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UK Two Proposals For Sikh Schools


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Two proposals of Sikh schools

Of the 31 applications for a Free School there are only two from Sikhs The Slough Sikh Education Trust hopes to set up a free school with a Sikh ethos as a solution to the number of oversubscribed schools in the town.

Rabbi Jonathan Romain has said he feared the Sikh community would become segregated.

However, the Slough Sikh Education Trust has said it hopes to attract 50% of its pupils from non-Sikh backgrounds.

The other project that has the green light is in Birmingham. A Sikh Gurdwara is planning to create two “free schools” in Birmingham – but they will be open to people from all religions.

An education trust created by worshippers at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Nishkam Sevak Jatha, in Soho Road, is to open a new secondary school on the site of a former factory in Hockley.

It is also to create a new primary school in Soho Road, Handsworth, under Government plans to open schools led by private organisations such as parents’ groups, faith bodies or teachers themselves.

The state-funded schools were among 16 proposals for new “free schools” to receive early approval from Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Nishkam Secondary School will open on the former Lucas factory site in Great King Street, Hockley, if the scheme goes ahead.

It will serve up to 1,000 pupils and children from the Sikh community will be given preference for half the places, while the other half will be open to all youngsters regardless of their religion.

Although free schools receive government funding, residents have already raised more than £2 million to buy the site. Co-ordinator Ranjit Singh said: “We want good exam results, but also to emphasise the value of morals and ethics.

“We have a basic belief that you don’t convert people to your faith. These will be multi-faith schools.” The scheme will now progress to the next stage of the process and Guru Nanak Nishkam Education Trust will develop a full business case. If this is approved, the schools could open by next September.

The other proposals are:-

* The West London Free School is the first free school that will be ready to open for pupils in September. A further nine which have reached the advanced planning stage are in line to follow suit.

* Four of this first tranche are religious schools – one Hindu, one Jewish and two Christian.

* The remainder include four primaries and one secondary school set up by parents.

* A further 31 applications have had their business designs approved by Education Secretary Michael Gove but have not yet moved on to the second stage.

* One of these is an existing private school dedicated to the teachings of the Beatles' guru, the Maharishi Yogi.

* A second, Batley Grammar School, is an independent school and member of the elite Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, which wants to transfer to the state sector.

* The remainder include one Muslim boys' school in Blackburn, a Sikh school in Birmingham and an academy in Northamptonshire specialising in teaching theatre and stagecraft to children from the age of 10.

* Gove has yet to rule on a further 280 or so applications – which include the controversial proposal by evangelical Christians to open an academy in Newark, near Nottingham, which will have creationism at the heart of its ethos and teach in science lessons that evolution is only a theory.


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