Kenton school’s no cornrow policy ‘unlawful’ rules High Court

St Gregory’s school was taken to court by the family of a boy who was turned away at the gates because of the hairstyle

A Brent school’s ban on the cornrows hairstyle was ‘unlawful’ and resulted in ‘indirect racial discrimination’ the High Court has ruled.

St. Gregory’s Roman Catholic High School, in Donngington Road, Kenton, was taken to court by the family of a former pupil who was turned away at the school gates in 2009 for wearing the popular hairstyle.

The Times exclusively reported the case two years ago.

St. Gregory’s operates a rigid policy of banning boys from wearing their hair below the collar.


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Andrew Prindville, the headteacher had argued that although the cornrow style is not associated with gang culture, permitting it would weaken the school’s opposition to that lifestyle.

However, the family of the pupil, known as G, said the hairstyle was an integral part of his Afro Caribbean heritage and identity.

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They criticised the school for implementing the blanket ban irrespective of the social, cultural, and ethic importance of the hairstyle.

Mr Justice Collins said the school’s ban was not unlawful in itself, but should have taken into account individual pupils’ family traditions.

He said: “There is no question of this school being in any way racist - this was an honest mistake because the law in this regard is not entirely easy.

“It is not suggested, and it has never been suggested, by this school that cornrow in itself has any affiliation or association with gang culture. But the policy was rigid.

“This was an error. I’m satisfied that the policy as it appears, without any possibility of exception for such as G, is unlawful.”

More to come

A Brent school’s ban on the cornrows hairstyle was ‘unlawful’ and resulted in ‘indirect racial discrimination’ the High Court has ruled.

St. Gregory’s High School, in Donngington Road, Kenton, was taken to court by the family of a former pupil who was turned away at the school gates in 2009 for wearing the popular hairstyle. The case was exclusively reported in the Times.

The school operates a rigid policy of banning boys from wearing their hair below the collar.

Andrew Prindville, the headteacher had argued that although the cornrow style is not associated with gang culture, permitting it would weaken the school’s opposition to that lifestyle.

However, the family of the pupil, known as G, said the hairstyle was an integral part of his Afro Caribbean heritage and identity.

They criticised the school for implementing the blanket ban irrespective of the social, cultural, and ethic importance of the hairstyle.

Mr Justice Collins said the school’s ban was not unlawful in itself, but should have taken into account individual pupils’ family traditions.

He said: “There is no question of this school being in any way racist - this was an honest mistake because the law in this regard is not entirely easy.

“It is not suggested, and it has never been suggested, by this school that cornrow in itself has any affiliation or association with gang culture. But the policy was rigid.

“This was an error. I’m satisfied that the policy as it appears, without any possibility of exception for such as G, is unlawful.”

More to come

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