PARENTS were up-in-arms after some pupils were turned away on their first day back at school for wearing the wrong trousers, make-up and piercings.
Several angry mums and dads contacted The Observer yesterday morning saying their children had been sent home from Hastings Academy on the first day of the new Autumn term.
Those arriving at the gates were met by staff who inspected the hundreds of pupils turning up at the Rye Road building.
Those without a blazer, incorrect trousers, socks and shoes, or wearing jewellery and make up were sent home and told it would be recorded as an unauthorised absence.
Many of these students were later admitted after going home to change to the appropriate style.
Several parents were outraged at what they saw as an overreaction from the academy.
Nicola Malone’s son Bruce, 13, was refused entry for not wearing a jacket, and having white bottoms on his shoes.
She had sent him to school with a note explaining the absence of the jacket.
Mrs Malone, of Churchill Avenue, decided to go to the academy in person to express her dismay to the headteacher. Bruce was later allowed inside after changing his shoes.
She said: “There must have been around 50 of them being sent away, I think it’s over the top.
“Obviously I know they have to wear uniform, but to anyone on the street the kids look fine, it’s just petty, and puts a dampener on the first day of term.”
Sue Langton’s daughter Caitlin, 14, was turned away for wearing a nose stud.
Mrs Langton, of Blackman Avenue, St Leonards, said: “I really cannot see what an item of uniform has to do with their education.”
Parent Diane Page said: “My daughter was told off because her trousers did not have a pleat so it made them the wrong kind also a few other children have been sent home for wearing make up, not taking their blazers or having the wrong trousers. In which way would this damage their education more then sending them home.
Principal Theresa Philips declined to comment on the exact number of students affected, but said: “We apologise for any inconvenience or upset which has occurred.
“However, our expectations of student uniform are very clear. A letter and a text message were issued to all families describing our dress code, and the overwhelming majority of students have arrived in correct uniform.
“This summer’s results were the best ever achieved by the school and we know that this is due to the high standards and expectations we have of our students.”
She added that there was a hardship fund in place to assist parents who struggle with the cost of uniforms, and said: “Wherever I have had a request, it has been considered and granted without exception.”
David Smith, father of Sophie Smith, a Year Nine student, said: “My 13-year-old daughter was sent home from school for wearing the ‘wrong style of trousers.’
“They are the same style as she wore throughout her last term.
“I find it disgusting that they can send children home for such trivial things.
“It is right that we send our kids to school, then they can send them onto the streets?”
What do you think about the uniform issue? Email your thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org