A strict school has been dubbed ‘Colditz Academy’ after its new head sent home five per cent of its pupils in one day for breaching new uniform rules.
One girl was turned away from the gates of Ebbsfleet Academy in Swanscombe, Kent, because her bag was too SMALL.
Another female pupil, who has no eyebrows, was sent straight home because she broke stringent new make-up rules by using an eyebrow pencil.
Other pupils were told to leave because the coloured tags on popular footwear brand Kickers breached a new ‘all black’ rule.
The draconian uniform rules were introduced at the start of this academic year when the school reopened as an academy.
In total 30 out of the 600-odd pupils at Ebbsfleet Academy were sent home on the first day of term last Friday.
Furious students took to Facebook to complain – branding the former Swan Valley Community School ‘Colditz Academy’.
And angry parents hit out at headteacher Alison Colwell, who has been in place since last October, for being insensitive to self-conscious teenagers.
Mother-of-six Gaenor Beaumont’s 15-year-old daughter Holly was sent home because she had used an eyebrow pencil.
Mrs Beaumont, 36, of Swanscombe, Kent, said: “I think the new head was just trying to make a point on the first day. She is a law unto herself.
“Holly wasn’t even let in through the doors on Friday when she arrived. She has to draw on her eyebrows because they didn’t grow back when she plucked them.
“But she doesn’t wear any other make up and the eyebrows are drawn on so they look natural.
“A girl of her age doesn’t want to walk around without any eyebrows.”
Kevin Cloke’s son Charlie, 13, was one of a number of pupils sent home from school for wearing Kickers shoes with tiny coloured tags.
Mr Cloke, 37, of Swanscombe, Kent, said: “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.”
Heather Harman, says her son Daniel, who is in Year 9, was also sent home for wearing Kickers.
She said: “I just think it’s ridiculous, sending my son home because of a tag on his shoes.”
Sarah Newsom, 39, claims her 15-year-old daughter, who did not wish to be named, was sent home because her bag was too small.
Ms Newsom, of Stone, Kent, 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.”
Swan Valley Community School reopened as Ebbsfleet Academy last Friday.
Under the new uniform code girls have also been banned from wearing their hair too high on their head.
The uniform guide states footwear should be “plain, black, sturdy leather shoes with wide flat heels” and bans “coloured stitching, labels and laces are not permitted.”
Pupils are only allowed to carry one bag and it has to be plain black or blue.
Parents are warned that the uniform policy will be enforced “consistently and constantly”.
Anyone breaking the rules faces a three-hour-long detention sessions on Saturdays.
Principal Alison Colwell refused to back down and said the uniform policy is “unashamedly strict”.
She said: “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.”
She added: “The Ebbsfleet Academy has an unashamedly strict and clear uniform policy parents, carers and students have all been made aware of.
“It’s a shame a small number chose to try to break the rules on their first day.
“I have been inundated in recent months with emails of support from parents for our high standards and clear rules.
“It’s a fact the vast majority support us totally. It’s all about setting standards and expectations.
“Those saying a little tag doesn’t affect learning is a smoke screen – you either support the school or you don’t.
“We think it’s important that we have a strict policy and it is just a tiny number of people who are moaning – it’s the minority.
“I don’t want to be talking about this – little labels on Kickers – I want to be talking about progress and achievement and getting the results that are going to leave other schools blown out of the water.
“This is a different school. We want them to realise they can be anything they want to be and they’re going to get an excellent education.
“If they don’t like it, they can take their children out of the school and go to one without rules and standards, it’s their choice.”
Trousers – Navy blue formal-style school trousers.
Shirt – Plain white, long or short sleeved, buttoned to the neck and tucked in at all times
Footwear – Plain, black, sturdy leather shoes with wide flat heels
Socks – Black, navy, blue or dark grey
Trousers/Skirt – Navy blue A-line skirt
Shirt/Blouser – Plain white, short or long sleeve classic style with a revere neckline
Shoes – Platforms, sling backs, open tow shoes, ankle boots, mules, trainers and fabric shoes are not permitted. Colour stitching, labels and laces are not permitted.
Socks/Tights – PLain white, dark blue and black or neutral, plain black or navy opaque tights.