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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 March 2007, 11:42 GMT
Schools to get uniform guidance
girl wearing niqab
A judge ruled last month that a school could ban the niqab
The government is to reassure schools that they have the right to set their own uniform policies - after a court case involving the wearing of a veil.

Education Secretary Alan Johnson will give the guidance after a 12-year-old girl lost a legal battle to wear the full-face niqab in class last month.

The school involved does allow its 100 Muslim pupils to wear headscarves.

Head teachers would remain totally responsible for deciding on uniform, the education department said.

"We have always said that head teachers are totally responsible for setting their own uniform policies," a spokeswoman for Mr Johnson added.

"That is the bedrock of the policy."

National debate

The judge in the Buckinghamshire case said that his ruling was not a sweeping statement on whether or not veils should be permitted in schools.

At the High Court hearing, the head teacher who banned the niqab said the veil "went against the school's ethos".

She added that she feared other Muslim girls would come under pressure to wear the veil, which covers all the face except for the eyes, if it became part of school uniform.

The issue of veils became a national debate last year when Leader of the Commons Jack Straw said he asked female constituents to remove their veils for interviews.




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