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Teacher behind uniform crackdown previously dubbed ‘headteacher from hell’

A general view of Caldicot School (Pic: LDRS)

A HEAD behind a uniform crackdown that has left children in tears and dozens sent home was previously dubbed the “headteacher from hell”. 

Alun Ebenezer earned the moniker after it was reported he’d sent 50 children home in one day from a school over uniform violations including wearing the wrong socks. 

He has now taken over as acting head at Caldicot School and announced his arrival with a drive on uniform standards which resulted in dozens of children being sent home from school on Monday for reasons including their skirts being too short or shirts untucked. 

Parents have complained the disciplinarian headteacher likes to court controversy as a Christian in education columnist and author and his strict approach saw him described as “the headteacher from hell” by The Daily Star in September 2022. 

In 2017 he was embroiled in a racism row when he told a Rastafarian child he would have to cut off his dreadlocks to attend classes at Fulham Boys School in London. 

Mr Ebenezer was still the headteacher when it accepted a Governors’ Complaints Resolution Committee recommendation it should review its uniform and appearance policy against applicable legislation following a complaint by the boy’s mother. 

The County Court also ordered the school to pay the child, who left the school rather than cut his hair, and his mother a settlement and cover the litigation costs, following the agreement that he could be readmitted. 

David Garrick, a parent of two boys at Caldicot, said he was unhappy at the emphasis on uniform in the acting head’s introductory letter and that he was “uncomfortable” how the long list of rules around the length of skirts and make up was targeted at female students. 

He said: “It looks as if he likes to court controversy. It’s been reported he sent 50 kids home from one school for wearing the wrong socks and encouraged a Rastafarian child to shave his head. Reading into his background I feel really uncomfortable.” 

Kayleigh Moore, who attended the school as her daughter, was refused entry to classes for her skirt, eyelashes and makeup, said she had refused to take the year 10 pupil home “as she is entitled to an education”. 

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Ms Moore, of Caldicot, said her daughter was handed a new skirt, from the school, and told to wear it. Other parents have also reported their daughters being told to change into school provided skirts. 

She said her daughter wears make up to “feel better about herself”  

One mum, whose daughter was sent home from school on Monday for wearing false eyelashes, said while she supported a rule on longer skirts she was unhappy that her daughter reported being told to present herself for a male teacher to measure the length of her skirt to her knee. The 14-year-old refused to be measured. 

Monmouthshire County Council has said all issues related to girls’ uniforms are being dealt with by female staff. 

The mum said she was concerned the crackdown was causing unnecessary friction: “My daughter is not as good as gold, she absolutely hates school, her attendance is not the best and she truants but she’s had a really good few months and her attendance is better and now she is being penalised for the way she looks.” 

She said she was concerned about racism due the previous case of demanding the Rastafarian child shave his head – and said she was aware of Mr Ebenezer’s published writings and said: “He wants men to be men, what does that mean for camp men?” 

Christian publishers Reformation Heritage Books published ‘Call to Action – Become the Man God Designed You to Be’ by Mr Ebenezer which is promoted as the world needing “real men” and a basic training guide for “young men to stop being passive” and provides “practical steps for pursuing godly manhood”. 

In 2017, while embroiled in dispute over a child’s dreadlocks, Mr Ebenezer told ITV’s This Morning programme his school was “treating this as a cultural matter not a religious matter” and disputed Rastafarianism’s standing as a religion. 

In 2022, while interim head at the Deepings School in Lincolnshire it was reported Mr Ebenezer had sent 50 children home in one day over wearing the wrong socks or trousers. He said only those who were “openly defiant” and refused to conform to his new rules were sent home. 

The Local Democracy Reporting Service had made repeated attempts to contact Mr Ebenezer, which have all been ignored, and the school has referred queries to Monmouthshire County Council.