Forty-six percent of primary and secondary school teachers suggested that allowing pupils to wear religious symbols went against British values. They also feared it would undermine the drive to promote religious and racial harmony in schools.
The findings, in a poll carried out by YouGov, will fuel the controversial debate about the wearing of religious symbols in schools.
Currently, individual schools are free to make their own decisions, but a string of recent court ruling said some policies amounted to “unlawful discrimination”. In July, a Sikh schoolgirl, won a discrimination case against her school after she was banned from wearing a religious bangle.
The poll, commissioned by Teachers TV, found that more than 70 per cent of teachers agreed that the promotion of British values was part of a teacher’s role.
Andrew Bethell, chief executive of Teachers TV, said that the results marked a “shift away from multiculturalism” in the “post 7/7 Britain”. He added: “There seems to be an increasing feeling among teachers that simply embracing difference is no longer enough. Pupils need a sense of common identity and ‘Britishness’ is a big part of this.”