Islam is the second largest religion in the UK, despite this one of the leading government-owned school in Britain St Stephen’s School in Newham wants to ban hijab and fasting during Ramadan in the school. Government is asked to take action against the students wearing hijab or fasting.
It was the first school that banned hijab for girls below the age of 8 in the year 2016. Now it wants to ban it for girls below the age of 11 by September 2018.
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Moreover, the school wants to impose the ban on Ramadan fasting as well. In summers a fast lasts almost 18 hours a day on school premises.
Arif Qawi, chairman of governors at St Stephen’s School said, “The department should step up and take it out of our hands and tell every school this is how it (fasting) should be. The same for the hijab, it should not be our decision. It is unfair to teachers and very unfair to governors. We are unpaid. Why should we get the backlash.”
Qawi said, “We did not ban fasting altogether but we encouraged them to fast in holidays, at weekends and not on the school campus. Here we are responsible for their health and safety if they pass out on campus. It is not fair to us.”
As per Qawi, some families criticized their decision but many of the parents approved it.
As per UK’s Department for Education guidelines, uniform policy is issued by individual head-teachers and their governing bodies.
Department of Education statement said, “It is a matter for individual schools to decide how to accommodate children observing Ramadan, and to set uniform policies. We issue clear guidance on the uniform and to help schools understand their legal duties under the Equality Act.”
In November 2017, St Stephen’s School was right at the top of the ‘The Sunday Times’ annual prestigious primary schools league table. In the ‘Schools Guide 2018’ the school was called the best school in England.
Ms. Lall said at that time, “Everything we do here comes from our vision that every St Stephen’s child blossoms into a confident, respectful, modern British citizen prepared to be an aspirational contributor in the global community.”