Police had to be called to Hartsdown Academy after over fifty children we turned away on the first day. The crowds of displaced children were left milling around outside the school which disrupted traffic and caused significant other problems.
According to Kent Online the police were called after
furious parents protested because their children had been sent home from school because of problems with their uniform.
Headteacher Matthew Tate said parents had been warned this would happen by letter in July but parents suggested that he grossly over-reacted and enforced the rules
like a gestapo.
Concerns were raised that the school failed to protect the children by not ensuring that they had somewhere safe to go. According to the Mirror, one girl asked a stranger for a lift home when she could not contact her parents. Other reports suggested that many of the children simply headed into town to hang around near the shops.
Online, kentlive.news says there were 60 students turned away. They continue,
the school started its new term this morning (September 6) with staggered timings for different years – however to the shock of many parents, teachers were standing by the gate checking uniforms.
Several reports indicated that the school would prefer the children to be in pain rather than break the dress code. Apparently, one girl was made to remove her socks because they were the wrong colour and very shortly her new shoes had left the backs of her heels bleeding. Another child had a medical exception after a painful operation and, on doctor's advice, needed to wear trainers but this was unacceptable too.
Hartsdown Academy, a mixed non-selective school with 900 pupils, is part of the Coastal Academies Trust. According to one parent, there is not an official uniform and they have only an inexact set of guidelines to go by. This blogger cannot help but wonder if the heads of Hartsdown Academy might not have been better advised to first clarify school uniform requirements and issue better guidelines.
There was also coverage from The Sun. However, The Sun turned 5.5% into "half the school" with their headline. So I stopped reading.
Have you or someone you know been affected by today's events? Do you think the head acted correctly or did he go over-the-top? Let us know in our comments section.