London, Oct 3: In a new research conducted in London about 46 per cent of the primary and secondary school British teachers have suggested that allowing pupils to wear religious symbols goes against British values. The Telegraph quoted the British teachers as saying that Muslim headscarves should be banned in schools.
They also feared it would undermine the drive to promote religious and racial harmony in schools. The findings, in a poll carried out by YouGov, will fuel the controversial debate about the wearing of religious symbols in schools. Currently, individual schools are free to make their own decisions, but a string of recent court ruling said some policies amounted to 'unlawful discrimination'.
In July, a Sikh schoolgirl, won a discrimination case against her school after she was banned from wearing a religious bangle.
John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of College and Student Leaders, defended the right of schools to decide for themselves. He said he was 'very concerned' that the courts may "prevent schools in future from setting appropriate uniform standards."
"Where you have an identifiable religious community it is good practice for the school to discuss uniform with that local community, as they do with parents," he added.
Christine Blowers, acting general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said when pupils breached a uniform code it often harmed cohesion.
The poll, commissioned by Teachers TV, found that more than 70 per cent of teachers agreed that the promotion of British values was part of a teacher's role.
Andrew Bethell, chief executive of Teachers TV, said that the results marked a 'shift away from multiculturalism' in the 'post 7/7 Britain'.
He added: "There seems to be an increasing feeling among teachers that simply embracing difference is no longer enough. Pupils need a sense of common identity and 'Britishness' is a big part of this."