School inspectors in England have been told to question Muslim primary school girls if they are wearing a hijab or similar headscarf, the head of Ofsted has announced. Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted and chief inspector of schools, said the move was to tackle situations in which wearing a hijab “could be interpreted as sexualisation” of girls as young as four or five, when most Islamic teaching requires headdress for girls only at the onset of puberty. The announcement – in the form of a recommendation to Ofsted inspectors rather than an update to the inspectorate’s official handbook – follows a meeting last week between Spielman and campaigners against the hijab in schools, including Amina Lone, co-director of the Social Action and Research Foundation. “While respecting parents’ choice to bring up their children according to their cultural norms, creating an environment where primary school children are expected to wear the hijab could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls,” Spielman said. “In seeking to address these concerns, and in line with our current practice in terms of assessing whether the school promotes equality for their children, inspectors will talk to girls who wear such garments to ascertain why they… Read full this story
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