Teacher who banned mention of ‘banter’ now looking for new job

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Gorleston teacher who attracted national attention after he banned the word 'banter' from his class, saying it encouraged bullying, has left his post.

Mike Stuchbery, an Australian supply teacher at Lynn Grove High School, said on his blog – www.mikestuchbery.net – that it was 'mutually agreed that I'd probably benefit from a new beginning somewhere else'.

Earlier this month, he had written on the site that he was 'no longer going to take 'banter' as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour' in his classroom.

Alison Mobbs, headteacher at the school, said Mr Stuchbery's view was 'shared by the staff' and that his departure had nothing to do with the blog. Rather, it was down to his contract as a supply teacher.

She said: 'It's totally unrelated. He was here on a temporary contract, which has come to an end.

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'He's a very interesting and lively fellow and I wish him all the best for his next role.'

Mr Stuchbery joined Lynn Grove in September and taught English.

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In a series of tweets last night, he returned to the subject of bullying, writing: 'Britain, you got a problem with bullying. You just don't know it.

'I'm an Aussie. I know good-natured mocking. I've travelled widely. I've never seen a people treat each other as poorly as here in the UK.

'You wonder why this culture of bullying is so prevalent, why kids tear strips off one another, then you turn on the TV.

'We can't end this culture of bullying by having a go at TV and the papers – they create our reality, they're absolute Titans.

'What we can do to end this bullying, 'gotcha' culture is go back to modelling civil, respectful relationships in the classroom.'

The decision of one teacher in one Norfolk classroom provoked national debate about bullying, 'banter' and where to set boundaries.

It started when Mr Stuchbery posted a blog about banning the word. The Times Educational Supplement republished his post, and it was then covered in national newspapers, as well as in the Eastern Daily Press, where it proved to be a big talking point for online readers.

In a follow-up blog, posted this week, about the reaction to the story, Mr Stuchbery wrote: 'Social media went bananas, with personalities from across the education sector and beyond adding their two cents.'

He said he also began to receive abusive emails.

He wrote that the school staff room was 'eerily quiet' when he returned after the story first broke, but said the majority of pupils agreed with his stance after he explained it.

He added: 'I now find myself in the position where I am looking for a new job, a month before Christmas, in a new land.

'I find myself wondering sometimes whether that job should even be in the classroom.

'I still can't work out whether what I said was the right thing to say.'

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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