30 September 2022, 09:02 | Updated: 30 September 2022, 09:03
A headteacher who sent 50 children home for breaking uniform rules has defended his actions.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast today, Alun Ebenezer, who refused to budge on a strict dress code which saw 50 students excluded in one day, said “little things matter,” including strict adherence to school uniform.
He was criticised after one boy was apparently excluded for socks that were ‘too short’ but came forward and spoke on air today on LBC to defend his actions.
Parents of pupils at The Deepings School, Lincolnshire, were angered after Mr Ebenezer refused to let pupils in if they were flouting the school’s strict dress code – even with minor infractions like wrong-coloured socks.
50 children were put in isolation for uniform rule breaches, including some who reportedly wore the wrong kind of black socks.
One parent fumed: “My son was hauled out of lessons for having non-regulation socks on. It’s crazy… it’s like some kind of police state.”
Interim headteacher Mr Ebenezer told LBC today: “On Monday, 96% of the school were in immaculate school uniform but there were 50 or so young people who were still in breach of the uniform.
“We met them at the gates, we tried to remedy it. The vast majority of them, within half an hour, were in correct uniform.
“Before the summer pupils could wear whatever colour socks they wanted. If you’ve got 1,500 different colour socks, that’s not uniform. So I introduced black socks or black tights. Like I say, I think uniform is important.
“Young people who didn’t have the right uniform, we remedied that quite quickly. There were others who struggled because of finances, we’ve given them an extra week and we are helping them to meet that uniform requirement.
“There are some young people who say, nah, I’m not doing it. They have to be dealt with very differently.
“They are internally excluded in the first instance and if they continue to refuse to do what they’re told we have to exclude.
“What we can’t do is say – OK, that’s fine, you carry on, because young people will test to see how firm those boundaries are.
“It’s about attitude. Big doors swing on little hinges, I think these little things matter. In my four weeks of being at the school the atmosphere is tangibly different.”
Excluded pupils at the school, which caters for around 1,500 children aged 11-18, were ordered to spend the day in the “behaviour inclusion centre”.