Parents hit back as Trinity School in Leamington ends first name basis for teachers

Trinity Catholic School in Leamington
Trinity Catholic School in Leamington

Pupils and parents both past and present at Trinity Catholic School in Leamington are signing a petition to ‘keep the school’s ethos’ by continuing to allow the use of first names for staff.

The campaign, launched by parent Emma Golbourn, has currently gained more than 800 signatures for its online petition, which can be found under the heading of ‘Maintain the Trinity Catholic School ethos’ on the the38degrees.org.uk website.

Trinity Catholic School in Leamington

Trinity Catholic School in Leamington

It has been launched in response to a letter sent to parents and pupils which says the school will be making “a significant change” in how staff are addressed by students - where before they were referred to by their first names they will now be referred to by their title and surnames.

This will come into effect at the beginning of the next academic term in September of this year.

Emma said: “Trinity Catholic School has always maintained that it is different to all other schools in the area.

“That’s why most parents chose Trinity over the better funded schools in Leamington and Warwick.

“Trinity is/was a progressive, inclusive, and caring environment for kids to learn.

“Difficult to fully define the ethos, but it encompasses the enthusiastic and committed teaching staff.

“You got a feeling when you first set foot in the school that your child was going to be safe there. That they would fit in, be happy, be encouraged and do well.

“This change is the start to dehumanise the teachers and to turn Trinity in to a factory of education.

“We as parents, guardians, past pupils and current pupils fear that this latest change will dramatically change the community feel of the school and potentially influence parents to move their children to another school.”

Trinity’s headteacher Jon Shires has given the reasons for the change.

They are: safeguarding in regard to social media and avoiding over-familiarity and potential online ‘trolling’, as well as the continued recruitment of “high-quality” teaching and support staff - with colleagues from other schools having told teachers at Trinity that they would not be comfortable working somewhere where pupils address staff by their first name - and maintaining a culture of respect.

Mr Shires said: “Students in nearly every main stream primary and secondary school in the country do not address staff using first names.

“I am a great believer that respect is earned but I would question how many students call their parents by their first name and not by their title of mother, father etc.

“Appropriate relationship boundaries immediately establish parameters where authority and respect is gained.

“The school motto, ‘equal by means of God’s image’, means that we are loved equally in God’s eyes.

“As the school moves forward with the challenges of modern education it is essential that the correct culture is established in the school to maximise the opportunities of all children who are part of the Trinity School community.”

Parents met at the school on Monday evening and are planning further action to protest against the change.

To view the petition and for more information click here.