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No place for a boy next door

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY has been refused a place at the Church of England primary school next door to his house, and given a place at a school two miles away.

The boy, Liam Mowl, was not given a place at St Michael’s School in Tenterden, Kent, even though his parents had put it down as the first choice for their son.

But Kent County Council explained this week that the parents had not specified a religious education for Liam “when prompted on the application form”.

The selection criteria are such that parents who had chosen a religious education were given higher priority, a council spokeswoman said. For next September entry at St Michael’s, there were 99 applications for 33 places, she said on Wednesday.

In an interview on the BBC website, Martin Mowl, Liam’s father, explained that the family had applied for the place soon after Liam was born, as they knew the school was oversubscribed.

But he said that he could not remember if the application form had asked if they wanted a religious education for their son. They lived so close to the school that they could “literally go to the top of their garden, lean over the fence, and touch the school building”.

A statement from Kent County Council added: “St Michael’s is a Church of England Primary School, and parents who choose a religious education for their child must be given a priority. The Mowl family have been advised on their right to appeal this decision.”

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