A PRIVATE Islamic faith school hopes to be able to almost double in size by becoming state funded.
The Paradise Primary, in Dewsbury, is planning to submit a bid next month to become part of Government’s flagship free schools movement.
Free schools are being set up from scratch by teachers, parents, charities, businesses and faith groups who can prove they have demand from parents in their area.
Private schools are also converting to become state-funded.
If Paradise Primary’s bid is accepted by the Department for Education it would become a free school in 2014. It currently has around 240 pupils but aims to increase this to 400.
School governor Najam Sheikh said: “The school would be a two-form entry and would retain our Islamic faith school ethos so there is a lot of focus on the pupil’s character. We would continue to follow the national curriculum but we would also teach from an Islamic perspective.
“For example we would teach pupils about festivals such as Diwali or Christmas but would explain that these were festivals from other faiths and not something that Muslims take part in.”
Mr Sheikh said becoming state-funded would allow the school to build on the success it has enjoyed. The school says it outperforms the national average despite “being run on a shoestring”.
Mr Sheikh added: “We have a small budget. We only charge £1,000-a-year and our staff are not qualified and yet we have been able to achieve a lot of success. Becoming a free school would be a way of safeguarding our school’s position for future generations.”
The governors hope to find a new long-term home