Lessons of Northern Ireland being ignored as England’s first Hindu secondary school seeks to expand

January 24, 2014

The Avanti House School in Harrow, an all-through school which is the only Hindu school in Britain that teaches pupils at the secondary stage, has revealed plans this week for its secondary school section to relocate to a new site and massively expand. The proposal for the new 1,260 pupil capacity school is being supported by the local authority and will now undergo a feasibility study by the Department for Education’s Education Funding Agency.

The country’s first state funded Hindu school, the Krishna Avanti Primary School, also in Harrow, was opened in 2008. It has since been joined by three further schools.

Proposals for the expanding The Avanti House School come at the same time as plans proceed for more cross community secondary schools in Northern Ireland. Last year the Northern Irish Government announced its intention to open ten new cross community schools are part of its strategy to improve community cohesion. Schools in Omagh are already set to relocate to a new site, while a group of schools in Armagh have announced this month their intention to bid to come a new cross community school in the town.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said ’Plans for another cross community secondary school under the Northern Irish Government’s programme are to be welcomed.

‘However, it is desperately sad that at the same time hard learned lessons in Northern Ireland are being ignored in England and that a growing number of children from the until now very integrated Hindu community look set to attend increasing religious balkanised schools. Community cohesion is an important religious value and this latest school expansion is another nail in its coffin.’

2 Responses to Lessons of Northern Ireland being ignored as England’s first Hindu secondary school seeks to expand

  1. Maddy Bridgman on February 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I welcome your implication that schools have an important role to play in community cohesion and I am glad that you see progress in Northern Ireland. We in the Integrated Education Fund (a charity) aim to make integration, not separation, the norm in Northern Ireland’s schools. We welcome all steps towards cross-community education but I would like to point out that the current plans by the Northern Ireland Executive are for ten shared campuses and not in fact for new cross-community schools; these campuses offer some shared facilities and some interaction, but will continue to house children in schools of different sectors, including denominational schools, with distinct uniforms and identities. The plan is just a step on the way to a truly shared single education system for Northern Ireland.

  2. Daniel on March 10, 2014 at 1:15 am

    I came across this site by accident but I feel I have to comment on your sadly ignorant understanding of religious orientated schools. Quite apart from the well known academic high standards of many religious schools and their out of proportion contribution to the economy attacks on religious education and belief in general is often a disguised attack on this countries minorities. There is no evidence that religious education fosters division and in fact there is ample evidence to the contrary.

    Northern Ireland has had a different experience but to suggest that the conflict there is due to separate religious education is to ignore the real historic reason for the conflict; British colonisation and all it’s consequences.

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