Former railway site earmarked to be home of Muslim primary school
THE city's first Muslim free school is hoping to move into buildings formerly occupied by trades associated with Derby's rail industry.
The Al-Madinah Trust has submitted a planning application this week to Derby City Council for the primary section of its school to be created in part of the RTC Business Park on London Road.
The school, which opened last September in temporary accommodation in Norman House, Heritage Gate, Derby, would occupy the refurbished and remodelled Faraday building on the site.
The Hartley building, adjoining the Faraday building, would be demolished and an extension constructed in its place.
The London Road site, which will also have zoned parking and a drop-off point for parents and pupils, was originally occupied by train, carriage and wagon workshops and a drawing office.
Consultation on the application will last until Monday, March 4.
A separate planning application for the secondary section of the school, to be sited about a mile away in Midland House, Nelson Street, was submitted last September and has still to be decided by the city council.
It has received several objections, mainly because the school would share accommodation with existing businesses in the building and safeguarding restrictions for pupils would impact on access for immobile workers, it is claimed.
Opponents also highlight potential parking problems in the conservation area where it is sited.
Originally, the Al-Madinah School, which has been criticised by teaching unions for taking children out of local schools and dividing the community on religious grounds, was to have a permanent base in a former office block – St Andrew's House – on London Road.
Some Muslims have also criticised the school because they believe that it does not go far enough to teach the faith in depth.
When the school, under head teacher Andrew Cutts-McKay, opened last September, officials said it would start with 120 reception and year-one children, together with 180 pupils in years seven and eight.
Eventually, it is intended that the free school, which is being funded by the Government, will have up to 1,100 pupils.
It is unclear when the completed primary and secondary schools will be in use but the trust had originally hoped that it would happen by September this year.
Nobody from the school was available for comment.