Union leaders have called for the resignation of the country’s education chief following comments about teachers wearing the Muslim veil.
Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has given his “full support” to schools and colleges which “decide to take a stand against the inappropriate wearing of the veil”.
The chief inspector told inspectors they could downgrade schools, or rate them “inadequate”, if they thought wearing a veil was damaging teaching and stood in the way of “positive social interaction.”
He added: “I have also made clear to my inspectors that where leaders are condoning the wearing of the face veil by staff members or by pupils, when this is clearly hindering communication and effective teaching, they should give consideration to judging the school as inadequate.”
Sam Ud-din, teacher and county secretary of the National Union of Teachers, added: “Lancashire NUT deplores the ongoing divisive approaches being taken by this government to manage any perceived problems relating to ‘lack of positive social interactions’, and specifically the latest announcement from Sir Michael Wilshaw as head of Ofsted.
“There are practical problems involved in making judgements about the ‘educational impact of veil-wearing’. He added: “The message yet again being sent to schools and the wider communities in which they operate is that head teachers, staff, pupils and parents cannot be allowed to express their own views and must instead have these imposed on them by a central authority.”