.
But schools minister Nick Gibb praised him and the Inspiration Trust for improvements at the school in Parliament in 2018, saying: ‘Within a year, the school had been transformed.’
Mr Smith revealed in September 2018 that he had been subjected to a hate campaign on social media and in the street with some people making false claims that he was a ‘paedophile, a bully and racist.’
He added: ‘Clearly, some won’t be happy until I resign or I’m sacked. Or do they want me to be so filled with self-loathing that I top myself? What is the motivation of the haters?
‘I suspect, in most cases, it’s nothing more than a desire to grab a little bit of fame. I don’t believe for a second that any of them genuinely want to help kids. It’s fame hungry virtue signalling.
‘Fear not. I’m impervious to detractors. I’m incredibly excited about what we’re going to achieve this year. I’m more determined than ever to keep doing what I believe in.’
Mr Smith got up at 4.30am every Monday and spent three hours travelling to Great Yarmouth, staying in a local bed and breakfast four nights a week to run the school.
The Inspiration Trust has been contacted for further comment.