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Margate: Hartsdown Academy head teacher Matthew Tate defends tough stance on uniform

By Julia Collins

Police intervened after furious parents protested because their children had been sent home from school because of problems with their uniform.

Around 50 pupils were stopped from going to lessons at Hartsdown Academy in George V Avenue, Margate, this morning.

Head teacher Matthew Tate said parents had been warned this would happen by letter in July.

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Police intervened as parents protested at Hartsdown Academy in Margate

Police intervened as parents protested at Hartsdown Academy in Margate

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 has a police community support officer based on the site. 

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

A 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.

"I saw lady having to help some young children and take them home.

"They were sent away from the gate without a phone call.

"The school has a duty of care - anything could have happened to those children."

Parent Lorna Bristow said: "I didn't receive a letter and I know of other parents who haven't either. 

"My son was turned away this morning because he was wearing shoes that looked like trainers. They were ok last year, so why aren't they now?"

Hartsdown Academy, a mixed non-selective school with 900 pupils, is part of the Coastal Academies Trust.

Executive head teacher Paul Luxmoore said: "Hartsdown has previously been viewed in the community as a scruffy school, Matthew is right to ensure that changes and he has my full support.

"The majority of parents who make the effort to make sure their children are properly dressed are the most outraged about those who don't. 

"We're bound to have a bit of a sticky period at the start as there are a small number of parents and pupils who are unhappy.

Police spokesman Martin Very 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."

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