A London secondary school is advertising for a “detention director” to act as the school’s “sergeant major”, overseeing discipline and offering tough love.
Wembley’s Michaela Community School, run by notoriously strict headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh, warns that the up to £35,000-a-year role is not suitable for a “would-be councillor or to someone who wants to be every child’s best friend”.
The advert reads: “Do you like order and discipline? Do you believe in children being obedient every time? Do you believe that allowing children to make excuses is unkind?
“This role is for someone who believes children need clear, firm discipline.
“This role is for someone who believes tough love is what children need to become better people and grow into responsible young adults.”
While no experience is required for the role, successful applicants will be able to analyse data, line-manage staff and be a “sergeant major in the detention room”.
Along with having heart to heart conversations with students, they are also expected to be “inspirational” and to “own the job like it is the most important thing in the world”.
But the newly-created position has attracted criticism from some parents who have accused the school of trying to prevent pupils from developing independent thought.
A woman named Abigail McCann commented on Facebook: “Yes children, always obey those in authority. Never question anything. Don’t develop your own opinions or value system. Just do as you’re told!”
Another added: “School advertises for official bully. At least they admit to their policy, unlike the majority of schools...”
Michaela Community School faced widespread condemnation last year for “punishing poverty” after it said pupils would be placed in “lunch isolation” if their parents fell behind on school meal placements.
Instead of a hot lunch with their friends, children would be given a sandwich and a piece of fruit and be forced to spend their 60 minute lunch break alone.
But headteacher Birbalsingh, titled the “strictest teacher in Britain” by the Sunday Times, has defended the school’s latest initiative, saying that a detention director will be “supportive of both pupils and staff”.
“A Detention Director gives teachers back their time to do what they ought to be doing: teaching,” Birbalsingh wrote in her blog.
“Our centralised detention system is one of the reasons our children are so happy.
“While lots of what we do at Michaela is unusual, this one isn’t. Schools have detentions. I’d hate to work in one that didn’t,” she added.
While some parents condemned the initiative, some people have endorsed it.
Angela Smith wrote on Facebook: “About time a school acted. All this nonsense about softly softly - that’s why teachers and staff are being attacked more often than [is] reported, verbally and aggressively by kids and parents.”