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Pupils: Clothing

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) whether he has made a recent estimate of the number of schoolchildren who regularly wear the kirpan on school premises; (317004)

(2) what recent representations he has received on the wearing of the kirpan by schoolchildren.

[holding answer 22 February 2010]: The Department has made no estimate of the number of children who regularly wear the kirpan on school premises; this information is not collected by schools. We have received representations concerning a case involving a Barnet school last year; it is for individual governing bodies to make their own policies on the carrying of the kirpan, taking account of pupil safety and religious practice. Because of concerns arising from this case, we are currently discussing issues around the wearing of the kirpan with other interested Government Departments, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Sikh community, with a view to issuing guidance in due course.