Headteacher hits out at abuse in streets and lies spread on Facebook

Principal at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy Barry Smith. Picture: Inspiration Trust

Principal at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy Barry Smith. Picture: Inspiration Trust - Credit: Archant

A headteacher has lifted the lid on lies and abuse spread about school staff on social media.

Great Yarmouth Charter Academy.Picture; David Hannant

Great Yarmouth Charter Academy.Picture; David Hannant - Credit: Archant

In his blog, this week Barry Smith, headteacher at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, asks 'how much of this are we expected to endure?' as he recounts his experience of false accusations spread about him on Facebook.

He wrote: 'Today someone posted an edited picture of me, depicting me as the devil with a caption: I will make your school days hellish!

'Last week there were lies circulated about me on Facebook saying I take photographs of Year 10 girls on my phone and that, on another occasion, I had to be forcibly escorted off a junior school site for photographing children.

'All these accusations are completely without any foundation.

'I've been accused of calling kids fat, of being racist, of bullying children, the list goes on. None of it true.

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'School age kids I don't know, know me from the press. Invariably, if I'm in the street, some will shout after me, telling me I'm a 'baldy ****'.

'You get used to it after the first three or four occasions.'

Mr Smith made headlines last year when he was brought in to turnaround the fortunes of what was then Great Yarmouth High School.

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He enforced a strict behaviour and uniform policy which prompted a backlash from some parents.

But in his blog, Mr Smith said that none of his detractors had visited the school.

'Clearly, some won't be happy until I resign or I'm sacked. Or do they want me to be so filled with self-loathing that I top myself? What is the motivation of the haters?

'I suspect, in most cases, it's nothing more than a desire to grab a little bit of fame. I don't believe for a second that any of them genuinely want to help kids. It's fame hungry virtue signalling.

'Fear not. I'm impervious to detractors. I'm incredibly excited about what we're going to achieve this year. I'm more determined than ever to keep doing what I believe in.'

The school recorded the biggest improvement in GCSE results in Norfolk this summer.

In 2017, it was bottom of the pile in the county with just 30pc of pupils getting the equivalent of grades nine to four in English and Maths. This year that leapt to 58pc.

Mr Smith added: 'I can see, every day, the difference we're making for the kids of Charter.

'Staff who were desperately searching for a way out, staff who were looking to leave teaching, staff who had to lock themselves in classrooms to be safe, staff who, out of stress, used to vomit over themselves on the way to work, now, they're happy, confident, safe.'

•We'll be reporting more on this issue on our website and in the EDP tomorrow

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