Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 15:32 UK

Hindu state school beginning work

Neasden temple
Hindus in London will now have a state-funded primary school

The building of England's first Hindu state school is to begin this weekend, with the occasion marked with a religious ceremony and launch event.

The Krishna-Avanti primary school in Edgware, north west London, will take its first pupils in September.

The first classes will be in temporary accommodation while the school buildings are constructed.

Head teacher Naina Parmar said the faith school would contribute to "contemporary British society".

"We recognise and take our duty seriously in ensuring that we promote community cohesion, inclusion and value inter-cultural and religious diversity," she said.

FAITH SCHOOLS
6,850 out of a total of 21,000 schools, large majority either Church of England or Roman Catholic
37 Jewish, 7 Muslim, 2 Sikh, 1 Greek Orthodox, 1 Seventh Day Adventist
1.7 million pupils
21% of faith school secondary pupils from ethnic minorities - 17% in non faith schools

The 10m primary school will have 236 places, providing a faith school for some of the 40,000 Hindus living in the London Borough of Harrow.

The school says that it will promote "holistic health through the provision of a safe, caring environment, a balanced vegetarian diet and opportunities to practice yoga, meditation and the arts".

About a third of schools in England are faith schools - including Jewish, Sikh, Muslim and Christian denominations. But so far there has not been a Hindu school.

The event on Saturday, marking the launch of the school, will involve the chanting of Sanskrit prayers and the lighting of a sacred fire.

The I-Foundation, which has promoted the founding of the school in Edgware, has also proposed Hindu schools in Barnet and Leicester. These could be "all-through schools", combining both primary and secondary levels.

Last autumn, the Department for Children, Schools and Families repeated its commitment to faith schools where there was local demand from parents.


SEE ALSO
First UK Hindu school in London
12 Oct 05 |  London
Faith schools set for expansion
10 Sep 07 |  Education
Faith schools quota plan scrapped
26 Oct 06 |  Education

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