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Wilmington vicar can't find school for his daughter

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 February 2019

The Rev Carl Chambers with his family. Photo: Carl Chambers

The Rev Carl Chambers with his family. Photo: Carl Chambers

Archant

A new vicar to the area says he wants clergy to be treated like military personnel when it comes to finding schools.

The Rev Carl Chambers is vicar at St Michaels and All Angels, Wilmington, and is desperate for daughter Daisy, eight, to enrol in a school close to home.

The family moved a month ago but have not yet been offered a school within a reasonable distance.

He said: “We started looking and made applications for a place for Daisy in December, so the council has been fully aware that we needed a school for her.

“The nearest school offered to us is over two and a half miles away, which is just not reasonable nor sustainable for us.

“There seems to be something profoundly wrong when a council can fine a parent for taking their child out of school for just one day, but there is no redress when they are prevented from taking their child to school for over a month.

“We know a school can make a space if they chose to, or were told to. We are not asking for special treatment, just a school close to where we live.

“There is something called the military covenant which requires schools to be flexible for children of the military because they don’t get to choose where they live. In many ways there is a parallel with clergy.

“Both groups serve the local community and move when ‘called’.

“We are grateful that there is strong support from people we’ve met in the village for Daisy to attend a local school.”

Rev Chambers’ two older sons were offered a place each at St Columba’s Catholic Boys’ School, Bexleyheath, and they are settling in well.

Scott Bagshaw, Kent County Council’s head of fair access, said: “When a family moves to an area outside of the normal school admissions round they will be advised where there are places available within a reasonable travel distance of their home.

“There is an available school less than two miles’ straight-line distance from this family home.

“The parents have chosen to apply for other local schools, which they are entitled to do, however these schools are full.”

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