IN the poverty-stricken East London borough of Newham, St Stephen’s Primary School is a beacon of hope.
In just two years it jumped from No148 in the primary school rankings to being named state school of the year.
Not bad for an institution where almost every pupil has English as a second language.
But the positive mood has turned toxic.
The talented and driven head teacher who turned the school around has gone from worrying about grades to fearing for her life. Neena Lall, 50, banned Muslim pupils aged eight and under at the secular school from wearing hijabs or fasting during Ramadan for health and safety reasons.
There were a few complaints, backed by the MEND campaign group.
It has come under fire for its links to extremism and was recently branded as “Islamists masquerading as civil libertarians” by the Henry Jackson Society think tank.
The group has been accused of anti-Semitism and homophobia.
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