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Ebbsfleet Academy parents 'fuming' as 30 pupils sent home over their uniform
Charlie Cloke was left locked out at home after being sent away from school because of his shoes, say his parents.
PARENTS at Ebbsfleet Academy were left “fuming” after children were “left to wander the streets” for having the wrong uniform.
Thirty of the academy’s 600 pupils were sent home on Friday - the new school's first day - after violating a strict new dress code put in place since the school changed its name from Swan Valley Community School.
Parents accused the school of “shoving kids out of the door” after falling foul of the policy which bans any kind of make-up on girls, rules out handbags and stresses shoes must be entirely black.
Kevin Cloke’s son Charlie, 13, was one of a number of pupils whose Kickers footwear caught the eye of uniform inspectors as each shoe has a small brightly coloured tag meaning they are not completely black.
Mr Cloke, 37, claims he got a text message from the school at 9.45am telling him Charlie had been sent away meaning he had to rush back to their home in Ames Road, Swanscombe, in order to let the year nine pupil in.
Charlie's offending shoes with their coloured tags.
He told News Shopper: “The problem was I had Charlie and six other pupils outside my house. Five of them were girls and it was raining and they had no coats.
“Where were they going to go if their parents were at work? It was absolutely bucketing it down and it’s not fair to have kids wandering the streets.”
Charlie was kept from lessons again on Monday as Mr Cloke and wife Maria, 35, refuse to cut off or colour in the centimetre-long tags on Charlie’s shoes as they claim it would make them harder to sell so they can afford a new pair.
Mrs Cloke said: “On Friday they just shoved them out the door at school and they would have done the same to Charlie today.
Left to right: Ben Cloke, 10, Charlie, 13, Lillie-May, 2, and mum Maria Cloke.
“It is only because we turned round and said to them we are not home that he didn’t end up on the streets again.
"The school told me they put him in an isolation room so he’s not getting any education whatsoever.”
Sarah Newsom, 39, claims her 15-year-old daughter, who did not wish to be named, was sent home on Friday for using a make-up pencil on her eyebrows and because her bag was too small.
Ms Newsom, who lives in Wiltshire Close, Stone, said: “I just think it’s pathetic. It’s the same bag she has had all last year and if she can fit everything in there then that’s all that matters.
“I’m fuming and let’s just say the air was blue in Stone on Friday morning.”
Ebbsfleet Academy principal Alison Colwell apologised after the school was unable to speak directly to the parents of all pupils before they were sent home on Friday.
She told News Shopper: “I can’t be responsible for the rain. It was quite busy and there were a couple of regrettable instances where messages were left as phones were not picked up.
“I have apologised unreservedly to a parent whom that happened to. It is academy policy absolutely to contact parents or carers before students are sent away for any reason and we take our duty of care very seriously.”
Ms Colwell defended her school’s uniform policy which she says she presented to parents at an event in July and which has since been available to read on the Ebbsfleet Academy website.
She said: “The vast majority of parents have been offering unequivocal support for the school and its rules. A handful are not happy but we have rules and we have been enforcing them.”
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