Harrow Borough Council 'proud' of Whitchurch playing fields school decision

Council 'proud' of Whitchurch playing fields school decision

Council 'proud' of Whitchurch playing fields school decision

First published in News
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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

The leader of Harrow Borough Council says she is proud the authority has been able help find a new home for a Hindu free school.

Last night the council's cabinet approved a recommendation to allow the Avanti House free school to be built on Whitchuch Playing Fields in Stanmore.

Earlier this week it was announced the Education Funding Agency had given its approval for a free school to go ahead on the site.

Speaking at the meeting, council leader Cllr Susan Hall said: “I must say I am extremely proud we have been able to do this.

“We do believe it is the right school in the right place. There is a great demand for school places and residents will be delighted to have it there.”

The council has agreed to grant consent for the creation of a free school, and agreed terms of a 125-year lease for the site and terms of community use as part of the lease.

Plans for the school building are due to be submitted to Harrow Council later this year.

At the meeting members were shown a solicitors letter from the Whitchurch Consortium, which had been the preferred bidder for the site, stating there could be possible legal action with an injunction against the decision.

However members were told by the council’s legal officer Hugh Peart there was not a threat of an injunction.

In 2012 the then Labour administration, the council gave its backing to plans from the Whitchurch Consortium to build a new sports complex and leisure facility on the site.

The plans were met with strong opposition from people in the area and from Harrow East MP Bob Blackman.

Comments (8)

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3:07pm Fri 11 Apr 14

SeaBee says...

Another opportunity for religious indoctrination and cultural division.
Another opportunity for religious indoctrination and cultural division. SeaBee
  • Score: 3

1:43pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

Delighted that Harrow Council has finally made this a reality.It's a dream come true and welcome news for all those who have been waiting anxiously for places at this excellent school.

In a democracy such as ours it's only fair and proper that we allow CHOICE and freedom to citizens to decide which schools they wish to send their children to.

With the largest Hindu population in Europe living in Harrow it makes perfect sense to move with the times and provide school places in tune with the local needs of the people.This sends out the message loud and clear that Harrow Council is keen to recognise our changing demographics and is doing whatever is possible to demonstrate this.

It does not mean that they will ignore the needs of the indigenous population but are simply trying to be fair to all concerned and strike a balance.

In the main, Faith Schools do not seek to divide or religiously indoctrinate their pupils but teach their students to respect ALL other religions,albeit for the odd exception.In fact,moral/ethical values and UNITY are promoted.It is also a great way to help retain your own culture as well as imbibe the best of other cultures.

I can vouch for this,having grown up in a boarding school for girls,in India,run by Protestant nuns from England.Christians and non-Christians lived side by side and got on with each other in a spirit of love and true friendship.We received a well-rounded education and were encouraged to respect and learn from all Faiths.We had a cultural mix which is enviable---Armenians
,Swiss,Germans,Hindu
s,Muslims,Christians
,Arabs,Parsis,Sikhs,
Gujratis,Maharashtri
ans,Bengalis and many,many more non-Christians.I count my blessings for that golden opportunity which has set me up for life.

The Krishna Avanti School has an academic record second to none.We are really fortunate to have this situated in Stanmore,where many more Harrovians will have the chance to shine.I am sure you will see the results in due course.These day scholars will still go home and mix with their counter-parts and be part and parcel of the larger community.I see no difficulty with this.

Congratulations and best wishes to all concerned.A great victory for Harrow and a feather in Harrow Council's cap.
Delighted that Harrow Council has finally made this a reality.It's a dream come true and welcome news for all those who have been waiting anxiously for places at this excellent school. In a democracy such as ours it's only fair and proper that we allow CHOICE and freedom to citizens to decide which schools they wish to send their children to. With the largest Hindu population in Europe living in Harrow it makes perfect sense to move with the times and provide school places in tune with the local needs of the people.This sends out the message loud and clear that Harrow Council is keen to recognise our changing demographics and is doing whatever is possible to demonstrate this. It does not mean that they will ignore the needs of the indigenous population but are simply trying to be fair to all concerned and strike a balance. In the main, Faith Schools do not seek to divide or religiously indoctrinate their pupils but teach their students to respect ALL other religions,albeit for the odd exception.In fact,moral/ethical values and UNITY are promoted.It is also a great way to help retain your own culture as well as imbibe the best of other cultures. I can vouch for this,having grown up in a boarding school for girls,in India,run by Protestant nuns from England.Christians and non-Christians lived side by side and got on with each other in a spirit of love and true friendship.We received a well-rounded education and were encouraged to respect and learn from all Faiths.We had a cultural mix which is enviable---Armenians ,Swiss,Germans,Hindu s,Muslims,Christians ,Arabs,Parsis,Sikhs, Gujratis,Maharashtri ans,Bengalis and many,many more non-Christians.I count my blessings for that golden opportunity which has set me up for life. The Krishna Avanti School has an academic record second to none.We are really fortunate to have this situated in Stanmore,where many more Harrovians will have the chance to shine.I am sure you will see the results in due course.These day scholars will still go home and mix with their counter-parts and be part and parcel of the larger community.I see no difficulty with this. Congratulations and best wishes to all concerned.A great victory for Harrow and a feather in Harrow Council's cap. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -8

5:57pm Sun 13 Apr 14

SeaBee says...

Sorry Ms. Malkani, I think that you misunderstand the nature of democracy. It is not about individual choice but is about the election of others to make decisions on behalf of those who elect them, in other words the voluntary surrender of individual choice.

It is good to know that Harrow has the highest proportion of Hindus in Europe but this is not an argument for Harrow or anywhere else to have a Hindu school. Why does Harrow have a need for a Hindu, or any other religion based school unless it is to divide the population on religious grounds.

I'm glad that you received a good education in a school which had among its pupils a wide range of religions and ethnic backgrounds, but is/will this be true of the Avanti school. What proportion of non-Hindus currently attend the school?

You state that the Krishna Avanti School is 'second to none'. On what do you base this assertion? The primary school only has an OFSTED rating of 'good'. and the secondary school has only recently opened its doors.

Finally you assert that "These day scholars will still go home and mix with their counter-parts and be part and parcel of the larger community." I would suggest that a visit to local shopping centres would show that this is far from the truth. I am no expert on the identification of individual religious minorities but a Venn diagram of the various groups walking together would have few overlaps on the basis of colour . I cannot blame
the school for this but I cannot see how separate education can help to form a more cohesive society.
Sorry Ms. Malkani, I think that you misunderstand the nature of democracy. It is not about individual choice but is about the election of others to make decisions on behalf of those who elect them, in other words the voluntary surrender of individual choice. It is good to know that Harrow has the highest proportion of Hindus in Europe but this is not an argument for Harrow or anywhere else to have a Hindu school. Why does Harrow have a need for a Hindu, or any other religion based school unless it is to divide the population on religious grounds. I'm glad that you received a good education in a school which had among its pupils a wide range of religions and ethnic backgrounds, but is/will this be true of the Avanti school. What proportion of non-Hindus currently attend the school? You state that the Krishna Avanti School is 'second to none'. On what do you base this assertion? The primary school only has an OFSTED rating of 'good'. and the secondary school has only recently opened its doors. Finally you assert that "These day scholars will still go home and mix with their counter-parts and be part and parcel of the larger community." I would suggest that a visit to local shopping centres would show that this is far from the truth. I am no expert on the identification of individual religious minorities but a Venn diagram of the various groups walking together would have few overlaps on the basis of colour . I cannot blame the school for this but I cannot see how separate education can help to form a more cohesive society. SeaBee
  • Score: 6

11:58pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

Perhaps some of us have a different vision of democracy and of the manner in which people can mix with people from all walks of life and all sections of our community and still co-exist peacefully and give off our best.Let's just agree to differ.
Perhaps some of us have a different vision of democracy and of the manner in which people can mix with people from all walks of life and all sections of our community and still co-exist peacefully and give off our best.Let's just agree to differ. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -3

7:54am Mon 14 Apr 14

Leelondon says...

How can this be allowed to happen in 2014! I feel the whole idea of religious based schools divisive. We should be finding ways to live in a more compassionate and tolerant society, Harrow in general is very segregated already, there are certain areas predominantly Jewish, others that are Hindu and others Muslim, other Somalian, Sri Lankan, isn't it obvious that building infrastructure such a schools that faith based are on,y going to amplify the illusory differences between us all. No I do t think this is a good decision at all, and ironically I feel it goes against Hinduism!
How can this be allowed to happen in 2014! I feel the whole idea of religious based schools divisive. We should be finding ways to live in a more compassionate and tolerant society, Harrow in general is very segregated already, there are certain areas predominantly Jewish, others that are Hindu and others Muslim, other Somalian, Sri Lankan, isn't it obvious that building infrastructure such a schools that faith based are on,y going to amplify the illusory differences between us all. No I do t think this is a good decision at all, and ironically I feel it goes against Hinduism! Leelondon
  • Score: 5

2:36pm Mon 14 Apr 14

charrow says...

so the Tories are proud that a large number of Harrow's population has lost a large community green space...this is disgusting
so the Tories are proud that a large number of Harrow's population has lost a large community green space...this is disgusting charrow
  • Score: 4

11:22pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

I have no doubt that NONE of our political parties/nor members of public like losing a community green space.This is equally true of the Tories.

However,one sometimes has to take a balanced view and make a decision which may upset a section of the population, for the larger good.Let's not make out that giving space to have a Hindu school is adding to any divisiveness or robbing local residents of green space---this happens many times all over the country ,for a variety of reasons,with the general good in mind and will continue to happen whenever the need arises.One regrets the loss of green space.Nothing ventured,nothing gained.
I have no doubt that NONE of our political parties/nor members of public like losing a community green space.This is equally true of the Tories. However,one sometimes has to take a balanced view and make a decision which may upset a section of the population, for the larger good.Let's not make out that giving space to have a Hindu school is adding to any divisiveness or robbing local residents of green space---this happens many times all over the country ,for a variety of reasons,with the general good in mind and will continue to happen whenever the need arises.One regrets the loss of green space.Nothing ventured,nothing gained. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -4

11:50am Thu 1 May 14

neomilan says...

Sonoo Malkani wrote:
Perhaps some of us have a different vision of democracy and of the manner in which people can mix with people from all walks of life and all sections of our community and still co-exist peacefully and give off our best.Let's just agree to differ.
as a local to this playing field, a harrow resident and an indian person
i would have ESPECIALLY liked to have a say on this
but obviously just like you, the council does not know the definition of a democratic society
i would have voted against such a school. its not needed, religion is a personal thing, not one which can be enforced upon children at any age by their parents
religion should be kept away from education, we should be encouraging a good solid education for everyone under 18 and religion has no place in achieving that
[quote][p][bold]Sonoo Malkani[/bold] wrote: Perhaps some of us have a different vision of democracy and of the manner in which people can mix with people from all walks of life and all sections of our community and still co-exist peacefully and give off our best.Let's just agree to differ.[/p][/quote]as a local to this playing field, a harrow resident and an indian person i would have ESPECIALLY liked to have a say on this but obviously just like you, the council does not know the definition of a democratic society i would have voted against such a school. its not needed, religion is a personal thing, not one which can be enforced upon children at any age by their parents religion should be kept away from education, we should be encouraging a good solid education for everyone under 18 and religion has no place in achieving that neomilan
  • Score: 1

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