Stop trying to interfere with my right as a parent to dress my daughter in a hijab


Survey found 18 per cent of 800 primary schools in England list the hijab as part of their uniform policy (file image) iStock

Source: Letters to Independent

Letter by Dr Siema Iqbal GP

In between the crazy weekend cooking and endless school homework tasks, I have managed to carve a few minutes to write to you because as a parent I am concerned.

I woke this morning to an article in which it was stated that Ofsted inspectors will talk to primary school girls who wear hijabs over concerns that it could be interpreted as “sexualisation of young girls” following a meeting with Muslim women and secular campaigners. How is it possible that an unknown group of women and campaigners are influencing decisions about the wellbeing of my children and questioning my rights as a parent, and allowing inspectors to question my children without my consent?

Although the hijab has been brought under the spotlight again, there is a bigger issue here that needs to be addressed: at which point, if any, does the state have a right to interfere with the way in which I bring up my children?

Read further

2 replies

  1. What gives OFSTED the right, or indeed any brits, to preach to minority groups about how they should live their lives. This is a cosmopolitan country, the Muslim community have the right to educate their children how they choose. What has being British got to do with your religious belief? In Britain there are Hindus Sikhs pagans Jewish Buddhists atheist Zoroastrians Rasta’s and many more should they all change there religious beliefs because they are British? Studying the Qur’an will certainly help towards these children becoming fully integrated citizens of the UK.

    Ofsted should be an advisory body – full of experts who are able to support and guide schools into a better service for our young people. Instead, figures are massaged, teachers bullied, children get a raw deal and all because there are ‘standards’ to be reached or else the brown stuff hits the fan. The standards seem to me to be all wrong; my children’s first school had a motto ‘learning with love and loving to learn’. From what I have seen in primary schools throughout my 20 years (I have just thrown in the towel) is a continual drive to get children to higher standards quicker than ever which tends to overlook the fact that they are children and need time to explore and assimilate their learning. Child-centered learning should be top of the agenda with Ofsted helping to achieve the goals. We get what we pay for and currently we have a system which berates rather than supports.

    Actually the inspectors are a massive part of the problem. Many of them are dinosaurs who have not taught for many years and have no idea what teaching in 21st century is like. They fly in with a load of preconceptions and very often a bias and then make judgement in a few days that teachers have to live with for years. Don’t forget OFSTED rated the schools in the Trojan horse scandal as grade 1 and then jumped that to grade 4 when the scandal broke. Isn’t that pretty much admitting they can’t grade? I don’t believe many of these dinosaurs would know good teaching if it slapped them in the face. We don’t even know if any of them were good teachers themselves! They are a political tool (as the baby P scandal and Trojan Horse have shown) have not led to any improvement in teaching (as our drop in every international comparison table has shown) and should be abolished.

    Ofsted is big scam & only there to reduce standards of education. Government’s want our future generations to be less educated. Why? Cos currently people are smarter and are causing problems for this country in becoming police state. If 8 out of 10 schools are getting good or outstanding why is that not a headline? That would be positive & when the next Pisa comes out & shows no improvement the government would be made to look stupid because the 8 out of 10 schools are good or outstanding is bullshit just like much of what Ofsted say. Ofsted are a political tool used to show progress to the electorate & win votes. Their comments, inspections & judgement are utterly, utterly worthless. Wilshaw was just on radio 4 and he seemed to reject the proposal that parents have any responsibility for their children’s attitude to learning and behaviour, preferring to point out that Head teachers ‘have tremendous powers to set the culture’. This wilful blindness is what has hindered the progress of too many students in mainstream state schools for too long.

    One of the most remarkable things about this whole through-the-looking-glass “debate” is that the media still treat OFSTED as anything other than a bad joke. OFSTED are corrupt, incompetent, self-serving and redundant parasites. There are plenty of cases which demonstrate that an OFSTED “judgement” has slightly less value than wet toilet paper, and Michael Wilshaw is an oafish buffoon so lacking in intelligence that he finds it absolutely impossible to imagine that there might be any other way of teaching than the one he used himself thirty years ago. Yet when he opens his bowels and shits out his latest attack on teachers, the media treat it as if it’s the bloody word of God. Incredible. Whether Ofsted’s reports are accurate is a perfect example of luck.

    OFSTED are no help to schools, they are purely a hindrance in their present form. They come in, scare the living daylights out of teachers and management with a poor rating looming if things aren’t spot on in terms of paperwork and lesson structure, then move on leaving behind a load of bureaucratic nonsense for management to implement which in turn leaves teachers with lots of hoops to jump through and unnecessary extra work to do on top of all they are already doing. I have known for OFSTED inspectors to make criticisms that contradict themselves between one lesson observation to another. In one case an inspector made a criticism that something had been missed out from a lesson, when the teacher had actually done it and the inspector simply wasn’t paying enough attention.

    OFSTED is not fit for purpose and is full of so many conflicting interests it cannot operate as it should as an independent and objective inspectorate it should. You have the side that has hastened the transformation of schools to academies by giving target schools unfavourable reports once they’ve been earmarked in Special Measures. You have the traditionalist side of Wilshaw who is trying to get the organisation to play by his standards. You have the side that is protecting pet projects of the government. You have the side that has championed certain teaching styles as a way to get an Outstanding judgement. With so many conflicting ideologies and so many conflicting desired results it’s not surprise that the organisation is a mess and completely unfit for purpose.

Leave a Reply