'No meat' Hindu school place offer 'outrages' parents

Avanti Court Primary School
Image caption The mixed school provides education for four to 11-year-olds

Christian and Muslim parents in east London have been left "outraged" after their children were allocated places at a Hindu school with a no meat policy.

Twenty-one children were overlooked for their six preferred primary schools and were instead given places at Avanti Court Primary School in Barkingside.

The 11 children whose parents refused Avanti have no place for September.

Redbridge Council said none of the children would be of statutory school age before January.

Avanti Court Primary School has declined to comment.

'Meditation and yoga'

Naz Qureshi, the Muslim mother of a four-year-old from South Woodford, said: "I was gob smacked and outraged when they told me I didn't get any of my six chosen choices of schools."

Image caption Liz Beck said she was concerned her son would struggle to fit in

"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."

Liz Beck, also from South Woodford, said her four-year-old son would struggle to fit in.

She said: "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".

"The school says there's a strict no meat policy and that they practice meditation and yoga, which we are not comfortable with."

"I feel really angry and just let down, you would expect your child to get into a school they can at least walk too."

But one parent whose children do go to the school said it offered a positive environment for all children and another said "anyone who gets a place at the Avanti Court is extremely lucky".

Under current law, children in England must be in education from the term after their fifth birthday, but the law also allows for pupils to start school earlier.

The Department for Education said: "All parents have the right to appeal against the refusal of a place at any school."

You can hear the full story on BBC Asian Network on 3 July at 17.00 BST or listen back on BBC iPlayer.

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