A further six “free schools” could be set up in Birmingham, according the city’s head of children’s services.
Coun Les Lawrence, cabinet member for children, young people and families, revealed six groups had expressed an interest in setting up free schools in the city, which allow groups of parents and teachers to form schools away from local authority control.
One Sikh temple in Birmingham received approval to set up two schools from Education Secretary Michael Gove earlier this month.
But Coun Jon Hunt, speaking as chairman of a Birmingham City Council children and education scrutiny panel, branded the plans “problematic” for the authority.
“We cannot have schools behind closed doors in this city,” he said. “The way it is being done also causes problems.”
Coun Lawrence said three groups had submitted expressions of interest to the Department for Education, while three others had “sought to discuss” the possibility of setting up a free school with the authority.
Coun Mohammed Aiklaq, Labour councillor for Bordesley Green, said: “By allowing different sectors of the community to set up free schools, would it not cause segregation among the community?”
Two schools are set to be formed by an education trust created by worshippers at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Nishkam Sevak Jatha, in Soho Road, Handsworth.
Nishkam Secondary School will open on the former Lucas factory site in Great King Street, Hockley, if the scheme goes ahead.
It will serve up to 1,000 children and those from the Sikh community will be given preference for half the places, while the other half will be open to all youngsters. The trust also hopes to create a new primary school in Soho Road, Handsworth.
Although free schools receive government funding, residents have already raised more than £2 million to buy the site.
Now the Trust will develop a full business case. If approved, the schools could open by next September.
Co-ordinator Ranjit Singh, speaking after the trust was given early approval, said: “We want good exam results, but also to emphasise the value of morals and ethics.
“We have a basic belief that you don’t convert people to your faith. These will be multi-faith schools.”