Students chanted ‘we want change’ this morning as they protested against their head teacher’s policy banning Afro hair and ‘colourful’ hijabs.
Videos of pupils taking action at Pimlico Academy in Westminster, central London, have gone viral on social media, being shared hundreds of times.
The school told sixth form students and parents of the new uniform policy in a letter last August, saying that hairstyles which ‘block the views’ of others were now banned.
An online petition was swiftly set up against the ‘racist’ policy, and it has since been signed by more than a thousand people.
The National Education Union, which represents the school’s teachers, was due to hold a vote of no confidence in new head Daniel Smith last night.
Discussions over potential strike action were also due to take place, while one teacher warned of a ‘mass exodus’ of up to 30 staff members leaving the school.
Parents and police wait outside the school gates as school children demonstrate in the playground of Pimlico Academy
A demonstrator outside the school gates holds up a sign reading: ‘I stand with Pimlico students’
The school playground was packed full of students after they refused to take part in lessons
A sit-down protest was held at the school this morning against its controversial uniform policy
A sign covered in anti-fascism and anti-racism stickers outside Pimlico Academy School
A police officer outside Pimlico Academy School, west London, where students have staged a walkout in protest over a school uniform policy that they claim is discriminatory and racist
Officers stand outside the gates of the school this morning during the demonstration
There are warnings of a ‘mass exodus’ of teaching staff from the school in Westminster
The National Education Union, which represents the school’s teachers, was due to hold a vote of no confidence in new head Daniel Smith (left) last night ahead of today’s walkout (right, a poster advertising the event)
Non-students joined in the action today, with parents pictured outside the school gates, including one holding a placard which read: ‘I stand with Pimlico students.’
Police officers were also seen on the premises.
The sit-down protest came following reports that a senior member of staff had asked pupils to cancel the action the day before, but this only made the teenagers more determined to take part.
Graffiti – since removed – daubed the walls of the school over the weekend, criticising the Union Jack flag which flies outside the premises all year round.
The graffiti said: ‘Ain’t no black in the Union Jack’, ‘White schools for brown kids are u mad’ and ‘Pimlico Academy…run by racists…for profit,’ according to reports.
The same flag was previously taken down and burned by pupils last September.
Students claim that concerns over the flag, and recognition of Black Lives Matter or Black History Month have also been repeatedly ignored by school bosses.
In a petition, the students claimed the uniform policy would penalise Muslims and those with afro hairstyles and demanded a change.
A statement accompanying the petition said: ‘We as students have the right to express ourselves however we choose, and also have the right to have our natural hair weather it be big hair small hair or loads of facial hair or no facial hair. We should be able to show our shoulders without ‘distracting the boys’.
‘We should be able to wear jewellery as some can be sentimental. We should be able to wear any coloured Hijabs we want as its part of a lot of people’s religion.
‘We should be able to have a clothing option for people who don’t want to conform to a gender. We should be able to wear as much make up as we like as it improves self confidence.
‘From year 11 up, we are more worried about what is going to happen to exams and grades. We don’t want clothing changes, we want reassurance for our learning.
‘We still have no idea what’s going to happen during this pandemic, yet we know what clothes we can and cannot wear? This only adds more pressure to us to get new clothes and conform to the dress code.’
Students packed out the school playground for the protest earlier this morning
Videos of pupils taking action at Pimlico Academy in Westminster, central London , have gone viral on social media, being shared hundreds of times
Students chanted ‘we want change’ this morning as they protested against their head teacher’s policy banning Afro hair and ‘colourful’ hijabs
One pupil told the Guardian ahead of the protest: ‘We believe the school has unfairly targeted groups of students.
‘The school should protect marginalised races, religions and other groups instead of target them.
‘We should see ourselves and our backgrounds represented in our studies.’
Meanwhile a teacher, who has handed in her resignation at the school, told the site she felt staff voices were not being heard.
Some of the school’s famous alumni include comedian Mo Gilligan, musician and actor Ashley Walters and Chelsea and England striker Tammy Abraham.
Pimlico Academy has been approached for comment on today’s protest.