An elite private school principal has told parents they need to ‘chill’ and stop treating teachers like their servants.

Dr John Collier said in a recent newsletter he was concerned about tension being created by a small group of the St Andrew’s Cathedral School community.

The prestigious K-12 inner Sydney school has fees of up to $30,000 a year.

‘I am aware some parents, because they are paying fees, see the relationship with teachers as a master/servant relationship, such that they are entitled to make extravagant demands,’ Dr Collier wrote in the newsletter which Daily Mail have shared a copy of HERE.

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He said he had noticed a considerable increase in parental anxiety this year, compared to when he began his role as the head of the school 28 years ago.

‘I am having to interact with too many parents who have verbally abused, physically threatened or shouted at a staff member.

‘People who do this should engage in some role reversal: if someone behaved in this way towards you, would it be helpful and would it motivate you to assist them?’

Dr Collier asked parents to consider if their expectations of the school and consequent reactions were reasonable.

‘A couple of years ago, a middle school parent said to me that he knew the 13 staff members who had observed his daughter committing an offence were all lying, as his daughter said she was innocent. It is very hard to make progress with this level of unreality,’ he wrote.

‘Recently, a middle school parent said to me that as her daughter had done poorly in her test, her life was actually over! Actually, it wasn’t.

‘Often, frustratingly to parents, children do not peak until Senior College. Some really don’t get going until tertiary study. We need to avoid living vicariously through our children.’

Dr Collier said, in some cases, students march to the beat of their own drum, and parents need to be accepting and welcoming in support of their children.

He said he accepted some parents might feel inclined to challenge his policies by taking their children elsewhere, but said ultimately the student will be the one to suffer.

Dr Collier also said he would instruct teachers to stop answering emails and phone calls from agitated parents if he felt it necessary and would not rule out banning parents from school grounds.

Do you think too often today teachers are being treated as slaves or servants?

Share your comments below

  • It depends on the demands the parents are making. If your child is having problems with school work you as a parent should be able to have a meeting to discuss what can be done to help with the problem, not just by the teacher but the parent too. If it is at the beginning of the term they shouldn’t have to wait until the end of the school term for the parent/teacher meeting. By that time the child has fallen ever further behind. Under such circumstances I would be very annoyed and might say more than I should. Waiting up to 3 months is too long.


  • Absolutely! Teachers are expected to be everything…nurses, counselors, babysitters and even provide lunches at times. Some parents, on a regular basis, don\’t pick their children up on time – 5.30pm to 6pm not uncommon. I had a parent send their child to school with a note to say that he\’d been vomiting and had diarrhoea throughout the night, but had spare pants in his bag. Teachers have to teach basic things such as manners and hygiene. The first parents to complain about the things are the ones who never come to any of the meetings.


  • This is true. We are their to educate your child, not parent them for you.


  • Yes I do reckon parents expect more from teachers. Teachers are there to teach our children information, not discipline them, teach them manners etc. Just because your child is a saint at home, doesn’t mean they are when you’re not around


  • Some parents are jst loony and need to get perspective.


  • There does seem to be a lack of respect which is such a shame. Parents and teachers and schools need to work together. If parents do not treat teachers and schools with respect then the children will follow the poor example. There is no excuse ever for any type of abuse. Adults can sit and discuss and find solutions.

    • Respect for a Principal that is stepping up and protecting his staff and showing leadership.


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