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Christian and Muslim Children forced to attend Hindu faith school

HHR July 5, 2014 World Focus Comments Off on Christian and Muslim Children forced to attend Hindu faith school
Christian and Muslim Children forced to attend Hindu faith school
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  • 11 parents said no to their children attending Avanti Court Primary School
  • East London school has a ban on meat, which has proved unpopular
  • ‘I want my child to have a hot, meaty dinner,’ one mother said
A group of Christian and Muslim parents are in revolt after they were told their children would have to attend a Hindu school that bans meat and offers regular meditation and yoga.A shortage of places in South Woodford, east London, has led to more than 20 children being placed in Avanti Court Primary School.But 11 sets of parents have declined the places, leaving their children, aged four and five, with nowhere to go this September. 
Row: Christian and Muslim parents are angry their children have been offered places at Avanti Court Primary School, a Hundu school that insists on vegetarian meals, yoga and meditation

Christian and Muslim parents are angry their children have been offered places at Avanti Court Primary School, a Hundu school that insists on vegetarian meals, yoga and meditation Liz Beck, of South Woodford, was ‘not comfortable’ with the school’s ‘strict no meat policy’ and practice of yoga and meditation, so she turned down her child’s place.

She added: ‘Culturally it’s quite different and even though we don’t want to shelter our son we feel it would be difficult for him to be in that environment where it’s quite different from what we believe.’

Muslim mother Naz Qureshi, also from South Woodford, said she was outraged that her four-year-old daughter had been refused a place at all six of her chosen schools. She said: ‘I didn’t want her to go to a Hindu school so I am surprised the council would think I would accept a faith school which I didn’t even apply for.’

Another parent, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Tolerance of other faiths and ways of life should be taught in schools. I’m just taking exception with the fact they want to restrict my child’s diet.

‘I’d demand to put what I want in packed lunches, but in winter who wants a sandwich? I want my child to have a hot, meaty dinner.’

Delicious: This weekly menu from the school show what its typical lunches consist of, but parents are unhappy about the restrictions on diet because it is vegetatarian

Delicious: This weekly menu from the school shows what its typical lunches consist of, but parents are unhappy about the restrictions on diet because it is completely vegetarian

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: ‘On the few occasions where it is not possible to offer one of the preferred schools, Local Authorities are required to offer an alternative place, which is usually based on the geographical proximity to the child’s address.

‘This will include any faith schools that have not been filled at allocation.’

Children aged four to 11 at the school are taught the standard curriculum, as well as many specialist Hindu faith-based classes, including Sanskrit and yoga.The school website states: ‘Character formation will be achieved through provision of classes in yoga and meditation, and a vegetarian diet that is healthy and freshly cooked.’

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