Girls as young as four are being "forced to wear the hijab" as part of approved school uniform in state-funded Islamic schools, campaigners have told ministers.
According to research by the National Secular Society, the hijab appears to be compulsory in eight state-funded Islamic schools in England, including three primary schools.
A further 51 private Islamic schools of the 176 surveyed by the society also require the headscarf to be worn by female pupils. Eighteen schools said wearing the head covering was optional.
One school says on its website that "the face must be covered outside the school" (as well as in class).