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Margate: Parents of Hartsdown Academy pupils receive malicious text from school phone

By Katie Davis

Parents of pupils at Hartsdown Academy were left shocked after receiving a “malicious” text branding the school head a “plonker”.

The message, seemingly signed off from an assistant head, also called for Matthew Tate to “apologise for his folly”.

It was sent in response to a critical job advertisement for a new head of science, to which staff at the school had apparently taken exception.

Headteacher Matthew Tate
Headteacher Matthew Tate

The text, sent this morning to some parents, asks of the head “who knew he was such a plonker?”.

It adds: “What sort of idiot publicly declares parts of his own school should be placed under special measures and then advocates the need for a head teacher calibre candidate to sort his own problems out?

“Furthermore, science did rather better than certain other areas within the school, so what is he really saying about the rest of us?

“I have spoken to some of our colleagues in science and I know just how upset they are by these vindictive comments.

“He now needs to ‘man up’, and apologise to us all for his folly.”

The message is apparently signed off from the school’s assistant head teacher, Harvey Ovenden.

The text relates to a job advertisement for head of science, which questions the quality of teaching in the subject at the school.

“Results are well below expectations and teaching has been poor,” it reads.

“So – it is a challenging school, with children who are sometimes reluctant to learn and whose life experience so far has led them to believe that there is little point in trying because the odds are stacked against them.

“It has been tempting for the school to satisfy itself with containing behaviour and keeping children safe from the hardships they face in their home lives.

“It is tempting to compromise with a subject like science – who needs to learn about science when they haven’t got enough food to eat at home?”

The school says it is investigating a “malicious communication”.

A spokesman said: “The school can confirm that we are trying to recruit an outstanding head of science.

“It is very common for schools to recruit key appointments on the leadership scale.

“We are currently investigating a malicious communication which sought to bring the school into disrepute and cannot comment further at this time.”

Head teacher Mr Tate also hit headlines back in 2016 when police had to intervene after furious parents protested after children were sent home from school at the start of the school year over a crackdown on uniform policy.

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