Ban schools denying children education on the grounds of their hair styles

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Every day of each school year children are being removed from classes and losing out on hundreds of hours of education and required to sit in an isolated area writing lines or being excluded because of their school's uniform and hair policy.

Some schools even go as far as denying children access into their GCSE exams on the grounds of these hair policies.

School hair policies are set by the indiviual schools and are enforced as and when they decide to enforce them. Some children can find themselves victims of these hair policies one day despite wearing the same or similar hair style for many months or even years.

We are asking for legislation to ban this practise. Unless a child's hair style breaches sensible health and safety rules there is no justifiable reason why any child should be denied access to education.

Hairstyles like dreadlocks, cornrows, high tops, skin fades, are worn by many children and form part of their religious or cultural identity.

Cornrows, high tops, skin fades, hair longer than 9 inches for boys (some cases shorter), the peaky cut, the Mohawk, ponytail for boys, the Jojo bow, shaved heads for girls to name just a few, are all styles that can see a child denied hours of education to their detriment.

Under the Equality Act 2010 schools must not discriminate against, harass or
victimise pupils because of their sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual
orientation, because of a pregnancy or maternity or because of a gender
reassignment (these are called “protected characterist). Schools must
also have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and should make
sure that their behaviour policies do not unintentionally discriminate against
pupils by unfairly increasing their risk of exclusion. However across Britain school hair policies often unfairly discriminate against pupils by unfairly increasing children's risk of exclusion by targeting hair styles that would not prevent employment in the real world.

*Dr Maggie Atkinson believes pupils should never be sent out of classes for these minor offences.

*“Formal or informal exclusions on the basis of just a hairstyle, we are saying very clearly should not be happening anyway."

We ask that ministers legislate and forbid these practices by banning schools from being allowed to deny any child access to education on the grounds of a hair style.