New rules at a school - including pupils lining up at the front gate before having their uniforms checked - have led to a rise in "attendance and punctuality".

Lee Barber, based at Tottington High School and the national director of secondary education at Shaw Education Trust, says the rules are part of changes made to "improve the school experience for pupils".

On January 15, Mr Barber sent parents a letter outlining his intention to use recent school surveys from parents and students, which he says have provided "invaluable" feedback.

He highlighted new rules including asking students to line up on Laurel Street and enter through the front gate only so staff can greet them and inspect uniform.

As an incentive, students who arrive on time and in correct uniform will be given a free breakfast in the school’s canteen.

Mr Barber said this would also allow for pupils to easily access key staff members before school starts.

READ > Land at park earmarked for new special educational needs school

Bury Times: National director of secondary education at Shaw Education Trust, Lee BarberNational director of secondary education at Shaw Education Trust, Lee Barber (Image: Lee Barber)

Pupils have been asked to have the correct uniform, with no hoodies accepted, having a school bag with the necessary equipment and for youngsters to not use mobile phones, telling them to be switched off. 

Parents expressed concerns about the entry rules when they were announced.

One parent said: “It seems a bit impractical. There’s a huge amount of pupils and not that much space for them to line up on Laurel Street before they would spill out into the main road.

“I also worry with the recent weather and storms we’ve been having, I don’t want my child stood out in that.”

Parents also previously expressed worries about bullying, which Mr Barber says is much of the reasoning behind banning the use of mobile phones.

In the letter, he said: “They are a significant cause of behaviour and bullying issues in school, and I am determined that all pupils feel safe.

“Again, this is a direct response to our surveys.”

Mr Barber is "delighted with the impact" of the new entry rules so far. 

READ NEXT > Communication hubs set for town centre including phone charging points and defibs

Bury Times: Tottington High SchoolTottington High School (Image: Public)

He said: “To promote a positive start to the day, Tottington High School leaders have introduced a new system for entering the school in the morning.

“Previously, pupils entered the school gate at the rear and remained on the yard until school started (often in cold weather).

“Now, pupils proudly enter the front of school and are greeted with a free breakfast in the warmth of the canteen- a reward for being on time and wearing full school uniform.

“While eating, those pupils who may have encountered challenges on the way to school, or even the night before, also get to meet their pastoral staff who can provide any support needed.

“While the first few days saw some logistical challenges with queues after buses arrived simultaneously, each week since has improved dramatically and pupil feedback has been excellent.

“School attendance and punctuality have also increased during that period, so we are delighted with the impact so far.

"It is the first of many new initiatives we are introducing to improve the school experience for pupils.”

As well as the new rules, the school will also stop the use of a coloured band system for using toilets, starting after the February half term, which runs this week.

The rule banned students using the toilets during lessons and installed extra locks on toilet doors to enforce it.

Students with medical reasons for going the toilet or menstrual needs were told they were able to gain access to separate, disabled toilets.

The pupils this applied to were given black wristbands to indicate their exemption.

Students who are menstruating had to notify staff, usually at the start of the day, to obtain a band.

Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to the Bury Times morning newsletter as well as our breaking news alerts

The new system will see staff given information about pupils' needs and also allows more time between lessons to arrive at their next class.

The school will implement a system where pupils needing the toilet can tell their teacher, who will send for a pastoral staff member to escort the child to and from the toilet.

A letter to parents explaining the change states: “To ensure a calm, positive and productive learning environment here at Tottington high school, we are continuing to review and implement changes to our systems that benefit our pupils.

“We will be removing the current band system of black, red and green bands (medical, time out and early leave).

“To replace this the school will be implementing a more supportive, pupil-centred approach which will help build resilience, minimise truancy and focus on improving learning within the classroom.”

The move has been welcomed with one parent saying: “I think it’s a great move to change the bands, they removed any confidentiality for the pupils’ issues.”

Mr Barber added: “We are not removing the support, purely the wristband.”