Thanet Star

Police called after crowds of children turned away from Hartsdown Academy

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, 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.

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Dead Island Poets

This evening the Dead Island Poets will be hosting an event where all are welcome to try out their talents with spoken rhymes.

The event, which runs periodically around Thanet, will take place from 7pm at the Ravensgate Arms. This month Thanet's Poets will be celebrating the work and recently released book of Kent's own Mark Holihan.

There will be an open mic but it is recommended that you book a slot to be sure of getting a chance to show off your rhymes. The event is free to attend and take part in.

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To the Sea

There is a strange psychological effect on people who grew up by the sea. Not in every case; but for many, the idea of living away from an edge is something they struggle with. I definitely fall into this category.

Seaside people need the land to end. They need that boundary, a cut-off point. Rolling hills, lush forests, fields and meadows are all lovely. Cities full of people and bustle are exciting and vibrant. But we seasiders require water. We need the waves to lap against the shore of our home; the horizon to exist at the point where the sea meets the sky.

I love living by the sea, and I wouldn't change it for anything. I could move anywhere in the world, as long as it was on the coast. Thanet, though, has the great benefit of being surrounded on three sides by water. We have the mainland to the west which prevents us getting claustrophobic on this little isle; but the north, east, and south all lead to the oceans. This is a truly remarkable place, an island that is not an island.

The water is something we often take for granted. It is there every day, and we sometimes ignore it, yet when we leave and go inland its absence is notable. Whenever I am away from the coast I can tell the air smells and tastes different. The lack of salt in the atmosphere, the silence normally filled with the cries of gulls and the crash of waves, the sun descending into the land instead of the water, it feels off. I love the sea, and the closer I am to it whilst remaining on solid ground, the more I am at home.

It even inspires me, every now and again, to express my connection with it through words. I have written poetry, prose, articles, stories; all about the sea. I am drawn to it and I cannot look away.

Sunset #poem #poetry

A photo posted by Seb Reilly (@seb_reilly) on

This week I indulged the water by submerging myself in the ocean. I walked out into it, as far as I could, then laid back and let myself float as the sun was setting. The view was incredible; the sinking sun from the water's surface is a stunning sight. Afterwards I returned to the beach to watch the final moments of the sunset, and as the glowing orb slipped beneath the ocean a green flash appeared from the refraction of the light. That is something you would not see inland, and a memory I will cherish for years to come.

The ocean, to me, is a comfort. It is my environment. It is home.

Waves #poem #poetry

A photo posted by Seb Reilly (@seb_reilly) on

About Seb: When he is not writing guest posts for Thanet Star Seb Reilly is a fiction writer and occasional musician from Thanet. Seb maintains a website at
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When will KCC take action on dangerous junction?

At least once a year there is a nasty prang in the same part of Dane Valley. Always it is when a car is making a right hand turn out of Tenterden Way onto Millmead road.

The accidents are all, as far as I can tell, caused by the same thing - the complete invisibility of traffic to the right of the junction. The oncoming traffic may be invisible but so too is the turning. I have to tell people who give me a lift, a surprise turning is coming up and they still sometimes miss it.

The total invisibility is caused by people parking on Millmead Road combined with the hill and the slight curve in the road.

There are two schools on Tenterden Way and traffic can get pretty heavy there twice a day. Surely, it can only be a matter of time until someone, possibly a child, is killed in one of these accidents.

My two sisters and mother were hurt in a crash at that junction. The doctors were very worried about youngest sister as she was pregnant at the time. Her belly was purple from bruising and they wondered if she would lose her baby.

Post-crash baby-belly

That story has a happy ending and this Wednesday saw my niece's sixth birthday. We got lucky but luck should not be what keeps us safe on the roads.

After that, I wrote to KCC and asked for a mirror to be put up. They said no because of health and safety. If that makes sense to you, would you please explain it to me.

Next, I took the issue to TDC. At the time TDC was run by Labour who promised double yellow lines. This is far from the best solution as yellow lines are only going to make life harder for the people who live by the junction and own cars and do nothing to physically prevent people from parking there. The double yellow lines order has been stuck in development hell ever since. UKIP led TDC seem deeply unwilling to chase up on it. Here's the 2013 order from TDC to KCC which says The order was made 11th December, 2013, and its provisions will come into effect on 16th December, 2013.

So I am back at it again. KCC could put up a mirror; they could paint the junction to raise awareness of it (like they did in the lead up to the Victoria Road traffic lights); they could lower the speed limit, or they could come up with some other plan. KCC could do any one of a number of low-cost things and yet - nothing.

So I started a petition to force KCC to take action. For the petition to work it needs at least a few hundred signatures.

Last week I was featured in the local paper because of this petition ("Activist demands action at 'terrifying' junction"). The journalist reporting the story confirmed what I had seen - a litany of injuries and nasty accidents at that junction.

How long before we read of a fatality there?

It does not take long to sign the petition all you need to give is your name, postcode, and email address. I'd also appreciate it if you could share it on social media and tell your friends. KCC needs to act before someone is killed.

Sign the Petition Here

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It's a bit hot out there

It's that time of year again when everyone seems surprised by the weather. Summer has well and truly come to Thanet and we're panicking like it's the end of days. I saw a notice at the train station reminding us to keep a bottle of water with us at all times. Don't get me wrong, it is jolly warm out there, but it's summer, it's supposed to be jolly warm.

The same as every year that I can remember, warnings are being broadcast everywhere that they can get them. Drink lots. Wear sunscreen. Stay out of the sun between 11 and 3 because that's when the sun is the strongest. Surely we know this at this point? I understand that this weather is dangerous to some, and they should follow that advice, but, honestly, do we need to get told every year that the sun is trying to kill us? News sites are littered with heat wave warnings. Those same reporters will tell us how cold it is in December, too. It being hot in July isn't news.

So, if, like me, you're tired of hearing about how hot it is, let's just enjoy the sun why we've got it. It won't last long but at least we'll be getting a load of Vitamin D in our system for healthy bones, right?

Perhaps while enjoying the sun you could try and catch some Pokmon? (I had to get that in here, didn't I?) Feel free to let me know any good spots, I'm sick of Pidgeys.

David Chitty is a local fiction writer who spends far too much time tending to his beard. He can be found on or you can like him on Facebook.
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