More free schools with Sikh ethos are scheduled to open in the UK under education plans of the David Cameron government that enable religious minorities to launch institutes catering to their faith and cultural beliefs.
Free schools are part of the government's new policies which allow parents, charity organisations and faith groups,
among others, to set them. They are funded directly by the government, do not have to follow the national curriculum, but must provide a broad and balanced education.
Multi-faith schools with Sikh, Hindu and other religious ethos are already in existence as the government implements the policy despite criticism that it is likely to "fuel social segregation and undermine local democracy," as the National Union of teachers put it.
The latest Sikh free school catering to primary children in Birmingham was opened in the city in September 2011. It is
called the Nishkam Primary School, launched by the Nishkam School Trust. The school is linked to a gurdwara in Soho Road.
The secondary section of the Nishkam school is scheduled to open later this year, according to the Department of Education. There are demands that similar Sikh free schools be
opened in Leicester, Leeds and Smethwick.
Britain's first state-funded Hindu school opened in the London borough of Harrow in 2008. The first Hindu free school opened in Leicester last year in Leicester and called the Krishna Avanti Primary School. Both schools are operated by the I Foundation.
In Leicester, which has a large Sikh population, community leaders have applied to the government for permission to create a free school and are in talks with the local authority over where it could be located.
Indy Panesar, president of Ramgarhia Sikh Temple in Leicester, said: "A lot of parents have approached us about setting up a school and after consulting with them and seeing that there's a demand, we have put together a business case for the Government to look at."
He told the Leicester Mercury, a leading local daily that there is a huge Sikh community in Leicester and parents would like the option of sending their child to a school which has a background in the faith, so after considering it for some time we have decided to go ahead with this application.
He said the school "will be vegetarian" and if approved, it could be launched in September 2013. Although the school's ethos will be from the Sikh faith, it will teach the national curriculum with 50 per cent of pupils coming from all backgrounds and religions.
In Leeds, community leaders hope to utilise a disused building near a local gurdwara for the school. Sukhraj Singh, a spokesperson for the project, said that the plan was "to set up a school teaching more subjects based around science. We want to give something back to the community and offer a new opportunity for our younger children, to set them in the right direction for a professional career."
In the 2001 census, 336,179 people identified Sikhism as their religion. Free schools are defined as "all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community."
Their day-to-day running is by an "education provider", which can be a group or company brought in by the group setting up the school. The provider cannot make a profit from running the school.