Kent

Twenty 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

Students flouting uniform rules have been sent home from lessons at a Kent academy - a day after police intervened in angry scenes at the school gates on the first day of term.

Matthew Tate, head teacher at Hartsdown Academy in Margate, said some pupils had arrived in tracksuits and "skin-tight" clothes.

Some parents have criticised the new head for being "over-zealous".

Twenty pupils were turned away from classes, with 50 sent home on Tuesday.

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Mr Tate said adhering to uniform rules led to better behaviour and improved grades.

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Media captionThe girl's father said it would be the last day his daughter would attend the school

Other uniform contraventions included "inappropriate" shoes and missing blazers, Mr Tate said.

The students have not been disciplined, but were told to go home and return in the correct uniform, after the school had informed their parents.

On Tuesday morning, a police community support officer based at the school, along with two passing police officers, intervened in a "disturbance" outside the gates.

Image copyright Dave Hopper
Image caption Kimberley Hopper was sent home for wearing "the wrong black shoes"

One parent said his daughter had been sent home twice - on Tuesday for not having her blazer, which he said had been left at school, and on Wednesday for wearing "the wrong black brogue-like" shoes which were worn on both days.

Dave Hopper said: "My daughter Kimberley was sent to school this morning, same as yesterday morning, in perfect attire to be able to go and get an education, and to be turned away I thought was absolutely wrong."

He said he would be taking advice from the local education authority "because I don't believe this has been done with the best interests of the children".

Image caption Matthew Tate said pupils in the wrong uniform would be sent home again

Mr Tate said parents were sent a letter in July explaining that students not in the correct uniform would not be allowed on site.

He said he had received a positive response from most parents.

"People have been wanting a school that they can be really proud of, that sets high standards, that wants the very best for their children.

"And most of our parents have emailed in and contacted us to say 'yes, thank you, this should have been done a while ago'," he said.

Mr Tate said pupils would be sent home again on Thursday if they were still not wearing the correct uniform.

"But I hope that nobody will put themselves in that position," he said.

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