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Sutton Valence headmaster Bruce Grindlay's letter to parents

By Alan Smith

A headmaster's appeal to parents to place more faith in their child's teachers and not rush to the defence of every little Johnny if he gets told off has touched a nerve.

The letter from Bruce Grindlay, headmaster at Sutton Valence School, was tweeted by an approving parent and has now been viewed 114,000 times, re-tweeted more than 600 times and received 2,600 "likes".

Mr Grindlay wrote: "At the heart of the relationship that exists between the school and its parents is the understanding that we have the long-term interest of your sons and daughters in common.

Headmaster Bruce Grindlay
Headmaster Bruce Grindlay

"So I am writing to ask that you do not immediately challenge staff who have seen fit to raise a behavioural concern or impose a sanction on your child."

He said that some staff were even preferring not to discipline a student for "fear of time-consuming and unpleasant repercussions."

He urged parent to "not always believe your child's version of events" and added "children will get things wrong and that is fine if they learn from it."

He said that last term dealing with parents' interventions had taken up a "disproportionate amount" of teachers' time that would have been better spent preparing for lessons.

Mr Grindlay concluded by saying if parents really felt a decision by a teacher needed challenging they should make and appointment to see him, rather than pester the staff member.

He said: "The staff are merely upholding my expectations and I need to them to do this and get on with their core priority: educating your children."

Sutton Valence School in North Street, Sutton Valence
Sutton Valence School in North Street, Sutton Valence

Toby Payne-Cook, who has two children at the school, tweeted the letter, describing it as a an "absolutely fantastic letter from the head."

He said: "The delusion of over-protective parents can hugely stifle the good intentions of a school. Great letter. Great school. Great leadership. "

Mr Grindlay said: “This issue is not specific to Sutton Valence, but is a societal issue that is often discussed among professional educators."

Sutton Valence was judged excellent in every criteria at its last school inspection.

Pupils at the private co-educational secondary school pay up to £7,135 per term.

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