Too Tough to Teach?

We thought long and hard about allowing TV cameras to film Too Tough to Teach? at the school, but we wanted to show how we work with children who have Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties – and we wanted to suggest that there is an alternative  to sanctions and punishments.

The documentary attracted attention from near and far, including countries outside the UK, and we are delighted that comments were overwhelming positive, and that there was immense support for the school and the community from a cross section of people throughout the country.

We heard from mums, dads and young people, many of whom have struggled themselves. We had pledges of support from teachers,  psychiatrists, business people and prison governors. We heard from charities who work with vulnerable young people and who support our approach, and from numerous professionals who would like to work with us.

Here are some of the comments:

Dusty Knuckle Bakery: Staff deserve serious recognition. Did @David_Cameron see it?

Zafón : “Wow! I'm speechless, your strategies & approach to behaviour management is exceptional, skilled staff.

Sian, a Deputy Head Teacher: The programme demonstrated your compassion and ability to understand the pupils. Your Ofsted report is well deserved. I have suggested to my staff that they watch your programme as I know they would and could learn a thing or two!


Sharmi: As a psychologist who specialises in attachment theory and has often worked with children and adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, I have often felt that they are easily misunderstood and further punished by the system - whether this is in the educational system, prison system or NHS. I would like to commend you for this great approach you have at your school.

Emily: They are giving these kids a chance, it's way better than the alternatives.

Sarah: I am sat here moved to tears with the amazing task you guys are doing. I work in a school as a nursery nurse, and have three boys of my own, one of which has moderate behaviour issues. I genuinely hope those boys learn to get on in life, you’re doing such a good thing.


Mandy: Very impressed and inspired. I work with kids in care and you’ve opened my eyes to new ideas.


Kevin: I think what you are doing is incredible and I am a chap who can relate to those children. I am now a successful entrepreneur who did it on my own without the guidance of what you do, if only in my day I had what they have, my story would be better.


Gail: I will be using your ideas in my teaching.


Miss S: Mainstream school has lots to learn from you.


The two part   documentary filmed at Ian Mikardo has also created great media interest. Click below for some of it:

Radio Times 25.9.14

BBC Radio 5 Live 25.9.14

The Guardian 27.9.14: Once every pupil here ended up in prison. Now, without any rules, they have a future.                                                       

The Independent 29.9.14: TV documentaries filmed in schools are now a genre in their own right

  1. Sunday Times 28.9.14