Hindus applaud UK government efforts for first state-funded Hindu school
UK April19, 2014: Parents of pupils at the UK’s first state-funded Hindu secondary school are “very excited” at the news councillors have agreed to lease playing fields for the construction of a new school.
Avanti House School, an all-through free school whose pupils are temporarily based in the former Peterborough and St Margaret’s School in Stanmore and Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Edgware, is interested in building a new school complex for itself on Whitchurch Playing Fields in Wemborough Road, Stanmore, owned by Harrow Council.
On the back of a feasibility study, the Education Funding Act (EFA) confirmed to the council it would be prepared enter into a lease to rent the land and to fund a new 1,260-capacity school for Avanti House.
The Conservative-controlled council’s cabinet committee agreed in principle on Thursday to such a lease. It is now up to Avanti House School to submit and win planning permission for a new school building on the land – with an application expected in July.
Nitesh Gor, chief executive of the Avanti Schools Trust that runs Avanti House School, said: “The proposed new building for the secondary school will be an asset for the community.
“The building is likely to be built in two phases to accommodate a roll call of 1,260 pupils when full.
“Parents at both of our Harrow schools, and the wider community, are clearly very excited about this.”
Mr Gor said in September 2015 the Avanti House School’s primary school pupils will relocate from the accommodation they share with sister Krishna-Avanti Primary School, in Camrose Avenue, Edgware, to the former Peterborough and St Margaret’s School in Common Road, Stanmore, and the secondary pupils from the former Peterborough and St Margaret’s School to the new building on Whitchurch Playing Fields.
Councillor Susan Hall (Conservative), leader of Harrow Council, said: “There is a pressing need for more school places in Harrow and a lack of suitable land for development.
“We have worked closely with the Avanti Schools Trust, who already have a strong and indeed unique track record in Harrow serving our significant Hindu community.
“Harrow is a majority Asian borough and I believe the arrival of a Hindu school will mean increased choice for our residents.
“Ultimately, the council’s priority is to ensure every child growing up in Harrow has the chance to attend a good school, and the market should reflect the borough’s diversity.
”We will work with the developers to ensure that a new school here would be a facility for all the community to use.”
The cabinet committee’s decision sounds the death knell for a once-favoured front-running proposal, initiated under a previous Labour administration, to lease Whitchurch Playing Fields to out-of-borough Whitchurch Consortium to redevelop as a replacement sports pavilion and new pitch facilities.
The consortium has previously said it may consider launching legal action against the council to recover the substantial costs accrued until now.