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The Swaminarayan School in Neasden considers becoming a free school and moving to Harrow
A successful Hindu school in Neasden is considering a move to Harrow where it could serve the borough's large and rapidly growing Hindu population.
The Swaminarayan School, which is currently in Brentfield Road, is consulting parents and staff as part of plans to apply for free school status.
It is understood that the reason for this move is that the school wishes to be closer to Harrow’s large Hindu population.
Principal Mahendra Savjani said that if the school does decide to become a free school then it is likely that it will look for a site in either North Brent or Harrow.
The principal told the Wembley Matters blog: “While we have not found a location, we would wish to move to a site in the heart of the Hindu community.”
Figures from the 2011 Census show that Harrow has the highest - and fastest growing - proportion of Hindu residents in England and Wales with 25.3 per cent of people belonging to the faith, compared to 19.6 per cent in 2001.
But the proposals are believed to be unpopular amongst many of the school’s existing parents and staff, who fear class sizes would increase if it became a free school.
The school, which was founded in 1991, is an independent co-educational school catering for students from the age of two to 18.
It was inspected in 2008 by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, which said it offered "a well-rounded educational experience of high quality", with most provision either good or outstanding.
If the Swaminarayan School became a free school there would be no cost for pupils to attend as it would be funded by the taxpayer through the Department for Education.
But free schools differ from other state-funded schools as they are not controlled by local authorities and have more influence over their curriculum and budget.
Harrow Borough Council told the Harrow Times it has not received an application from The Swaminarayan School to become a free school and that applications for schools opening in September this year have now closed.
In a statement to the Times, Mr Savjani said the decision would not affect the school during this educational year or in the year starting in September 2013.
He said: “The governors have decided that they will not be applying for free school status in the current round.
“Having received a variety of views both formally and informally towards the end of last term, from parents and staff of the school on this very important issue, they have decided they would like to carry out a more detailed consultation during 2013.”