Head of Northampton school says new ‘no-touching’ rule between pupils has the support of parents

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A principal claims a new “no-touching” policy between pupils at his Northampton school has received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from parents.

Malcolm Arnold Academy, run by the David Ross Education Trust, introduced a rule in September that pupils were not allowed to physically touch each other, which staff say is about making sure youngsters respect one another’s “personal space” in the often crowded corridors.

One particular parent, who contacted the Chron to ask why the rule had been implemented, described the measure as a “no-hugging” policy, which she felt may have a detrimental effect on the pupils.

But the school claims the new standard has actually “strengthened” its sense of community.

Principal Chris Steed, said: “After working closely with the student council last spring, we wrote to all parents in June outlining a new set of behaviour expectations for this academic year.

“This included a new expectation that students should respect each other’s personal space, something that is particularly important as the school is growing due to the increased numbers of parents selecting us as their first preference.

“The reality is that not being allowed to poke, push or be affectionate to another pupil in public has always been an unwritten rule at the academy, but through the work with students, it is something that we wanted to formalise.”

Mr Steed said that at a drop-in session to discuss behaviour expectations at the school, only a few parents attended, nearly all of whom were “overwhelmingly positive” about the new rule, he claimed.

“It is generally felt that the behaviour and sense of community has, in fact, strengthened further,” he added.

“Rules and expectations like this are not uncommon in schools.”