Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, urges inspectors to penalise educational institutions where they believe the Face-veil ‘hinders learning or social interaction.’
Chief Inspector Wilshaw wrote to all inspectors on the issue of the face veil and its hindrance to ‘positive social interactions,’ after the announcement from the Prime Minister that Muslims women can be banned from wearing veils in schools, courts and other business institutions.
The government is in the process of revealing a series of measures designed to prevent Muslims becoming radicalised and joining terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
As part of the new scheme to stop the radicalisation of Muslim youth, ministers pledge to outlaw gender segregation during meetings in public buildings due to concerns that Muslims organisations are isolating women.
The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, also unravels plans to force schools to help stop young Muslims travelling abroad to join radical groups.
Schools will now be required to inform councils when pupils’ attendance drops without any explanation and Muslim parents will be encouraged to carry out continual checks to ensure their children are not being influenced by outside organisations.
The new rules surrounding the face-veil will affect over 16,000 children and just under 1,000 teachers who currently wear the veil to school.
Ofsted are now facing backlash from prominent Muslim institutions who disagree with the proposed plans , including Dr Sheik Howjat Ramzy, director of Iqra Institute in Oxford who states: “Ofsted is picking on faith schools, specially Muslim schools. There is nothing wrong with wearing the head veil.”
Adding: “Not many pupils wear the veil. The veil doesn’t make pupils intelligent or not. It gives them their identity and some security. Pupils have the right to wear the veil if they go to Islamic schools. That is no problem.”
The National Secular Society, stated it does not campaign for a general ban on face veils, but welcomed Sir Michael’s intervention saying it would like to see to the Government be more robust in determining national guidelines.
National Secular Society campaigns manager, Stephen Evans, Stephen Evans said: “Full face veils are obviously inappropriate in a classroom and inhibit communication between staff and pupils.”
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain explains how “accommodations” can be made around the face veil. He added:
“We are a country that prides itself in accommodation and fair play. It is a shame that the niqab – the full face veil that a minority of Muslim women wear – has become a polarising issue when it need not be. Accommodation can also be made around the niqab as well and Ofsted need not have resorted to the megaphone of the media to show that it is flexing its muscles.”