by Radha Mohan Das
The Krishna Avanti School opened its doors to the press for the first time on Friday 29th January. The School is the first Voluntary Aided Hindu faith school in Britain and is also the most eco-friendly. The School, in the London borough of Harrow also marks the country’s first vegetarian state school.
It is an I-Foundation project working since inception with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) as the official Faith Partner.
A white carved marble Temple is at the centre of the school building. Every morning the children chant Sanskrit prayers in front of the deities of Krishna-Balaram, afterwards there are lessons that include meditation and yoga. They study the national curriculum, but also tend the garden and learn concepts such as the equality of all living things. Multiculturalism forms an important part of the School’s philosophy, and they already have strong ties with near-by schools.
The heart of the School’s ethos is harmony with the environment, which includes the building, landscape, curriculum and even school meals. The School has a state-of-the-art building design with the highest aspirations for sustainability and conservation. It seeks to be an inspirational example of an educational environment for the future.
It has unique eco-systems including wildlife zones, vegetable, fruit and flower gardens and sedum roofs. The building structure has been built timber structure with timber cladding, rainwater harvesting and ground source heat pumps (which provide 70% of the school’s heating).
” Krishna-Avanti School offers to our child the rare opportunity to grow and develop at all levels: socially, emotionally, academically and specially spiritually .”
Mrs Elena Beltran-Clarke (mother of Bodhini, aged 6)
“Not only does the school provide an excellent education, but also a spiritual foundation. We like the teachers unique approach having a temple within the school itself is wonderful.”
Mrs Negin Algani (mother of Lakshmi Narasimha, aged 5)
“It is our first choice for our daughter to attend this school so she can be in association of other Hindu Vaisnavas and be learning our faith as well as keeping up with the national curriculum. Giving this foundation start from a young age, such as attending aarti, taking darshan, learning prayers, honouring prasadam, learning slokas and Krishna stories, is so important, this is the sort of nurturing I will be giving to my child at home”.
Mrs. Bhavisha Mehta (mother of Heeya Mehta, aged 3)
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The Krishna Avanti School officially opened in September 2008 in temporary accommodation and moved into its new premises in September 2009.
The DCSF provided £11.1 million towards the £13.5 million total project cost. Plans are now being pipelined for a secondary school in either Barnet or Harrow, and a further school in Leicester.
The project has achieved a UK BREEAM Schools ‘excellent’ rating with a score of 75.91%. This is currently the highest rating score of any school in the UK.
It is a one form entry, mixed primary school.