Serviceman feels ‘let down’ over lack of school places

Phil and Francesca Newby and boys Ashton (13) and Chase (7) EMN-170530-102455009
Phil and Francesca Newby and boys Ashton (13) and Chase (7) EMN-170530-102455009
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An army serviceman moving to Peterborough feels he has been “massively let down” by the city council after it refused to allocate his children school places until he had settled in the city.

Sgt Major Phil Newby, (43), who has been in the army since he was 16, serving tours of duty abroad, said there was a “distinct lack of common sense” after he moved into his new home in Stanground last week with wife Francesca, but without school places for his sons Ashton (13) and Chase (7).

He said despite the council signing up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, which pledges support to service personnel, and the fact he had a moving-in day, the council told him “it does not push applications through until you are in the area.”

He added: “My eldest has special education needs. He could be out of school for a length of period which will have a massive effect on his education.”

A council spokeswoman said it allocates school places every other week, and that special rules for military personnel are only for families being posted in the area.

She added: “We are unable to use an address for processing an application until the family are permanently resident there and prove that they have no connection with a previous address. This ensures that school places are allocated fairly and offered to children who live locally and are genuinely entitled to them.”