Muslim girls should not be forced to wear headscarves in schools just because they are facing pressures from their families, the head of Ofsted has suggested.
Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of Ofsted, made the comments as she was grilled by MPs about Muslim primary school children being questioned about hijabs during inspections.
It follows a recommendation by the schools watchdog in 2017 that officials should ask girls who wear garments such as hijabs “why they do so in school”.
Ms Spielman last year publicly offered her backing to the headteacher of a primary school when she faced a backlash for trying to ban the youngest Muslim girls wearing the hijab.
Giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, Ms Spielman was questioned by Labour MP Shabana Mahmood about why pupils who are simply trying to look like their mothers should be scrutinised by state officials.
She replied: “My concern is that children at school should be free from the pressures that exist in many communities outside of school.
“We know that some children are feeling pressurised to wear headscarves, that it can make children unhappy to be told they are not good because they are not wearing a headscarf.