Puja is the taking of permission of Mother
Earth before the commencement of works to
build the school. It included the chanting
of 10,000 year old Sanskrit prayers, ancient
costumes and devotional singing to the accompaniment
of Indian drums and cymbals. It culminated
in a holy Hindu ritual called Yajna, where
robed priests, assisted by children, poured
sanctified offerings of clarified butter
into a large sacred fire.
religious and community leaders with the
project donors were lead to the excavation
and construction site where those present
took part in the ceremony, lead by His Holiness
Atmanivedana Swami from Gujarat and Christine
Gilbert the Chief Inspector of OFSTED (previously
known as Chief Inspector of Schools).
Krishna-Avanti Primary School is the result
of years of careful planning and discussion
with the local authority and government.
It will be UK's first Hindu faith-based
Voluntary Aided state school (and as such
will not charge fees). The School will be
established as a one-form of entry, mixed
primary school with attached nursery and
will open in September 2008 with a Reception
will have dedicated yoga and Sanskrit lessons
and will grow vegetables, in line with the
vegetarian principles of the school. A Hindu
temple will take pride of place in the courtyard
of the new school. When in full capacity,
it will have about 240 pupils.
Gor, Chairman of Governors and member of
the I-Foundation, said there has been no
Hindu state school until now because the
community has not been ready. "it has
taken the Hindu community the last few decades
to establish its root in this country...only
now are we coming up to that level of expertise
to say 'we can deliver this,'" he said.
more Hindu state schools, one in Leicester
and one in Barnet, north London, could open
in the next few years. Pupils of Indian
origin, who are mostly Hindu, have a strong
record of academic success in British schools.
They pass 59% of their GCSEs with grades
A to C, compared with only 44 % amongst
school is being hailed as one of the most
environmentally friendly ever built. It
will have solar panels to generate electricity
and grass on the roof to keep heat in the
building, keeping in line with respect for
mother earth being a central theme in the
Gilbert, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of
Ofsted was chief guest of the Bhumi Puja.
"I look forward to the Krishna Avanti
School to be a centre of excellence and
to be a very positive contribution to the
Harrow community," she said.
is proud to have the first and only state-aided
Hindu school in the country," said
Leader of Harrow Council, Cllr David Ashton.
"It is also highly appropriate for
Harrow to have this honour because of our
ethnic diversity, in particular, a large
Hindu population. This is about giving people
choice. We look forward to the school being
a focus of both academic achievement and
community inclusion. This is history in
is a school where we will hold to high esteem
that every child and adult matters, said
the Krishna Avanti School's New Head Teacher
Mrs Naina Parmar, "we will foster positive
and lasting relationships within the school,
with parents, the local community, the school's
faith partner and local schools in Harrow.
"We recognise and take our duty seriously,
in ensuring that we promote community cohesion,
inclusion and value intercultural and religious
diversity. We will ensure our pupils are
equipped with life- long skills and attitudes
essential to enable them to make not just
positive but outstanding contributions to
all aspects of contemporary British society."
has been involved in various leadership
and executive roles during her time as a
teacher and Senior Leader within Primary
Education. She is an Oxford Farmington Fellow
and Advanced Skills Teacher for Religious
Education,. She is also a consultant for
the QCA (Qualifications Curriculum Authority)
for Religious Education and the Primary
curriculum. The school's faith partner is
Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple.
Krishna Avanti School: William Ellis Playing
Fields on Camrose Avenue, Edgware, Middx
HA8 6ES. www.krishna-avanti.org.uk