A Brockley headteacher has condemned MPs for their “nasty” conduct in a petition urging them to behave themselves.

Sue Harte, head of John Stainer Community Primary School, told News Shopper our current MPs are setting a “shocking example” for children.

“I feel like I have to say something. It’s outrageous.

“It’s gone on in politics with the nastiness for so long and it’s got to stop. They have to take their role seriously,” she told News Shopper.

Ms Harte, who has worked at John Stainer for 18 years, said her pupils are significantly better behaved than the 650 MPs in the House of Commons.

“Our children behave really well in school. We have guidelines that say they should behave well.

“The pupils do a debating club and they talk about all sorts of things. They are quite shocked by the behaviour they see.

“If I behaved like that, I would lose my job. It seems to me there’s a double standard.”

The headteacher said she avoids political conversations with pupils but can see they are acutely aware of the political climate in the UK.

“Seeing adults behaving in that way and hearing that these are the people in charge of the country – it’s confusing [for the children].”

Since starting the petition, Ms Harte has received criticism from leave voters who believe the prime minister is doing the right thing.

However, she insisted: “This isn’t about leave or remain.

“People are so fired up at the moment, they think it’s all about leave or remain. It’s much bigger, more endemic problem.”

She said her petition was aimed at politicians from all parties and “not just the obvious ones.”

Although she has not singled out an individual politician for bad behaviour, the headteacher praised her MP Vicky Foxcroft, who has visited the school and spoken to pupils about their concerns in the past.

Despite feeling disheartened about the state of British politics, Ms Harte is filled with hope for the future when she sees the “respectful” conduct of pupils at her school.

“The children are learning that you can make changes but still be respectful; still listen; still respond properly.

“Like when they debate something, they know that you don’t necessarily all have to agree – you can influence and persuade people but you don’t need to shout over each other and name call.”