If I ever meet headmaster Matthew Tate I’m going to kiss him. He might not want me to kiss him but I won’t be able to help myself because this guy is my hero. And not just mine, it seems.
Parents up and down the country are applauding him for sending home pupils who turned up at Margate’s Hartsdown Academy on the first day of term wearing the wrong uniform .
Parents had been told back in July strict uniform codes would be enforced. An explanatory diagram was even posted on Facebook so there could be no confusion. But a bunch of lazy parents ignored it.
So Matt Tate did what he said he’d do and sent the offenders home – 60 on the first day, 20 on the second and 12 on the third.
But instead of admitting THEY were wrong, instead of being grateful the man who had achieved fantastic results in other schools had come to theirs, those parents staged a demo outside the school gates against Mr Tate’s “Gestapo-style rules”.
Others made excuses – little Johnny can’t wear a blazer because he gets hot and when he gets hot he gets headaches. Little Susie has to wear trainers, not proper shoes, because her feet hurt. Sorry but that’s b****cks!
Matt Tate is doing what every teacher, every headmaster should be doing: he’s trying to raise standards – an old-fashioned concept but they’re the cornerstone of everything.
We live by standards, some of us die trying to uphold them. We judge others on them. We try to live up to those of people we respect. They are the blueprint for everything that’s good.
And Matt Tate, God bless him, is determined to drive up standards at the Hartsdown Academy because its GCSE results are way below the Kent average and it has a reputation of being a “scruffy school” where the pupils do what the hell they want.
Well, not any more. But instead of being grateful that their kids might just get a decent start in life, these idiot parents are fighting him because he dared to say if children want to be in his school they have to follow the rules and wear the uniform.
Because anyone with half a brain knows uniforms aren’t just about the clothes. They’re about everyone starting on the same level playing field. They’re about discipline, standards, boundaries.
“People think caring for children is about letting them do what they want and having no expectations of them,” says Mr Tate. “But what’s needed is to say, ‘This is what we expect, this is what we believe in and we’re following through with it’.”
Now, that’s music to my ears. Yet all some of those dopey parents see are “Gestapo-style rules” and their precious offspring being told what to do by someone else – even if what he’s telling them is right. Well, maybe if those kids had been taught properly about rules at home, they wouldn’t have been sent home from school.
Yes, it’s a child’s instinct to kick against the traces. But it’s a teacher’s job (and a parent’s) to show them it won’t work.
And that’s what Matt Tate’s doing. It’s HIS school, HIS rules and if you don’t like it – shove off to a school capable of little more than preparing kids for life on the dole.
I just hope the school governors and council back Mr Tate and don’t cave in to these idiots with their excuses about why THEIR kids should be exceptions to the rules. Because the future of these children is at stake here.
And better it’s in the hands of a man who knows how to shape it than a bunch of gobby parents who’d rather shout the odds outside the school gates than get on with the job of having their kids educated.
One father complained: “We’ve been called irresponsible.” You are matey. You are.
As for all those parents threatening to take their kids out of Hartsdown – do it!
It’ll make Matt Tate’s job a damn sight easier.