THE "toxic environment" at a school where "Britain’s toughest headteacher" calls kids "detainees" has been slammed by pupils and staff.
Teachers at Hackney New School in East London, overseen by controversial head Barry Smith, reportedly issue 80 detentions every day.
Now four present and former staff have complained insisting the approach is damaging the kids' mental health.
ITV reports that pupils at the school are punished for not smiling and not walking properly.
Since the start of the year, more than 7,500 detentions have reportedly been issued – 80 per day.
On one day last year, more than 150 kids – half the school – were given detentions, the report says.
Teachers are complaining the tactics are excessive and claims they are encouraged to keep the children behind after class for minor infringements.
Pupils also reportedly say a "toxic environment" has been created and that they feel oppressed.
Mr Smith was hired in February last year as a consultant to tackle bad behaviour at the Dalston secondary.
The school had been taken over by the Community Schools Trust in 2019 after an Ofsted report raised "concerns about behaviour and safety."
But according to reports, Smith already had a controversial reputation before joining the London school.
He was labelled the UK's toughest head in 2017 for his methods while working at a school in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, where parents complained of his "army-like policies" where kids were allegedly warned they may need sick buckets in class.
According to leaked emails seen by ITV, Mr Smith called pupils at Hackney New School "detainees."
One staff member said: "We’re encouraged to scrutinise their facial expressions.
"If they’re not smiling we’re encouraged to give them 'demerits' or detentions.
"Quite frequently they have been described as being lazy, and if they’re shuffling on their feet they can be given demerits."
Another teacher said they had seen children "sobbing" over the allegedly brutal tactics.
One anonymous kid told ITV News said a "toxic environment" has been created,
A second said: "If we don’t say good morning or good afternoon to a teacher, it’s being rude. It’s oppressing."
Simon Elliott, of the Community Schools Trust, said some of the language used was "completely unacceptable."
He added: "I must stress to parents that we do have a very fair and strict behaviour system that helps children to achieve."
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