Colin Ward, 33, is a new drama teacher at Barr's Hill community school in Coventry. In the past, the school has had problems with misbehaviour: a 2002 inspection concluded that "a few pupils are ready to disrupt lessons if they are not managed firmly".
Since then, behaviour has improved and exclusion rates fallen. This year, inspectors concluded that behaviour was satisfactory or better in nine out of 10 lessons, and Robin Brabban, head, has advised Tony Blair on strategies for dealing with misbehaviour.
Mr Ward said: "People told me the behaviour of the kids would be awful. But I thought I would judge that for myself. And 99 per cent are fine. Kids very quickly decide which teachers they will work with, and which ones they won't."
But he never allows pupils to forget one thing: "Even though I'll have a laugh with them, I'm a teacher, they're pupils, and we are not equal."