Headteacher who banned Christmas and David Beckham – the real Delores Umbridge?
WORLD / Kent, UK – Some parents seem to think so, saying she has made school a “living hell”.
King’s Farm Primary School headteacher – Jane Porter – first made headlines last year after she banned all 500 children in Whitehill Primary School (for which she is also the headteacher) from mentioning “Christmas” before December or David Beckham‘s name unless it was within the context of a lesson.
According to The Daily Mail, she said at the time: ‘I’m not joking when I say this started 2,000 years ago. “The long and short of it is that one of the golden rules is to work hard, so if children are not working hard, talking about Christmas for instance, then they will lose their golden time.”
‘That would be the case with anything not related to school; they shouldn’t be talking about David Beckham either. If they are talking about something they shouldn’t be, they’re not working hard; we are a school, we’re about education, not retail.”
Now parents are protesting and more than half of the teachers in King’s Farm Primary school have resigned, according to The Telegraph.
The Kent Council installed Porter as the headteacher in King’s Farm in January this year to raise the standards of the school. The school was rated by Ofsted as “satisfactory”in 2012. This means it requires improvement and Porter was brought in with this main goal.
More than 25 teachers and staff quit
It seems that the changes she has implemented aren’t having the best impact.
Ruth Serwotka, a National Union of Teachers representative, said the ‘exodus’ of teachers and teaching staff was an ‘incredible and catastrophic crisis’, telling the News Shopper: ‘It is obviously a very challenging school. ‘I have put forward a formal complaint from teachers and teaching staff to Kent County Council. ‘There are significant issues and there is a huge amount of insecurity with so many staff leaving the children have no stability.’
Emma Friend, 28, of York Road, Gravesend, has four children at the school aged three to eight. She said: “The old headteacher Peter Jackson was great. “Since Mrs Porter came in all communication has broken down… Sports days and trips have been cancelled, since she took over the school has been hell.”
Marie Heywood, 33, of Grieves Road, Northfleet, who has three children in the school, said: “I protested because my children are autistic and there is no understanding about special needs.”
“My children cannot cope with the changes. “The two Year 5 and 6 classes have been combined and my boy is chewing his jumper because he is worried about the instability.”
Other parents in support
But not all parents feel the same. Tony Hughes, 42, said: “They (protesters) are all scared of change. “I don’t quite know what they’re hoping for. Do they want the head out because she’s making changes? If it’s not her it will be someone else.”
“From what we’ve seen of her she’s been brilliant and helpful, and the kids love her.”
Specific reasons for the resignation of the teachers were not made public.
Image credits: Warner Bros Picture