19/01/2018 London News


19/01/2018

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LineFromTo

Now on BBC One, it's time

for the news where you are.

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Welcome to BBC London News

with me, Victoria Hollins.

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A headteacher has backed down

from a ban on hijabs in her east

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London primary school.

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St Stephen's in Upton Park recently

introduced restrictions on girls

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wearing the headscarf.

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The school said the move was to help

Muslim children integrate

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into British society.

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But now that decision

has been reversed.

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Here's

our Education Reporter,

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Marc Ashdown.

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The hijab is an important part

of the Muslim faith,

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worn by some women as a symbol

of privacy and modesty.

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But is it appropriate for young

children to wear to school?

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The Government leaves it up

to individual schools

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to set their own uniform policy

and last week, this primary in east

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London banned children under the age

of eight from wearing the hijab,

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which has split opinion

amongst parents.

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If you see this school has exceeded

in their curriculums and everything

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and there was no ban at that time,

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the hijab wasn't

banned at that time.

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So that means the hijab

is not a problem.

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Why is it a problem?

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It's all about the parents.

It should be allowed.

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It shouldn't be banned.

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Depends on the wish.

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If they want to wear

hijab, that's OK.

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If they don't, it's OK.

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We don't force them.

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You don't force them at this age.

Eight years is not the age.

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The chair of governors

also banned children

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from fasting during Ramadan.

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He took to Facebook

to explain his reasons.

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But the community here

seems to disagree.

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A campaign sprang up

to overturn the ban.

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There's a petition which currently

has 20,000 signatures.

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There's been a further

twist in this saga.

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It's the end of the school day.

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Parents are just arriving

to pick up their children,

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and the chair of governors has just

tendered his resignation.

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He sent us the e-mail as well.

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In it, he says "I wish them

continued success and I'm sorry

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if my actions have caused any harm

to the reputation of

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this fantastic school".

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The school told us the uniform

policy is based on the health,

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safety and welfare of the children.

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They say they will continue

to review the policy,

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working with parents.

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Nobody is forced to wear the hijab.

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Parents have the choice.

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Those parents who wish

their children to wear the hijab,

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in the school, many children

of Muslim faith do not

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wear the hijab.

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So our main concern here

was that we don't want to lose

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the right of choice for my children.

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We don't want them to

lose their identity.

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But some warn that there is a danger

that there are those who view

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it very differently.

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We believe that it is an imposition

made by fundamentalists

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and religious ultraconservatives

who want to control

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young women and girls.

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Their rationale is

a very dangerous one.

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Ofsted is currently consulting

widely on the issue of religious

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garments in schools and will then

publish guidance,

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which feels long overdue.

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With more on this story,

Ayshea Buksh joins me now.

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So, a sensitive topic and not just

at this east London school?

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That's right. The school in Upton

Park is rated outstanding by Ofsted.

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It is oversubscribed and the

proposal was for girls under eight

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to not have to fast or where the

hijab while at school because they

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were regarded as too young. You has

one of the highest Muslim

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populations in Britain, -- new home.

So it's not surprising that this was

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not popular to everyone. The

headteacher told a Sunday paper that

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she recognised that Muslim culture

was important, but wanted to promote

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as Mark said, British values and

make it easier for children to

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integrate and achieve. Ofsted are

also working on their guidance over

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the hijab. Last year, they suggested

that their inspectors should be able

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to question girls on why they are

wearing it at primary school. This

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was condemned because it was

regarded that this would single out

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Muslim girls and they should wear

whatever they want in order to be

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successful.

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If you're disabled, use a pushchair

or have any mobility problems,

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negotiating stairs or escalators

at tube stations can

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pose huge problems.

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Today transport bosses announced

a multi million pound plan

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to address that issue.

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It's all part of the drive

to improve accessibility

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on the Underground network.

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Here's our transport

correspondent Tom Edwards.

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For most travellers,

stairs are just part

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of the daily commute.

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For others like Valerie, steps

are a big barrier to using the tube.

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Too many stairs.

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Often, you've got two

or three flights.

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Like Oxford Circus,

you've got at least two

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flights of stairs to go up.

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And lots of people.

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If you got bags or luggage,

it's very difficult.

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Today it was announced

that a further 13 tube

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stations will go step-free,

among them Northolt in north-west

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London, where they'll get a lift.

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In total, it will cost £200 million.

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Here at Northolt, it will be

a lift solution to improve

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the accessibility from the street

down to the platform.

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Other stations will be

assessed depending

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on the environment of the station.

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Sometimes it's a ramp solution,

which is obviously a simpler install

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and a more efficient way to provide

the same accessibility.

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At the moment, 72 out of 270 tube

stations are step-free, 28%.

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By 2022, the mayor wants 102,

or 40% of stations,

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including Crossrail,

to be step-free.

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But campaigners want more.

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A lot of older people think

of the tube as something

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that's not for them.

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Stairs are a big part

of the reason for that.

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They're not the only

reason, but they're a big

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part of the reason.

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Ambitious plans to make

the tube more accessible

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have faltered before.

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Campaigners are hoping that this

time, there will be more progress

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to make the tube more

accessible for everyone.

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That's it for now from me, but let's

find out what the weather's up

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to with Chris Fawkes.

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Our weekend weather can be summed up

quite nicely in the satellite

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picture. Clear skies at the moment,

but looking over my shoulder, love

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pressure that will bring rain on

Saturday. And we have low pressure

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off the eastern Canada which will

bring heavy rain our way for the

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second half of the weekend. Not the

most inspiring weekend. The clear

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skies at the moment are allowing

temperatures to fall close to

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freezing, but it's also breezy. If

you get a frost, temperatures will

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not get far below and rain will be

arriving towards the end of the

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night. On Saturday, thickening cloud

spreads in, bringing outbreaks of

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rain. There could be some snow mixed

in with this and sleet over the tops

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of the Chilterns. Otherwise, it is a

cold rain that will be falling for

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most of us. Temperatures will be

struggling. For the second half of

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the weekend, another area of low

pressure will move in, bringing

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heavy outbreaks of rain and an

intern smiled the next week.

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