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The DfES has cleared in principle plans for two state primary schools in Berkshire to convert to Islam and Sikhism,...
The DfES has cleared in principle plans for two state primary schools in Berkshire to convert to Islam and Sikhism, reported The Sunday Times (p8). It would be the first time state schools have been handed over to minority faiths.

The two religious groups behind the scheme are being funded by the DfES to promote their plans to parents and school governors in Slough. If they win support from the community, 40% of which is Asian, a further£8m could be released to cover conversion costs.

The plans could fuel controversy over government support for single faith schools, which is opposed by many Labour MPs. Reports prepared for the government after last summer's riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham criticised the racial segregation of pupils. In the past, private Muslim schools and one Sikh school have secured state funding but as yet no state school has 'converted'.

Raminder Vig, head teacher of Lea Junior School, wants his school to convert to Sikhism. Up to 20% of pupils from other faiths would be given places, but the school would follow Sikh values.

Plans for the Muslim school have been drafted by Zafar Ali, director of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Slough and chairman of the town's race equality council. He is consulting a number of local state schools with a view to one of them converting to Islam.
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