East London’s first Sikh-designated school puts plans on hold
PUBLISHED: 14:42 05 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:41 10 February 2015
Parents hoping to send their children to east London’s first Sikh free school this autumn have been informed the opening has been delayed by a year.
Atam Academy, a free school, had been due to open in September, but a lack of possible sites in Redbridge has forced governors to postpone the opening.
The school had been hoping to announce the site last month, but parents were instead told of the postponement.
They will have the chance to reapply for 2016 under a new admissions process closer to the time.
Speaking to the Recorder, chairman of the governors Mankamal Singh said: “We are still actively looking for a site with the help of the Department for Education.
“We are very grateful for parents’ overwhelming support.
“But we had signatures for 180 children – and we were oversubscribed in reception year – so we had to tell the parents immediately so they could make future plans.”
Mr Singh insisted the school with the help of DfE and the Education Funding Agency is “working diligently” to find a suitable permanent site.
“We want to find the right site,” he added. “The site we need is a large one – we need space for 1300 pupils and 100 staff.
“We need to find the right site because we do not want to outgrow the site after a few years.”
The DfE approved the school’s application in October last year.
The school will be the third Sikh-designated free school in the capital and the first in east London.
Mr Singh said the DfE would enter negotiations with private land owners once a site had been found.
Meanwhile, the governors have been able to announce the school’s first principal – Raminder Singh Vig.
The teacher has experience working in schools in Belgium and Dubai.
“He has an exceptional background in education with experience in start-up schools and driving them to outstanding,” Mr Singh said.
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