MORE than 200 pupils will be the first to take lessons at Harrow’s flagship free school after a split-site solution was agreed.
Avanti House School was founded by the same I-Foundation charity behind Britain’s first state-funded Hindu primary school at Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Camrose Avenue, Edgware.
It will be based at Harrow Teachers’ Centre in Tudor Road from September as a publicly-funded school independent of council control.
Up to six classes of year seven (ages 11 to 12) pupils – a total of 180 children – will be taught there for a year, while two reception classes (ages five to six) with 60 youngsters will be based at Krishna-Avanti Primary School.
Nitesh Gor, chief executive of Avanti Schools Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to build on our track record in primary level education in Harrow to now offer a first rate secondary education for all members of the community.
“The school will operate in temporary accommodation for the first academic year and over the next few months we will focus on a consultation process with the local community to explore options for the permanent site.”
Harrow Teachers’ Centre houses five standard classrooms, two large classrooms, an information technology suite, a restaurant, a gymnasium, a 300-capacity hall and an annexe, and will undergo some minor refurbishment in July.
Avanti House School will be an all-through school providing education for four- to 18-year-olds based on a curriculum rooted in the teachings of Hindu saint Chaitanya – although it will not be a selective faith school – with a dual specialism in mathematics and performing arts.
Founding headteacher Gareth Jones, 60, (pictured) former head of secondary school improvement at Essex County Council, said: “There are no compromises in the curriculum with the temporary arrangement and, with one exception, we have appointed a full teaching staff of 16.
“After half-term, we will be advertising for non-teaching staff so in total there will be about 30 staff.
“The reception classes are between four and five times oversubscribed and the school has received 170 applications for the year seven places.”
Open days for secondary school parents will be held at the teachers centre on Thursday, June 3, and Saturday, June 9, and for primary school parents at Krishna-Avanti Primary School on Friday, June 8, while drop-in sessions for the wider public will be arranged.
Councillor Brian Gate (Labour), portfolio holder for schools at Harrow Council, said: “In the interest of Harrow families, we have come up with a temporary solution that allows the school to open this school term.
“This also gives the opportunity and space for a robust engagement and consultation process for a more long-term solution.
“I am very aware residents will have concerns, especially related to increased traffic and loss of open spaces.
“My fellow councillors and I will be seeking assurances that those concerns are fully addressed by the Avanti Schools Trust during the consultation process.”
For further information, contact Johanna Morgan, education professional lead, by writing to Harrow Teachers’ Centre, Tudor Road, Wealdstone, HA3 5PQ, or by emailing SchoolReorganisation@harrow.gov.uk or calling 020 8901 2620.