LONDON: More free schools with Sikh ethos are scheduled to open in the United Kingdom under the education plans of David Cameron government, that enable religious minorities to launch institutes catering to their faith and cultural beliefs.
Free schools are part of the government's new policies which allow parents, charity organisations and faith groups, among others, to set them up.
They are funded directly by the government, do not have to follow the national curriculum, but must provide a broad and balanced education.
Multi-faith schools with Sikh, Hindu and other religious ethos are already in existence as the government implements the policy despite criticism that it is likely to "fuel social segregation and undermine local democracy," as the National Union of Teachers put it.
The latest Sikh free school catering to primary children in Birmingham was opened in the city in September 2011. It is called the Nishkam Primary School, launched by the Nishkam School Trust.
The school is linked to a gurdwara in Soho Road. The secondary section of the Nishkam School is scheduled to open later this year, according to the department of education.
There are demands that similar Sikh free schools be opened in Leicester, Leeds and Smethwick.
Britain's first state-funded Hindu school opened in the London borough of Harrow in 2008. The first Hindu free school opened in Leicester last year, called the Krishna Avanti Primary School.
Both schools are operated by the I Foundation. In Leicester, which has a large Sikh population, community leaders have applied to the government for permission to set up a free school and are in talks with local authorities over where it could be located.
Indy Panesar, president of Ramgarhia Sikh Temple in Leicester, said: "Many parents have approached us for setting up schools and after consultations with them and seeing that there's a demand, we have put together a business case for the government to look at."
He said Leicester Mercury, a leading local daily: "There is a sizeable Sikh community in Leicester and parents would like the option of sending their child to a school which has a background in the faith. So, after considering it for some time, we have decided to go ahead with this application."
He said the school "will be vegetarian" and if approved, it could be launched in September 2013. PTI