A NEW headteacher has been praised by an MP just months after taking on the role.

Anna Firth, MP for Southend West, visited Eastwood Academy, in Rayleigh Road, to meet the headteacher, David Piercy, and take part in an annual Cultural Day.

Echo: Visit - Anna Firth takes part in Cultural DayVisit - Anna Firth takes part in Cultural Day (Image: Anna Firth)

Mr Piercy, former deputy headteacher, was confirmed as the new headteacher back in October after then-headteacher Neil Houchen left his role.

This week, Ms Firth visited the school where she praised Mr Piercy.

She was particularly impressed with the school’s strict “no phones policy” which was first implemented in 2010.

The school says this has vastly reduced incidences of bullying and unpleasantness in the classroom.

Ms Firth was shown around the school. Her visit coincided with its Cultural Day, termed as a “whole school experience and a celebration of diversity and inclusivity.”

She said: “I was totally blown away by what I saw this morning at Eastwood Academy. The school successfully brings together such a rich tapestry of cultural experiences on such a scale.

“To see the children all taking part in Cultural Day and enjoying themselves so much was refreshing and exciting.

“I think that having a go at some African drumming is something that will stay with me for a long time. Their motto is ‘Believe, Succeed, Together’ and I really saw that on display.

“I was particularly impressed by the strict no phones policy and would like to see more schools take this on board.”

Eastwood Academy stages regular Cultural Days to enable teachers and pupils to learn from each others’ different cultural and religious backgrounds and every single pupil takes part.

Headteacher Mr Piercy added: “We first held the Cultural Day five years ago and it is now an annual event.

“The purpose of this day is to recognise, develop, and celebrate the different cultures represented at the academy. The day is also used to raise money for a charity chosen by pupils. This year’s activities raised more than £700 for the British Red Cross.

“We were one of the first academies to implement a ‘no phone’ policy.

“There have been several benefits. Pupils are more confident to be themselves; it encourages social interaction; pupils are more focussed on their learning; and the number of incidents linked to the misuse of social media are significantly reduced.”