This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Delight at progress of city's first free school
Teachers, parents and children at Leicester's first free school say they are delighted with the progress in transforming its building.
Krishna Avanti primary, in Evington, opened in September in a grade II-listed building, formerly occupied by Leicester Grammar Junior School.
Youngsters have been working in temporary buildings put up on the site while thousands of pounds of refurbishment and extension work got under way.
The work is due to finish in August, in time for the autumn term, when pupils numbers at the school will increase from 30 to at least 75.
Head teacher Christopher Spall said: "We're thrilled with the way work's progressing.
"It's going to look amazing with a square piazza being created and cloisters around it – it's got a real spiritual feel to it."
Free schools are set up by charities, parents or teachers outside local authority control, but paid for by the state.
The building work at Krishna Avanti includes the creation of a classroom block for years one and two, refurbishment of the existing building inside and outside, with new windows, carpets and redecoration.
The square piazza is being built towards the back of the school and a garden area for the children to grow their own vegetables will sit to one side of it, alongside a new-look outdoor area with play equipment.
There are still 15 places left for parents who wish to send their children to the school.
Sabrina Braithwaite, from Narborough Road, in Leicester, is sending her son, Jahziah, five, from September.
She said: "I've looked around the school before but I wanted to bring my son so that he could get used to it.
"I'm very impressed with the school's calm ethos and its vegetarianism. I like the fact that children do yoga and I think he'll be happy here.Jahziah said: "I really like the school playing field."
Pargan Dhadda, from Queen's Road, has a son, Angath, five, at the school, and another son, Aaryan, four, who will start in the new academic year.
He said: "I was a little bit worried at first because it was a new school but I've been really pleased with how it's been run.
"The grounds are very impressive and far better than any other school we looked around and because it's a small school the children get lots of individual attention."
The primary, which will eventually have places for 420 children, is sponsored by education charity the I-Foundation.
It has a Hindu ethos but children of all faiths attend and follow the national curriculum.
School governor Pradip Gajjar said: "We're very happy with how the school and the work is progressing."