London: Thousands of people have signed a petition to prevent the closure of one of the UK's largest independent Hindu faith schools, the Swaminarayan School in London.

The Akshar Educational Trust, which runs the school set up in 1992, had announced its closure last month as part of plans to exit the education sector completely by July 2020.

Parents of students associated with the school have now organised a campaign to save the "school of excellence" from closure.

"In a letter to parents, a spokesperson for the school blamed 'increasing regulatory requirements, difficulties in recruitment and retention of teachers, ready availability of free state-funded Hindu schools, and declining pupil numbers' for the move. This is simply not true," notes the Change.org petition, which has attracted nearly 3,500 signatures since last week.

"Sensitivity analysis of accounts by experts suggests that with restructuring it is possible for school to run for the foreseeable future," it notes.

The parents, who have coordinated into a save-the-school campaign, say that many Indian-origin families have moved, relocated and changed their way of life to enable their children to get an education within the ethos and culture of Hinduism at the respected Swaminarayan School in Neasden, north-west London.

"Parents are more than happy to consider taking over the running of the school by appointing new teams who will give due consideration to the communities and families that are being disrupted by this announcement," the parents said in a statement.

The school has been very popular within the large Indian-origin community based in the borough of Brent, many of whom are happy to pay the GBP 4,310 per-term fees to enrol their children. But the trust running it said that mounting pressures in recent years had hampered its ability to invest in the resources required to sustain the improvements needed in the school, both educationally and for its infrastructure. (IANS)