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Can strict schools save poor children?

Strong discipline mixed with reassurance from teachers has turned round schools. But critics say it's too harsh

By Gaby Hinsliff   October 2020

Pupils at Williamwood High School sit prelim exams on February 5, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland © Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Classical music played softly through the classroom as 10 children sat calmly working at their desks. Some read poetry, others wrote essays on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Days before the pandemic forced Great Yarmouth Charter Academy to close its doors this spring, I watched its headmaster, Ian Mackintosh, move between desks dishing out encouragement: stopping to discuss one girl’s paper, praising a…

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