AN emergency meeting is to be held by school bosses after its Muslim pupils and staff were allegedly told to remove their veils.

It is understood a group from Islamiyah School, Willow Street, Blackburn, had visited St Mary’s College, Blackburn, for a taster day last week.

When some of the group arrived wearing the veil, which covers a woman’s face and leaves the eyes visible, St Mary’s College staff asked them to remove them on grounds it was contrary to the Shear Brow college’s policy.

It is understood the two pupils in question did remove their veils once the policy was explained.

But a member of staff did not remove her veil and left the premises.

Islamiyah School said it would consider commenting on the issue after a meeting tonight.

This latest controversy comes after North West Euro-MP Liberal Democrat Chris Davies said the burka, which covers a woman from head to toe and only leaves the eyes visible, did not belong in 21st century Britain.

He called on Muslim women in the region to take them off.

It also comes months after a parent was turned away at a parents’ evening at Our Lady’s and St John’s Catholic Arts College over security fears as she was wearing the full veil.

In a statement, St Mary’s headteacher Kevin McMahon said: “St Mary’s College is a Beacon College with a national reputation for its contribution to community cohesion.

“Ofsted (2008) observed that ‘The college’s contribution to the promotion and celebration of equality and diversity is outstanding.

“[It] is committed to community cohesion and takes active steps to promote dialogue and understanding between individuals from different backgrounds’.

“At the start of one of our taster days for prospective students last week, some visitors did arrive wearing the veil.

“When the policy was explained to them, all except one were willing to remove it.

“This lady – a member of staff at the school – refused, and opted to leave the premises.

“My colleague offered to arrange transport, but this offer was declined.”

Salim Mulla, vice-chair of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: “I think the college staff should be understanding towards the needs of the community.

“It is a belief they have themselves.

“I don’t think people should be forced to take it off, it is what they have chosen to wear because it is their belief.”