Christian teacher to head UK`s Hindu school

Britain`s second state-funded Hindu school scheduled to launch in the east Midlands city of Leicester from September will have a Christian head teacher, Christopher Spall, promoters of the school have announced.

Updated: Apr 19, 2011, 17:06 PM IST

London: Britain`s second state-funded
Hindu school scheduled to launch in the east Midlands city of
Leicester from September will have a Christian head teacher,
Christopher Spall, promoters of the school have announced.

Spall, who will shortly take over as the head teacher
of the Krishna Avanti Primary School, is currently head of an
international primary school in Kuwait.

Described as "a practicing Christian" by I-Foundation,
the school`s sponsors, Spall, 58, has earlier taught in
state-funded and private schools across Britain, as well as
abroad.

Pradeep Gajjar, project director of the school, said
Spall was the "outstanding candidate in a field of outstanding
candidates." His appointment, Gajjar added, was evidence of
the I-Foundation’s commitment to welcome everyone.

The I-Foundation also runs Britain`s first state-
funded Hindu school in Harrow, where the head teacher is Naina
Parmar.

The Leicester school is the second school in Britain
with a Hindu ethos, and is described as a `free school`.

Leicester has a large minority of Indian origin.
Free schools must admit 50 per cent of pupils "without
reference to faith".

By contrast, existing voluntary-aided faith schools,
which get state funding, can give priority to children of
their own religion but cannot refuse others if they are
under-subscribed.

Gajjar said, "There`s huge demand for a state Hindu
school locally. Now we have an excellent, outward-looking head
teacher, we look forward to complementing rather than
competing with, the family of Leicester schools, to form a
successful partnership which benefits everyone in the city."

The Leicester school will offer 60 places in its first
year to pupils aged from four to 11.

The number will grow to 420 by 2018.

Before taking over the post, Spall said, "Establishing
a school from scratch is a big challenge but I have the
benefit of being able to draw on the experience of the
I-Foundation, which has already set up what is proving to be
one of the most successful schools in Britain".

He added, "As a Christian, I`m looking forward
immensely to the prospect of working with a diversity of
cultures and acting as the bridge between them. I think all
the main religions have far more similarities than
differences, sharing in common a commitment to tolerance,
morality, hard work and high expectations, which underpins the
success of many faith schools."

Life at the Leicester school will include meditation,
vegetarian meals and yoga.

It will draw heavily for its ethos, curriculum,
teaching and leadership on the success of its sister, the
Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Harrow, which opened in 2008.

The Harrow school was described by inspectors as
offering many "outstanding features", including "first rate
behaviour" and "above average attainment".

PTI