Khalsa School in Slough, UK Looks Ahead to Positive Future

2014-10-12- khalsa schoolSLOUGH, UK—New schools often face tough challenges when they start out, but none more so than Khalsa Secondary Academy.

Since it moved in to Stoke Poges in 2013 on a temporary one-year lease from the Department for Education, the school has caused controversy among villagers who have passionately fought for it to be moved elsewhere.

Following a lengthy legal battle, which involved key Government figures weighing in on the argument, the school was finally given permission to stay at Pioneer House in Hollybush Hill last month.

“That was a bit of a worry what was going to happen at the end of the year,” said headteacher Rose Codling.

“It was not just a worry to us, but to the parents. There is always a plan B but for us we really wanted to stay here. For us this is the perfect site so we are very pleased.”

Despite Khalsa’s success in securing the former office building it is clear all is still not well, with protesters’ banners still visible just yards from the academy’s entrance.

“We cannot undo what’s happened,” Mrs Codling said.

“I am committed to working with the local community, whether it is today or tomorrow, next month, whenever. I am very happy to meet and start the dialogue.

“What has touched me most is the letters and the cards I have had from local people that have said we are really pleased that the school is here or that the school is going to stay and that I think has touched me because if you believe everything you read in the paper you would believe nobody wanted us here.” 

Khalsa is predominantly a faith school based on traditional Sikh values, which include encouraging students to take a life-long journey of self-discovery and aspiring students to share their future skills with those in need.

But Khalsa also caters for youngsters of other faiths and non-faiths, providing facilities for all.

Mrs Codling added: “If you’re of another faith or those that have no faith at all they would prescribe to these exact values.”

Currently about 20 per cent of the school’s pupils are from a non-Sikh background, and the aim is to make that number up to 50 per cent over the next five years.

Earlier this year some parents threatened human rights action after their children who have ‘no faith’ were given places at Khalsa after they submitted applications for school places too late.

“I would say that anybody who has any questions or does not understand what we are doing here, come and see us because some local people have visited us and they have said actually it is a perfect place for a school, it is a really nice atmosphere here,” Mrs Codling added.

The school currently has 14 full time staff and 180 pupils, 75 per cent of whom live less than five miles away.

It has ambitious plans to grow each year to achieve its potential of providing school places for more than 800 students.

Looking ahead to the future, Mrs Codling said: “Every sky is going to have some clouds, I do not know if I would say it is clear skies. A very wise person said to me we have to learn to dance in the rain. It is about being able to work with the future and work with what you have, whether it is blue skies, rain or cloudy days.”


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