A NUMBER of children at a Poole academy were taken out of lessons for pencil case equipment infractions - including having a ruler 10cm too short.

Several parents contacted The Daily Echo to complain their children at Magna Academy, Poole, had been put into 'isolation' for not fully complying with the schools strict equipment list.

They said more than 40 children were thought to have been held away from their classmates in another room in silence, and released only when their parents brought in the correct piece of kit.

One pupil was taken out of lessons because his pencil case was shorter than the regulation 30cm, while another female student was singled out for failing to pack a pair of compasses - despite not being taught maths that day.

Parent Hannah Sills, who has written to the head to complain, said parents had been in tears that morning, and accused the school of creating a "culture of fear."

She added: "Both parents and schools are responsible for teaching children to be prepared, be responsible and have all the tools available to them, but removing the opportunity to be educated for not having a piece of equipment that wasn't needed is unacceptable teaching.

"I'd also like to know why it took over two hours for me to be informed that my child was in isolation."

Meanwhile, Miranda Crumpler said she was astonished when her 12-year-old son was put in isolation for having a pencil case that was too short.

She said: "The academy says it wants to educate to a high standard, but how can pupils be educated when they are put in isolation like this? It is ridiculous."

Mrs Crumpler said her son was warned by teachers, last week, that isolation was beckoning if he didn't get a 30cm pencil case and ruler by Monday.

"I wrote a note saying I would not have my son put into isolation, and that he had a 30cm ruler but it was folding - and it does not state in school policy that it couldn't be folding," she said.

"There were plenty of parents going in and out of the school, they were fuming.

"One lady had to come out of work just to take a ruler in for her daughter."

Richard Tutt is head of the academy, formally Ashdown Technology College, which has gone from being in special measures to an outstanding Ofsted rating in less than two years, and was described as "truly inspiring" by Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year.

He said correct equipment "is vital for students" and "clear and specific requirements" were communicated to parents in July and again at the start of term last week.

In September 2013 the academy - run by Aspirations Academies Trust - hit the headlines after taking a 'zero tolerance' policy to students who failed to abide by the new uniform policy. On that occasion pupils were also placed in isolation.

Principal defends rules on equipment

MAGNA Academy principal Richard Tutt said: “Correct equipment is vital for students to ensure that they can make progress within lessons without disruption.

“Clear and specific requirements for student equipment were communicated to all parents, including new Year 7 students, back in July to give parents sufficient time to source all necessary items.

“The need to have the specified equipment was then re-emphasised to all students at the start of term last week, and they were given two days grace plus the weekend to sort out the correct equipment before any sanctions were imposed.

“Parents of any students without equipment yesterday today (Monday, September 7) were contacted and asked to bring in the missing equipment, and students are then being immediately returned to lessons once this is received.

“Any parents who are struggling financially to provide this equipment are offered support by the academy.”