Derby’s first free Sikh school set to open in spite of land problems

The location of Derby City Council - who are reluctant to allocate land to the Sikh free school.

Derby’s first free Sikh school still intends to open in September despite council opposition.

Akaal Primary school opens its doors in September on the grounds of the city’s national Sikh museum. Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, wrote to Derby City Council requesting permanent land for the school. A request now under review as they explore their legal position.

The council insists that extra primary school places are not required.

Dr Daljit Singh Virk, one of the school’s insisted that a ‘political game’ is at hand due to the local and national political divide.

In spite of its Sikh ethos, the school offers 50 per cent of places to non-Sikhs. It also offers optional ‘Sikh studies’ outside of school hours alongside an ‘inclusive vegetarian food policy’.

The curriculum promises a ‘Sikh ethos and a strong focus on literacy development. Our curriculum will be broad, balanced and thematic’. It will be the first East Midlands school to follow the International Baccalaureate Primary Years programme.

By 2020, the school hopes to offer places to 420 students in the region.

In a statement, the National Secular Society took a critical stance in line with broader criticisms of faith schools.