A row has broken out after the first state funded Hindu school in Britain revealed its admissions policy will give preferential treatment to certain pupils.
The Hindu Council UK (HCUK) has criticised the Krishna Avanti School, which will be built in Camrose Avenue, after it announced it will accept applications from strict Hindus ahead of other groups.
HCUK claimed yesterday the admissions policy, which gives priority to applications from families which are vegetarian and do not drink alcohol, is based on the ISKCON, or Hare Krishna religion.
Jay Lakhani, HCUK’s director for education, said: “The Krishna Avanti school was offered state-funding and is being allowed to open as a ‘Hindu’ rather than an ‘ISKCON’ school.
“That is what it should be, a truly Hindu school that serves and reflects the wider Harrow Hindu community with its kaleidoscopic Hindu diversity.”
But I-Foundation, the charity behind the school, has dismissed the criticisms and is putting together a list of signatures from religious leaders defending the school.
Nitesh Gor, director of the I-Foundation, said: “In common with other faith schools, which may require letters from priests or proof of church or synagogue attendance, we want to give priority to those that are most active in their faith.
“The definition we have arrived at includes regular home and temple worship, as well as vegetarianism and avoiding alcohol.
“We recognise some Hindus may eat meat in very specific prescribed circumstances and the criteria are not intended to exclude them.
“Broadly these criteria reflect practices which are common to all mainstream Hindu movements in the UK.”
The school will have only one class of 30 pupils in each year. The schools admissions policy document suggests it will be heavily over-subscribed.
Children from families who carry out regular temple related voluntary work and attend temple regularly will also be considered first.
The school will prioritise Hindu children in the care of local authorities, or in council run accommodation, above all other groups.
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