A POPULAR school in North London has stirred controversy in the Muslim community by banning a pupil from wearing a niqab-style veil.
Camden School for Girls, which counts former prime minister Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah and the actress Emma Thompson among its alumni, said its “appearance policy” prohibited garments that made teaching difficult.
Neraly a thousand people had signed a petition in support of the unnamed student as Londra Gazete went to press, headed “Stop the Islamophobia”. The petition claims the girl has studied at the school for five years, sitting for GCSEs wearing the niqab, a form of dress in which only the eyes are visible.
One signatory, Farhana Khanom, wrote: “I went to Camden school for girls and many girls wore veils and were allowed to do so. This school had a reputation. And now discriminating [against] people that made their own choice to wear what they feel is utterly disgusting.”
In a statement, the school’s governing body refused to “discuss individual pupils” but cited “an appearance policy” which states: “Inappropriate dress which offends public decency or which does not allow teacher student interactions will be challenged.”
The governors added that the policy was adopted “several years ago” and “written at a time when a girl wished to wear a niqab, and teachers found that this made teaching difficult.”
The school defended its decision as “very much an educational one” and added: “teachers need to see a student’s whole face in order to read the visual cues it provides. In addition, it is important for the safety and security of the school community to know who is on site, and to be able to see and identify individuals.”