Inspectors to question primary school girls who wear hijab

Source: The Guardian


Ofsted head says move is to tackle situations in which wearing head covering ‘could be interpreted as sexualisation’

Most Islamic teaching requires head covering only for older girls.
 Most Islamic teaching requires head covering only for older girls. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

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.

Read more

Categories: Europe, Hijab, The Muslim Times, UK

3 replies

    • In Iran I am told there is a ceremony for girls aged 9 to start putting the hijab. – Yes, even 9 is young, however, the girls need to feel what is their culture, otherwise when they are supposed to put it they ‘do not feel like it’. OK, but I let the ladies come up with the right ideas …

  1. More than 700 academics, teachers and activists have written an open letter to schools watchdog Ofsted demanding that it retract instructions to inspectors to question Muslim kids about why they wear hijab.

    The letter calls Ofsted’s decision “kneejerk, discriminatory and institutionally racist” and says it “will violate civil liberties and create a climate of fear and mistrust in schools.”

    Islam is a religion of modesty, in the way we talk, dress, interact, hold ourselves etc. We wear the headscarf only as part of retaining that modesty. It is a sign of our faith; that we submit to God, and to call this ‘sexualising of young girls’ is outrageous and disrespectful of our belief. To wear short skirts and crop tops is not seen as sexualising young girls but to cover yourself is? It seems like something bigger is at play.

    I believe young girls in primary schools even young as 4 years old, have a tendency to copy their mum, elder sisters or just see other friends wearing the hijab. Girls at this age normally like to copy people they like, the way they would if someone wear a jewellery or shoes, its like a trend. I believe it is a normal behaviour of a young child who like to wear hijab. They can take it off anytime, there is no restrictions and due to this freedom is why children keep putting hijab back on.

    Ofsted I understand is an organisation that inspects schools regarding teaching and learning and they also look at safeguarding too. With media giving wrong interpretation of Islam, i feel Ofsted is being sucked in the propaganda. I am aware they have to protect children welfare, however they are not putting this in context. Most parents including myself want their daughters to wear hijab but at certain age, as parents we struggle when it is the right time, without making child feel we are hindering their personality. Ofsted need to realise the difference when a child not taking part in school activities…it does not mean it because she is wearing a hijab! It could be numerous of reasons I.e. not liking the activity, timings, circumstances at home changes so a cannot accommodate etc.This is the most absurd thing I have heard. Has the chief inspector gone crazy. For goodness’ sake…! Leave the kids alone! This is not about teaching and learning in schools and therefore how is it the job of Ofsted to question children on choices made by parents? Had scarf have been worn since ages. Even before the 1800 before Ofsted ever came about. Hijabs are similar to what the Nuns wear in the religion of Christianity. Even today you still get Christian Nuns.

    Ofsted should now question Sikhs wearing turbans, Jews with their dangling hair. This is just ridiculous, people should have freedom of expression and not intimidated by questioning on what they wear. Why target one particular theme, clearly there is an agenda. Your creating barriers rather than bringing people together. This is as racist as the French Burkina ban.

    Further, I don’t think school, should feel they have to ban headscarf in primary schools. Each school should have the freedom to decide if or not to allow children wear hijabs. I believe it does not impact their learning nor its a safeguarding issue, if a child look happy wearing it and its not hindering her everyday life then there should be no reason for concern.

    I was flabbergasted when I first heard about a senior officer in Ofsted claiming ‘could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls’. To me it’s clear she made a big assumption, possibly receiving information from media and treating it as a reliable source to make that statement. As well as from some concerned staff, working in school, who may have said girls who wear headscarf have suddenly stopped doing certain activity. However, it is clear she did not go to a learned person from a mosque or MCB itself, to find out why hijab is important in Islam and in people’s lives.

    It’s Islamophobia. Why target this group of people. How is a hijab indicative of fundamentalism? And what had sexualisation got to do with fundamentalism. Also how dare Ofsted or anyone claim segregation of girls and boys in an Islamic school is unlawful while single sex schools still exist. (I think all schools should be mixed and that gender segregation should not be allowed, but given the tiny number of Islamic schools and the huge number of single sex schools , targeting an Islamic school over sexism can only be Islamophobia)

    This is all so crude and disappointing.

    I pray you find clarity in why hijab is important in Islam. And why young children enjoy wearing it. I pray you find a good person to guide you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.