Redbridge’s first Sikh free school is ‘feather in the cap of community’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 September 2016

Headteacher Bryony Freeman.

Headteacher Bryony Freeman.


The head of primary at the borough’s first “all-through” Sikh school has described it as a “feather in the cap of the Sikh community”.

The Atam Academy, which officially opened on Monday, saw pupils from across the borough and further afield flock to join the reception and Year 1 classes.

The school, which will eventually house pupils aged four to 18, is the third Sikh free school in the capital and the first of its kind in east London.

Bryony Freeman, head of primary at the school, which is situated in Little Heath, Chadwell Heath, on the former Redbridge College playing fields, said pupils had got off to an excellent start.

“It’s been brilliant. The children have been raring to go since they started and we are very lucky to have such nice classrooms.

“It’s all brand new equipment, and the site has been refurbished, we are very excited.”

Ms Freeman praised the borough’s Sikh community for bringing the project to life.

“I think it’s a real feather in the cap of the local Sikh community,” she told the Recorder.

“Their hard work and support has created the school we see today.”

The school, which currently has 72 pupils, has two reception classes and one Year 1 class, with a waiting list for further Year 1 pupils. It is hoped work on the secondary school will begin in February next year.

Mankamal Singh, co-founder and chair of governors, said the board was overwhelmed by the support from parents.

“It’s fantastic for Redbridge and we’re pleased that so many parents have wanted to send their children here.

“They have already settled in really well.

“I met one family who are sending their son from Canning Town, which seems amazing to me.

“The majority of children are from the borough, and it’s fantastic to see that local support.

“It seems incredible that something that started off with three of us just chatting about an idea has finally happened.”

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