London, UK: A SIKH free school due to open in September has received nearly two applications for every place.
The Nishkam School West London is set to open in its temporary home in a former office block opposite the Rising Sun pub in London Road, Isleworth, subject to final government approval.
It will accept just 100 pupils in its first year – 50 each in reception and year one – before gradually expanding to accommodate 1,400 students aged four to 18 at an as yet undecided venue, by 2019.
Executive principal Terry Green this week said more than 160 applications have already been received and all but one teacher has been recruited.
Although the school will have a Sikh ethos and half its intake will be children of that religion, Mr Green said it will be a multi-faith school.
“The first children we will take will be those in care, followed by those with siblings already attending,” he said. “Of the remainder, half will be Sikh and the other half chosen randomly.
“We will teach the national curriculum but there will be an emphasis on compassion and family life, which are not so cool values any more.
“There will be prayers from different religions and we also plan to invite local representatives from various faiths to speak to pupils.”
Mr Green added that the trust was working with the council to find a permanent site for the school, which it hoped to identify within the next six months.
Once that happens, he said, the school will apply for planning permission for a larger building, which it hopes to occupy within two to three years.
Mr Green said the school would help to fill the huge demand for extra school places in Hounslow.
Free schools are government-funded but have more freedom than local authority schools to decide issues such as the length of the school day and the curriculum.
The Nishkam School Trust, which already runs a primary school in Birmingham, claims the Hounslow school will be the UK’s first ‘all-round’ faith school, catering for pupils from the age of four to 18.
Source: Hounslow Chronicle.Co.UK