‘Are you chewing gum?’ Head Teacher of Hartsdown Academy asks reporters at gate

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Matthew Tate, head teacher at Hartsdown Academy in Margate has sent home reporters from the BBC and Sky News for chewing gum and smoking.

“I was interviewing him outside the school gates,” says Sky News reporter Simon Williams.

“And he was explaining his controversial policy of sending incorrectly dressed pupils home from school when he suddenly stopped and asked if I was chewing gum.

“When I said ‘yes’ he told me to spit it out into a bin immediately and go home.

“Apparently it’s against school rules to chew gum, he’s sent a letter to my mum and everything.

“It’s embarrassing because I left school in 1989.”

BBC Kent reporter Fenton Barnes was also sent away by Tate.

“I started asking him why he felt wearing school uniform was relevant to learning,” says Barnes.

“But before I could finish the question he started sniffing around my head and asked if I had been smoking.

“I said ‘yes’ – as I’d had a fag 5 minutes earlier – then he asked me where I got the cigarettes from and if my parents knew I was smoking.

“He said I could come back and interview him tomorrow but only if I write out ‘smoking is anti-social and causes cancer’ 1000 times on a piece of paper.”

Earlier Tate appeared on the Jeremy Vine show to discuss parental concerns about his uniform policy, but spent the time telling Vine to stop slouching and to take his hands out of his pockets when he was talking to an adult.