Pupils walk out of classes in diversity protest amid anger at 'racist' uniform policy

31 March 2021, 11:33 | Updated: 31 March 2021, 19:14

Pupils walked out in protest today
Pupils walked out in protest today. Picture: Google Street View

By Asher McShane

A mass walkout of pupils is taking place at London's Pimlico Academy over changes to its uniform policy which have been described as "discriminatory."

The central London academy is facing a major backlash over hairstyle and hijab rules, and changes to its history curriculum.

Afro-style haircuts and brightly coloured hijabs are reported to have been made against the rules at the school.

Videos posted on social media today showed a mass walk-out of pupils, shouting "we want change" while the academies group that runs the school said it regretted the issue had "come to a head in such a public way".

Pupils are said to be protesting the school's new uniform policy, curriculum, and the placement of a union jack outside the premises.

Read more: 'Britain not rigged against ethnic minorities': landmark report sparks major backlash

School walls had been daubed with graffiti, which was later removed. The graffiti is reported to have read: “Ain’t no black in the Union Jack …” and “White schools for brown kids are u mad."

Another slogan stated: “Pimlico Academy … run by racists … for profit!!!”

A statement from Future Academies said: "This morning Pimlico Academy saw a protest by some students. The majority of students were in classrooms studying as usual throughout the protest.

"It is with regret that these matters have come to a head in such a public way.

"We want to take this opportunity to reassure parents that this is an isolated event, and we are working to resolve the issues raised. We apologise to all children, families and staff for the disruption today."

Multiple messages of support to the protest were posted to Twitter.

Read more: Protester scales London crane and unfurls Black Lives Matter banner

Shelly Asquith, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy Officer at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said on the social media platform: "Good morning to the pupils of Pimlico Academy school who are refusing to go to class in protest of their head teachers’ racist policy banning Afro hair and ‘colourful’ hijabs. Heroes."

LBC has contacted the academy for comment.

In a statement reported by The Guardian, Future Academies, which runs the school, said before the protest it has "the highest aspirations for our students and are committed to ensuring that they all grow up to be respectful of others, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, age, disability or religious belief, and that each feels respected and safe".