Veil is lifted on dress code confusion

23rd March 2007 at 00:00
Schools are allowed to ban the Islamic veil, but only for health and safety, security, or teaching and learning reasons, government guidance on uniforms advises.

The guidelines, published this week, also make it clear that pupils can be sent home to change their clothes, but they warn schools against adopting overly expensive uniforms.

The Department for Education and Skills document has been updated in the light of a case last month in which a 12-year-old girl lost a legal battle to wear the full-face niqab in class in her Buckinghamshire school.

However, newspaper reports suggesting that veils are now banned in schools are incorrect, with decisions still the responsibility of individual governing bodies.

The guidance states that schools should consult widely with parents, governors and the local community on uniform policy relating to religious dress and should try to tolerate a wide range of religious and cultural items of clothing.

But they could decide that pupils should not cover their faces because "the teacher may not be able to judge their engagement" or because of the need to "maintain good order and identify intruders easily".

Tahir Alam, education spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said:

"It doesn't alter the position very much because the matter still remains with the governing bodies and communities to resolve."

The guidance, out for consultation, also warns schools against discriminating indirectly - for example by banning "cornrow" hairstyles, which are "more likely to be adopted by specific racial groups".

Schools should also stop pupils wearing styles of clothing associated with gangs.

* www.dfes.gov.ukconsultationscon Details.cfm?consultationId=1468

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now