Feb 28 2013 By Ian Proctor
A DECISION to force Avanti House School - Harrow's first free school - to leave its current home because it not large enough for the anticipated growth has been branded "disappointing".
The Department for Education will not allow the flagship school, which opened in September 2012, to remain at the Teachers Centre in Tudor Road, Wealdstone. The centre current hosts the inaugural Year 7 intake while the school's Reception class shares with its sister institution, the Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Camrose Avenue, Edgware.
Harrow Council leader, Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar, said: “It is with deep regret that we have to announce that the Department for Education has decided to relocate the Avanti House Free School to another local authority from September 2013.
“The DfE’s free schools programme has decided the Teachers’ Centre site is not large enough to accommodate its future expansion plans for the school."
The over-subscribed school is run by Avanti Schools Trust, which in July last year launched a consultation with parents on its desire to remain permanently at the Teachers Centre.
It is a through school in that it will eventually provide an education for boys and girls from the age of four up to 18, accommodating 1,680 pupils when it reaches full capacity in September 2018.
The main teachings of the school are based on the Hindu saint Krishna Chaitanya, which emphasises ethics, philosophy, and Sanskrit as well as yoga and meditation, while the school only serves vegetarian meals.
Mr Idaikkadar said: “We are disappointed by this decision and for the families offered a place at the school or who currently attend the school.
"We have done everything in our power over the past 12 months to try and work with the DfE and find a way to accommodate the school at this site.We are bitterly disappointed that this wonderful opportunity has now been lost.
“This level of last minute planning by the DfE is unfair on the school and the council which have both worked so hard to bring this school to Harrow.
"We will now work to ensure that the transition of the school is as smooth as possible and that the disruption caused by this move is kept to an absolute minimum."
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