Britain's 'most outspoken headmaster' Mike Fairclough resigns

Britain’s most outspoken headmaster resigns: ‘Hunky head’ who taught pupils how to fire guns says he has been ‘harassed and bullied’ for being anti-lockdown and against children having Covid jabs or wearing masks in school

  • Mike Fairclough, 50, led West Rise Junior School in Eastbourne, East Sussex
  • He blasted impact of lockdown on pupils and opposed giving them Covid jabs

An outspoken headteacher who blasted the impact of Covid restrictions on young children has resigned from post – claiming he has been ‘discriminated against, harassed and bullied’.

Mike Fairclough, 50, who led West Rise Junior School in Eastbourne, East Sussex, is well-known for his unorthodox approach to education.

He previously appeared on Good Morning Britain to slam the lockdown as well as espouse the benefits of teaching children how to use shotguns.

But his time at the school has come to an acrimonious end after 19 years, Bournefree Live reports.

The father-of-four posted: ‘My resignation is in response to serious breaches of contract by East Sussex County Council. I therefore consider myself to be constructively dismissed.

Mike (pictured in 2016) previously caught attention for his teaching at West Rise, the East Sussex school, where he has put rabbit-skinning, shooting and fire-making on the curriculum

Mr Fairclough’s penchant for long hair and a snazzy dress sense with unbuttoned shirts, waistcoats and, on occasion, a bearskin coat — also led him to be dubbed the ‘Hunky Head’, a label he later embraced

‘I feel that I have been discriminated against, harassed and bullied for exercising my right to lawful free speech (in my own personal time – not during school hours) and for expressing my philosophical belief in the importance of critical thinking, free speech and safeguarding children.’

 Mr Fairclough said the local authority had ran investigations into his conduct after whistleblowing complaints.

He claims each probe has focused on his public views regarding the government’s response to Covid-19 and its impact on youths, as well as his opposition towards vaccinating children against the virus.

 Mr Fairclough said: ‘The investigations have concluded with me being cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to this aspect of the complaints. 

‘I have then been told by East Sussex County Council that I am free to continue to express my lawful opinions. Despite this, they have then commissioned further investigations into me for doing just that.’

The headteacher is now at loggerheads with the council, who he claims have refused to confirm he will not be subject to further investigations regarding his public comments.

He has now vowed to launch an employment tribunal claim against the council.

East Sussex County Council has been approached for comment.

As part of his attempt to turn school convention on its head, Mr Fairclough put rabbit-skinning, shooting and fire-making alongside mathematics and verbal reasoning on the curriculum.

His penchant for long hair and a snazzy dress sense with unbuttoned shirts, waistcoats and, on occasion, a bearskin coat — also led him to be dubbed the ‘Hunky Head’, a label he later embraced. 

‘I was a bit coy about it at first, but now I love it,’ he said in an interview two years ago. ‘It’s definitely a good thing to have to live up to as I get older. And let’s face it, no one wants to see someone square lecturing us about how to live our lives.’

In his 2021 book Wild Thing, Mr Fairclough argued that children, with their inherent inquisitiveness and adventure, can teach us a lot about how to live.

‘It’s hard work being a grown-up,’ he says. ‘Life is stressful and we get bogged down in it. A child never does that. A child’s natural state of being is to smile and laugh. They are instinctively drawn to whatever makes them feel happy. But this playful outlook diminishes over time.’

Despite his positive outlook, the headteacher has had to contend with more than his fair share of sorrow. 

11 years ago he lost his wife Selina to a brain tumour just six weeks after being diagnosed, leaving him a widower at 38 and a single father to their heartbroken boys, Tali, then 13, and six-year-old Iggy.

Through his grief, he said it was by watching his sons’ unaffected joy in the world despite their distress that brought him through. He says it le to his conviction that adult need to reclaim their childlike sense of wonder.

‘I saw the world through the eyes of a child again and it was really healing,’ he says. 

He has since had two daughters with his new partner. 

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