Children need discipline – that’s the verdict from one head teacher who turned

his failing school into a shining example.

Twelve schools in deprived areas have been rated as outstanding for achieving
excellent results against the odds by schools inspectorate, Ofsted.

All of them share a back-to-basics approach of rule enforcement.

Here, Barry Day, head teacher at Greenwood Dale School, Nottingham – one of
the 12 commended by Ofsted – reveals how he transformed his problem school.

“When I started at Greenwood Dale in January 1992, I had 13 years of
experience in very challenging inner city schools in Leicester.

But I was shocked at the sheer depth of poor behaviour and lack of aspiration.

If Ofsted had been around then, there is no doubt the school would have been
put into ‘special measures'.

Pupil behaviour was poor, there were fights at break times, they had no
respect for teachers and truancy was very high.

At times, attendance was down to 70 per cent.

Good pupils were sent out of the area to attend better schools because parents
didn’t want to send their children here.

We had less than 500 children in the school, aged from 11 to 16. Only 12 per
cent achieved five or more A to C grades at GCSE.

Morale among the staff was dreadful – but some of the staff were the cause of
those problems.

On top of all of this, I’d been left with a £200,000 budget deficit.

My number one consideration is good discipline and that has to be set by the
head teacher.

My own experience of school was at an all-boys grammar where I was one of a
handful of council house children.

It was incredibly strict and a real eye-opener.

But I believe in being strict.

At Greenwood Dale, I wrote out a single A4 page of rules, which included
wearing the correct school uniform, calling staff “Sir” or “Miss”, saying
“Yes” instead of “Yeah”, not chewing gum, wearing a tie…

If a pupil came in with multi-coloured hair, they would be sent home and not
allowed back until it was corrected.

I also introduced a dress code for my staff.

The men have to wear at least a collar, tie and jacket but most wear a suit
and women must dress as if they’re going to an important job interview.

Pupils need to see adults dressed professionally, who also inspire them.

I made a quarter of the staff redundant because of the budget deficit, but we
had been overstaffed anyway.

Other teachers objected to my rules and a significant number left in my first
couple of years, which also helped turn the school around.

We shortened lessons from an hour and 10 minutes to 50 minutes, which I feel
is better for concentration.

We introduced sport, music and drama activities into break times so the pupils
are doing something positive instead of just hanging around.

We also stagger lunchtimes too so we don’t have every pupil out at the same

At the start, I spoke to parents, I went to religious groups and I made myself
totally available to anyone who wanted to voice their opinions.

The main complaint was standards of behaviour and exam results, and they were
quite right to complain.

But within two years, the GCSE results had gone up from 12 per cent to 32 per
cent of pupils achieving good grades.

This year, 93 per cent of all our students got five or more grade A* to C

And we’re so successful we’re now heavily over-subscribed.

Last year, we were one of the first schools to be accepted to run our own

We’re in the process of amalgamating with another secondary school and a
primary so we can provide schooling for 3,600 children aged three to 19.

Any school can transform itself in this way.

If you get the simple things right – respect, hard work, discipline and
quality of teaching – everything else follows.

Now, I couldn’t be more proud of my students and staff.

Source: The Sun