'Riot' as Margate pupils sent home in Hartsdown uniform row

Hartsdown Academy Image copyright Hartsdown Academy
Image caption The pupils were sent home on the first day of the new school year

Police intervened when 50 pupils were sent home from school for flouting uniform rules on the first day of term.

A PCSO based at Hartsdown Academy in Margate, Kent, along with officers passing the school, stepped in after a "disturbance" outside the gates.

One mother, Sharon King, posted on the school's Facebook page: "The poor new Year Seven kids were distraught, many in tears."

Head teacher Matthew Tate said uniforms led to better behaviour and grades.

Reasons for turning children away from classes included "inappropriate" shoes and "skin-tight" jeans and skirts.

'Price worth paying'

Ms King said: "Mr Tate has definitely set off on the wrong foot and the general feeling he has created is a very hostile one.

"I will be putting a formal complaint in and urge all the other parents who witnessed the riot this morning please to do the same."

Mr Tate said Hartsdown had been underperforming and he was determined to raise expectations and standards.

"A small minority of parents were not happy but we have had emails and phone calls from other parents to express their support and they said this is a good thing, that it is good to set standards and they want the best for the children," he said.

"I have had feedback from teachers that behaviour was much better... so a small amount of time out of school is a price worth paying."

He said police were not called by the school but were driving past and stopped because there was a group of children outside.

A Kent Police spokesman said it received a report of a disturbance at the school at 11:03 BST.

"A PCSO who is based at the school was in attendance," he said.

"Two police officers later attended the school for a brief period but no offences were disclosed."

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