Hero of the Week: October 30, 2023: Mike Fairclough

Photo Credit: Russell Sachs

Author and former headteacher Mike Fairclough was the only headteacher or school principal in the UK (out of 20,000+) to publicly question lockdowns, masking kids, and the Covid vaccine rollout to children. When the mainstream news outlet The Telegraph interviewed Fairclough in October 2023 on their Planet Normal podcast, he stated, “This is the first time in any UK mainstream media that the topic of the Covid vaccine rollout to children has been openly discussed and critiqued in this way.”

Fairclough’s educational ethos, described in his three published books, focuses on building resilience and imagination and on outdoor learning, with the most recent book being Rewilding Childhood. His 2016 book titled Playing with Fire: Embracing Risk and Danger in Schools described how his school in East Sussex rented “120 acres of marshland to keep a herd of water buffalo, beehives, chickens, sheep and goats,” with the children spending time outdoors in all types of weather to “build grit and resilience.”

Fairclough’s thoughts on education have enjoyed extensive and positive media coverage from a number of the UK’s mainstream media, with one Channel 4 News episode about his school gaining over 16 million views on Facebook. In a 2016 review of Playing with Fire, The Guardian quoted Fairclough’s invitation to other schools to “tear off the cotton wool from around our kids and cast it into the flames.” A parent serving on his school’s Governing Board told The Guardian at the time:

“Mike has transformed the school. We’re in the top 5% nationally for attainment in the Sats and the top school in Eastbourne for reading, writing, maths, punctuation and grammar. He’s getting that hit by having the children challenging themselves and finding solutions together rather than spending all the time facing walls in the classroom.”

However, Fairclough recently resigned from his position as headteacher of his school. His resignation followed repeated investigations into his conduct by his employer for lawfully expressing his concerns about the Covid vaccine rollout to children, as well as about the masking and lockdown policies. He is now taking his employer to court with the support of Britain’s leading civil liberties barrister, Paul Diamond. In an interview with Daily Mail, which described him as “Britain’s most outspoken headmaster,” he explained his reasons for resigning.

Fairclough is now encouraging others to voice their opinions about “controversial” and politically sensitive subjects. He has started a Substack, where his writing “explores critical thinking, free speech and the empowerment of the individual.” A number of high-profile free speech advocates follow him on social media.

We applaud Mike for his courageous defense of childhood.


Mike’s Substack

Mike Fairclough’s YouTube channel

A legal battle for free speech (Mike Fairclough’s legal campaign)

West Rise Junior School – Channel 4 News (Apr. 4, 2017)

Planet Normal podcast (Mike Fairclough discusses why he was forced out of teaching. The Telegraph)

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 (Daily Mail)

School with guns, knives and fire on the timetable – and Ofsted loves it (The Guardian)

Meet the hunky headmaster who teaches kids to use a shotgun (The Telegraph)

12 ways to get your child off their screen (The Times)

Books by Mike Fairclough:

Playing with Fire: Embracing Risk and Danger in Schools

Rewilding Childhood: Raising Resilient Children Who Are Adventurous, Imaginative and Free

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