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Antisemitic abuse against Ofsted chief over school hijab decision

Amanda Spielman had backed headteacher who introduced controversial ban

    Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman
    Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman

    Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of Ofsted, has been targeted by antisemitic abuse after her backing for a school that controversially banned the hijab and fasting for young children.

    The Sunday Times reported Ms Spielman was targeted by online trolls who put three sets of brackets around uses of her name.

    The practice was made notorious by “Coincidence Detector”, an antisemitic browser extension available in the Google store that would search websites for apparently Jewish names and automatically add the brackets to either side of them.

    The extension was deleted by Google in 2016.

    Ms Spielman, whose religious background is not known, strongly backed St Stephen’s School in Newham, east London, after it decided to stop the youngest pupils from wearing the Islamic headscarf in class.

    She said school leaders such as the headteacher, Neena Lall, “must have the right to set school uniform policies as they see fit, in order to promote cohesion”.

    The ban generated a public outcry and led a video circulating on social media that likened Ms Lall to Adolf Hitler.

    Pressure from parents and community leaders led the school’s chairman of governors to resign and the hijab ban was eventually reversed.

    St Stephen’s is rated outstanding by Ofsted.

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