Published: 00:01, 09 January 2015
Parents are fuming after their children were sent home on the first day of term because of “incorrect” uniform.
About 40 pupils were pulled up at Strood Academy on Monday for poor uniform standards and 10 parents were contacted on Tuesday for the same reason.
Harri Scott was refused entry to the Carnation Road school because her tailored black trousers were ‘wrong’.
The 12-year-old has autism and is young for her age so “being singled out and turned away made her really upset”, said her mum Jackie Winter.
She said: “Harri has worn those same trousers for two terms now, and suddenly the school said they were inappropriate, but they haven’t said why.
"As far as I’m concerned when my child is at school she is under their duty of care and it is their responsibilty to make sure she is safe, not let her off school grounds to walk home on her own" - Jackie Winter
“I’ve called and left messages to try and sort things out but have had no response.
Miss Winter, 48, added: “They even left it up to the children to ring home and to make their own way back. As far as I’m concerned when my child is at school she is under their duty of care and it is their responsibilty to make sure she is safe, not let her off school grounds to walk home on her own, without even knowing for sure if I’d been contacted. What if something had happened to her?”
Head teacher Kim Gunn said: “Strood Academy make no excuses for having high standards for their students, including uniform.
“Those pupils who informed staff that they were unable to safely make their way home were kept in school.”
Ashley Hitch’s 13-year-old daughter Chelsie was also pulled up because her tailored trousers with a crease down the front were “too skinny” in cut.
Miss Hitch was at her job as a clinical support worker in Medway Maritime Hospital but had to leave to straighten the situation out.
After a meeting with the head and an inspection of the trousers Chelsie was actually found to be properly outfitted for school.
Miss Hitch, 33, said: “The teachers were standing outside the gates with clipboards turning pupils away. It was like a power trip.
“In term two and over the Christmas period, four letters, a newsletter item and a website notification were sent to parents asking them to ensure that students were in correct uniform" - Head teacher Kim Gunn
“They obviously don’t have enough to do. They are teaching pupils about appearance rather than actually educating them.”
Another parent, Laura Hopwood, saw her friend’s son turned away because he was wearing navy socks instead of black.
Strood Academy insists its uniform policy was made explicitly clear.
Head teacher Kim Gunn said: “In term two and over the Christmas period, four letters, a newsletter item and a website notification were sent to parents asking them to ensure that students were in correct uniform or they would be sent home to rectify the uniform issue.”
But things were still not clear to some.
Mum Kellie Hills splashed out £45 on a new school blazer for her 13-year-old daughter Morgan, which is embroidered with the colours of the school’s college buildings.
Mrs Hills said: “That blazer was sold as an alternative for pupils wearing their colour-coded lanyards. When Morgan lost hers, I bought it with that in mind.
“But she was sent home because she didn’t have her lanyard. Apparently they have changed their policies again from last term. Maybe they did send letters out, but I didn’t get one and I wouldn’t have bought this new blazer if I’d known the new emblem was pointless.”
Morgan was given the option of sitting in isolation or going home, but any education was barred without her lanyard.
In December 2012 we reported on teenager Daniel Smith who went to Strood Academy sporting a hairstyle fashioned by Mario in The Only Way is Essex back in 2012.
But he got the chop from teachers who described the cut as “too extreme” for the classroom and was told to grow it out or face exclusion.
And just this week, another Kent pupil was placed in an isolation room after school bosses ruled his Joey Essex-inspired haircut was "unacceptable".
Stories you might have missed