Why new rules have been brought in at a Northampton school, what they are...and what some parents and pupils think of them

Malcolm Arnold Academy
Malcolm Arnold Academy

A strict new set of rules have been introduced at a Northampton school to 'improve behaviour' after the head teacher left halfway through the term.

Among the new laws at Malcolm Arnold Academy following Nicola Koncarevic' departure, students now have to carry their backpacks in their hands instead of on their backs.

Pupils have set up social media accounts to poke fun at the 'random and unnecessary' changes, which teachers claim have made the school 'calmer'.

Regional director and interim executive principal Helena Brothwell said: “Earlier this term, Nicola Koncarevic left the academy and we wish her well for the future.

"Since then we have introduced a number of new rules to improve the academy.

"Staff are clear that classrooms are calmer and more purposeful since the new rules have been applied as they are not now having to tackle low level disruption.

"Approaches to ensure that areas of congestion such as corridors and stairwells are calm include taking off back-packs and carrying them and keeping to the left.

"These are designed to ensure that all children feel safe.”

Ms Koncarevic left after representatives from David Ross Education Trust (DRET) came to inspect behaviour at the school last month.

Along with Ms Brothwell coming in as interim executive principal, Kim Lawton has been made interim principal and Adam Crawte is interim vice principal.

The trio have brought in a raft of measures to improve behaviour at the school, including a 'roll call' in the morning to inspect uniforms and desks must be laid out the same for every lesson.

Teachers have faced changes too, having to wear high-vis jackets and 'not being required to create "fun games" or activities which slow down the learning process or allow students to develop misconceptions from one another', according to a newsletter published last week.

Mark Neild, deputy chief executive and director of secondary at DRET, said: “As with all of our academies, ensuring impeccable behaviour at Malcolm Arnold Academy is a number one priority.

"Great schools start with behaviour, and so our expectations are rightly high.

"We are already seeing the positive impact of this in the academy, as we have done in our other academies where similar approaches are in place.”

The standard of behaviour at the school was punished by the decision not to allow the football and netball teams to take part in DRET's annual tournament, called the Winter Cup.

Some students have felt compelled to set up Instagram accounts to make light of teachers being strict on their uniform, not wearing bags on shoulders and the Winter Cup exclusion, one under the name 'Drexit'.