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Government decides 'in principle' to transfer Khalsa Secondary Academy to new educational trust

A new educational trust has edged a step closer to taking over the struggling Khalsa Secondary Academy (KSA) in Stoke Poges.

The Sikh Academies Trust, formed by governors and trustees at Slough’s Khalsa Primary School, has been vying to take control of KSA since the Government announced its intention to terminate the school’s funding agreement in June.

The Regional Schools Commissioner has now announced its decision ‘in principle’ to transfer control of the school from the Khalsa Academies Trust to the Sikh Academies Trust.

Narinder Singh, from the Sikh Academies Trust, said: “This is excellent news for children and parents of KSA who will be delighted that a local Sikh faith Trust with a proven record of success has been selected as the preferred option.

“The SAT will be working with Department for Education (DfE), parents and the community to complete all necessary steps to ensure a seamless transition.”

The running of the Sikh-ethos school has been under question since it received an inadequate rating from Ofsted inspectors following a no-notice visit in December.

The Education Skills and Funding Agency told the Khalsa Academies Trust to launch an independent review of its finances and improve the skills and experience of its trustees.

But in June, Baroness Berridge, the Government minister with responsibility for academies, said the trust had failed to demonstrate it had the knowledge or experience to improve the school.

The trust’s chief executive, Nick Singh Kandola, said he was disappointed the Department for Education had ignored a petition signed by more than 6000 people calling for the DfE to rescind its decision.

He said the trust is continuing to pursue a legal challenge which claims the Government’s termination notice did not take into account the improvements the school has made in recent months.

Cllr Madhuri Bedi (Lab, Foxborough), who works at the school, told the Express: “What the trust can’t understand is why this decision was taken at a time of lockdown during a national pandemic and why the school has been treated differently?

“Why is this school not being given more time to come back?”

Once the Regional Schools Commissioner approves the transfer ‘in principle’ of a school from one trust to another, the aim is normally for the process to be completed in six months.

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