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Leicester’s Sikh free school, Falcons Primary, could open after half term

October 3, 2014 | By

Leicester, UK: The trustees behind Leicester’s first free Sikh school say they hope to open it shortly after half term. Falcons Primary, in Gipsy Lane, was due to open on September 3, but had its funding from the Department for Education (DfE) pulled at the last minute because of a “breakdown in relationships”.

The move prompted angry calls from parents due to send their children there for the cash to be reinstated.

Following this, the department agreed to allow the school to open, providing the trustees, who make up the Akaal Education Trust, can meet a number of strict conditions.

Now trustee Harminder Singh Jagdev has said he is “confident” that progress is being made.

Falcons Primary School

Falcons Primary School

He said: “We have appointed new governors, one of whom is an Ofsted inspector. They have the best interests of Leicester at heart and know the diverse nature of the city through their vast amount of experience. I feel the governing body is even stronger than before.

“We are also in the process of recruiting some new staff to replace the small number who resigned.

“Our aim is to open after October half term, but of course this is subject to approval by the DfE. I’m happy that we are moving in the right direction.”

Mr Jagdev added that the school was far more likely to open with only one form of entry, rather than two as previously planned.

He said: “We had 70 children due to start and there’s no doubt now that some of them have settled into new schools because of the situation we found ourselves in. It’s therefore far more likely that we will open with one form of entry.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “We continue to support the idea of a Sikh ethos school in Leicester and have been working closely with the trust of Falcons Primary to see if we can open the school soon. “The trust must meet a number of strict conditions before this can happen – for example on staffing, governance and pupil numbers – but good progress has already been made.

“We will continue to work with them and would like to pay tribute to members of the local community who have put in a lot of time and effort over recent weeks to secure the future of the school.”

Akaal Education Trust was granted permission by the Department for Education (DfE) last year to open the school, on condition it signed a partnership agreement with Affinity Teaching School Alliance, based in Kibworth and led by Paul Stone.

However, just days before the school was set to open, Affinity Teaching School, withdrew its support.

Mr Stone has since said that the alliance acted with “integrity” and felt it could not support the school any longer but was happy to have a transition period to another body.

He added that there was still a desire to see Falcons Primary open.

Source: Leicester Mercury

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