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Camden School for Girls bans Muslim pupil from wearing niqab veil for ‘security’

PUBLISHED: 15:38 23 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:41 23 September 2014

Camden School for Girls

Camden School for Girls

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A Muslim sixth-form pupil has been banned from wearing a face veil at one of Camden’s top state schools for “educational and security” reasons.

It is claimed an unnamed 16-year-old pupil at Camden School for Girls, in Camden Town, has been told she cannot attend her A-level lessons if she wears the niqab, which covers all the face and hair except the eyes.

Nearly 700 people have signed a petition campaigning to “stop the Islamophobia” at the school famed for its liberal outlook.

The school’s governing body said it cannot comment on individual pupils and defended banning the niqab, arguing that it makes teaching “difficult”.

The girl’s sister told the BBC the school’s stance is “very upsetting”.

The 18-year-old, who did not give her name, said: “My sister just wants to wear the niqab for her own reasons and attend a school.

“I don’t feel like her education should be compromised or the way she dresses should affect the way anyone looks at her.”

The Sandall Road school does not have a uniform but its appearance policy states that “inappropriate dress that offends public decency or which does not allow teacher student interactions will be challenged”.

The school is consistently classed among the top state schools in London and is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

In a statement, the governing body said: “The governors’ decision was very much an educational one.

“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.”

The online Change.org petition, started by an anonymous campaigner, claims that the Muslim student was allowed to sit her GCSE exams wearing the niqab this summer and that pupils have been allowed to wear the veil in the past.

Supporter Cabrini Cotter-Boston commented online: “Camden Girls has always been seen as an innovative school, well known for its forward thinking and feminist values.

“This decision has set them back decades. It’s disgusting that Camden teaches us as young women to empower ourselves, and to push the boundaries set by society, yet they themselves are taking away a young girl’s education because of her choice in clothing.”

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