Police called to parent protest outside school after 50 children sent home for wearing wrong uniform

A new headteacher who is enforcing a strict uniform policy has left parents angry. Photo / Getty Images
A new headteacher who is enforcing a strict uniform policy has left parents angry. Photo / Getty Images

Police were forced to intervene today as parents protested outside a school after 50 children were sent home for wearing the wrong uniform.

Officers were called to Hartsdown Academy, in Margate, Kent, England at 11am this morning, as parents voiced their anger after pupils were turned away from lessons.

Year 7 pupils, arriving for their first day at school, were reportedly among those who were sent home, with teachers citing frills on socks, white sock and Velcro shoes among breaches in uniform policy.

Angry parents campaigned for two hours outside the academy before police were called to diffuse tensions.

William King, 11, was sent home for wearing black trainers because of joint pain that he has suffered with after having a hip replacement following a car accident last year.

His mother, Sharon, referred to the strict new order at the school as 'The Tate Regime' and claimed the new headmaster was "trying to make a statement".

She said: "Mr Tate said he'd rather William was in pain and wearing school shoes than wearing trainers in front of other parents, but then afterwards said to me that my kids would be okay in trainers.

"Now he's lost respect before he's even started - it's his first day, and he's backed himself into a corner and done the damage."

Mrs King, 41, who has complained to Ofsted, added: "The issue isn't the uniform, because I totally agree with it. The problem is that he handled it like a Gestapo."

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said: "I think this has been handled badly especially the head teacher being so strict with the children."

But head teacher Matthew Tate, who has just started at the school, claims to have warned parents of the rules before the summer holidays.

He said: "We wrote to parents to say we would be ensuring our uniform policy is adhered to and that if children were not in perfect uniform today they would be sent home.

"The majority of our parents are pleased with that.

"They feel the school needs to be better for their children and I've had several parents tell me how pleased they are that they can see that actually we want to be different.

"We want to be a school that they can be proud of sending their children to.

"There is a minority of parents who are not happy with that and I understand it has inconvenienced some.

"A few have lost their temper.

"The parents who have been here protesting for two hours when they could have popped home and got things sorted."

The Academy's on site police community support officer called in colleagues to help resolve the conflict.

Mr Tate added: "The police were passing by and dropped in to help us encourage parents to go home and get the uniform sorted."

Mr Tate said 20 of the children sent home had returned to school after getting the uniform correct.

A police spokesman said: "At 11.03am police received a report of a disturbance at an educational establishment in George V Avenue, Margate.

"Officers attended and no offences have been disclosed."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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