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West Norfolk heads continue with ‘Sir’ or ‘Miss’ titles

Fairstead Primary School chair of governors Martin Sale and headteacher Hazel Spinks discuss plans for the new play area with school council members LtoR - Joshua Nwobodo (9), Monique Nentjes-Fernades (8), Adrianna Ryniec (11) and Harry Melton (6). ENGANL00120140117152604

Fairstead Primary School chair of governors Martin Sale and headteacher Hazel Spinks discuss plans for the new play area with school council members LtoR - Joshua Nwobodo (9), Monique Nentjes-Fernades (8), Adrianna Ryniec (11) and Harry Melton (6). ENGANL00120140117152604

Traditional titles for teachers give pupils a sense of respect, say West Norfolk headteachers.

Academics say “Sir” and “Miss” should be abandoned in schools as it embodies “status disparity and sexism” and would now encourage pupils to use teachers first names.

We approached headteachers in the area to get their view.

Jon Goodchild, headteacher of Hunstanton’s Smithdon High School, says the informality would be inappropriate.

He said: “We find that the formality of the terms ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ are helpful to teachers and staff. The school’s outstanding improvement in behaviour is evident that this culture is most helpful.”

Headteacher of Hilgay and Ten Mile Bank Primary Schools Judi Jarrett said: “The use of these titles is not about discrimination but respect. It helps to teach children respect and understand that there is an system of authority within society.” Her sentiments are echoed by Hazel Spinks, headteacher of Fairstead Primary School in Lynn.

She said: “By calling a person by their official title of ‘Mr’ or ‘Miss’ is about respect and not sexism or elitism.

“Children need boundaries and this helps to mark the territory between the child and adults in the classroom.”

Fakenham Academy Principal Matthew Parr-Burman says there should be an expectation of respect from pupils.

He said: “We believe in a good balance of being modern in our approach to education, but keeping traditional values as well. Some things, I just think, are best left alone. There’s too many things being chipped away at in our society. We are the teachers so I do expect an element of respect.”

King Edward VII headteacher Mike Douglass says these titles are needed to mark the boundaries between teachers and pupils.

He said: “There has to be a distance as teachers are in a position of authority. I am against the informality of first names.”

 

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