Lack of site for Sikh free school does not deter parents

Atam Academy held an open day on Monday evening at Redbridge Central Library, in Clements Road, Ilfo

Atam Academy held an open day on Monday evening at Redbridge Central Library, in Clements Road, Ilford. Photo credit: Atam Academy - Credit: Archant

More than 100 parents took the first chance to publicly hear plans for Atam Academy - east London’s first Sikh-designated free school - this week.

L-R: Raminder Singh Vig, education lead, Tasveer Singh, local project co-ordinator, Manjit Singh Kal

L-R: Raminder Singh Vig, education lead, Tasveer Singh, local project co-ordinator, Manjit Singh Kaley, project manager and Mankamal Singh, chair of governors. Photo credit: Atam Academy - Credit: Archant

Four governors gave parents an insight “into the unique ethos” of the school and how the curriculum will be delivered at Redbridge Central Library, in Clements Road, Ilford.

However the Atam Academy governors’ board is yet to announce a site for where school will be built. But Mankamal Singh, the chairman of governors, said he hopes to confirm one by January 2015.

He added: “We have identified a number of sites, some of them are Redbridge Council-owned and some are private.

“Things have progressed but I am not able to say to what extent because the Department for Education (DfE) are in commercial negotiations at this point.


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“Until it is all finalised we are not going to say.”

At Monday’s open day parents were given the school prospectus and had a chance to register their children for the academic year starting September 2015.

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The school is aiming to initially open reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 7.

Father of one Jas Singh, of Seven Kings, said: “The school is going to focus on core Sikh British values with a very high standard of education which follows the national curriculum.

“There is a shortage of schools in Redbridge. Atam Academy is going to be a faith school but it will be open for anyone.”

Jas hopes to send his daughter to the school next year. “It is ideal for me,” he added.

“The board has a very strong pedigree - Raminder Singh Vig, the school’s education lead, has been working within education for 20 or 30 years.

“He explained that the school is going to focus our children and monitor their progress. They look at education as a whole.”

Mankamal said the school was looking into booking larger venues for the series of open days at the library to cope with the demand from prospective parents.

He said: “The support and excitement from Redbridge parents is extremely uplifting.”

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