The first state-funded Hindu school in the UK, the all-new Krishna-Avanti school in Harrow, presents the opportunity for Hindu children to be instructed in yoga, meditation, prayers. An outdoor amphitheatre will also be made available.
Initially, lessons will take place in temporary classrooms, and the school building, to come up at an estimated cost of ten million pounds, would be open next year. Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: "Now Hindus, like all the other communities, have a choice and can decide whether or not to send their children to a school based on their faith."
The novel school is expected to be vastly oversubscribed. Although there are an estimated 15,000 Hindu children living in the borough, the school will initially admit just one class of 30 four and five-year-olds. It hopes to build up to a total of 236 places by 2014, including a nursery, reported timesonline.com.
Naina Parmar, the head, described the school as "a huge step forward for Britain's one million Hindus". Some 587 secondary and 6,253 primary schools in England, representing around a third of the total, are faith schools. The vast majority are Christian, even as there are a handful of Muslims and Jewish too.
Rabbi Jonathan Romain, chairman of Accord, a new coalition of religious and nonreligious groups that seeks the reform of faith schools policy, said: "It is vital for the good of both the children and wider society that the Krishna-Avanti teaches appreciation of all traditions, does not opt out of local religious education syllabus, does not discriminate against employing non-Hindu staff or bar children of other faiths from having the right to attend."
Ms Parmar said the school would place an emphasis on "developing the whole child, including through integration with the wider community".
"I want our school to be a haven of peace. Hinduism is a very inclusive faith which promotes a calm, caring and cooperative learning environment. This will be reflected in the curriculum, which will include prayer, yoga and meditation alongside usual subjects, and in the school's ethos and environment," the report quoted her as saying.