Defiant Canterbury Academy principal Phil Karnavas vows never to close school in snow 'to set example to children'
by Jamie Bullen
A defiant school principal has been praised for vowing
to never close his school during bad weather as Kent is
hit by snow.
Canterbury Academy's Phil Karnavas e-mailed parents at the
Knight Avenue school to confirm the doors would remain open
despite bleak weather.
Parents across Kent often face childcare headaches when
snow hits and schools shut their doors. Several are closing early this afternoon because of the
But Mr Karnavas said keeping the school open whatever the
weather would set an example to children when they are in work and
also maintained schools should act as a public service.
He wrote: "The Canterbury Academy will endeavour to remain
"In fact, I have never closed the schools in the academy because
of the weather and my starting point is that I will never close
them because of the weather.
"This is essentially for three reasons. We should set an example
"When things become more difficult we should continue to do that
which we are expected to do. When the children become employees or
employers then perseverance (getting to work) and dedication/honour
(fulfilling their obligations as an employee/employer) are, I
think, important values.
"We are a public service and, thus, we should serve the public.
If schools close it means children are at home. If children are at
home it means some parents cannot go to work.
"This means that they could lose money. Parents should not be
inconvenienced unless there really is no option.
"If we believe that education is important because it improves
the life chances of children then we should not, nor should we been
seen to, look for reasons not to offer it."
He finished by saying he would only reconsider his stance in
circumstances where there is a genuine risk of health and safety to
Mr Karnavas added: "If that is the case, then that is the
case. Some will be able to get in.
"If I am advised that there is a genuine health and safety
risk I will obviously reconsider.
"However, unless you hear differently from me – and only from
me, please assume that the schools will be open."
The e-mail has been applauded by parents, including Liberal
Democrat leader Alex Perkins who described his words as
He said: “No wonder the Canterbury Academy is doing so well! He
is an inspiration. If only men like him were running the
country's entire education department. Well - the entire country
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