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Guru Nanak makes Free School bid
ONE of the borough's top primary schools wants to build a free school, in what would be a first for Hillingdon.
Guru Nanak Primary School, in Springfield Road, Hayes, has applied to the Department for Education (DfE) for a separate, four form entry primary school. The aim is to open by September 2013.
The free school would be built on a neighbouring four-acre plot, between the existing buildings and Goals Soccer Centre in Springfield Road, on land owned by the Nanaksar Trust, a worldwide charity that has set up schools in several countries.
The free school's admission policy would be less strict than that of the primary school, which reserves 50 of its 60 reception places for Sikh children.
Half of the admissions would be based on distance from the school, and the rest would be for children of the Sikh faith.
In September the existing faith school will be absorbed by the Guru Nanak Academy.
The primary school has been invited for an interview with DfE next Thursday, with the promise of a decision in July.
Headteacher Rajinder Singh Sandhu wrote to parents in January, asking them to support the proposal.
He told the Gazette: "We want to establish a school where local children of all beliefs can thrive and realise their potential. That is our main objective.
"We have already had talks with Hillingdon and Ealing local authorities and community groups, and the feedback has been very positive.
"There is a real need in this area. We got 268 applications for 60 spots, which shows you how oversubscribed we are."
Free schools are state-funded and 'all ability', and can be set up by teachers, charities or parents if they can show their community needs it.
There are five in London. Applications for a further 23 in the capital have been approved, and more are due to be announced by DfE next month.
Hillingdon Council, in response to unprecedented demand for primary school places, is in the middle of a £100million expansion programme. Plans to build a new school on Green Belt land at Lake Farm, off Botwell Lane, Hayes, have outraged many people living in the area.
Guru Nanak's primary and secondary schools received ratings of outstanding across the board in their last Ofsted inspections.
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