Ilford primary reveals £10m move

By Robyn Rosen, May 12, 2011

Ilford Jewish Primary School has announced that its 370 pupils will move to the the nearby King Solomon High site in Barkingside as part of a £10 million project with its current premises being used for a Hindu school.

In August, Redbridge Council invited proposals for a new school on the IJPS site.

Three applications were received and a number of public meetings were convened to discuss them.

IJPS is currently running at 50 per cent capacity and has reduced from a three-form entry to one-and-a-half forms.

"Because of the demand in Redbridge for primary school places, the local authority needs to create more vacancies," acting governors' chair Clare Mehlman said.

It’s a great chance to reinvigorate the whole community

"By selling the existing site, we create more places in the borough and it allows us to develop a state-of-the-art facility on the campus of King Solomon."

Last week, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator chose a bid by Hindu education charity the I-Foundation, which will open the Krishna Avanti School Redbridge in September 2012 with four forms of entry.

It will be the third Hindu school in the country and will reserve 25 per cent of places for local Hindu children.

IJPS governors say a planning application for a new building on the King Solomon site will be considered by the council next month. The application proposes the demolition of three existing buildings.

The intention is to construct a primary school and nursery for 395 pupils, a new building for King Solomon's relocated music, art and drama departments, an enlarged car park and to refurbish the remaining part of the Fairlop wing for a sixth form facility.

It will be financed largely through the sale of the existing site and the Jewish Leadership Council's fundraising efforts.

"Everyone is very excited about the prospect of developing the school," Ms Mehlman said.

"The site we are currently on is more than 40 years old and not fit for purpose. It's a great opportunity to reinvigorate not just the school but the whole community."

Ben Rich, the new chief executive of the Reform Judaism, is a governor of the Krishna Avanti Primary School in Edgware, also set up by the I-Foundation.

"I think it is very exciting to see the Hindu community learn from the best Jewish schools to create a new school which is inclusive, outward looking and giving people pride in their religion and heritage," he said. "It's a model the Jewish community has established."

Last updated: 3:13pm, May 12 2011