A Muslim student has been banned from enrolling at a college because she refused to remove her burkha.
Shawana Bilqes, 18, wanted to wear the garment - which covers her body and face, leaving only her eyes visible - during lessons.
But staff at Burnley College refused to enrol her, claiming the burkha was a barrier to 'safety and communication'.
In a strongly worded statement, the college said 'unimpeded' face to face contact between teachers and students was vital.
Miss Bilqes, who wanted to study an access course for a diploma, has now been forced to abandon her plans and is looking elsewhere to complete her studies.
Yesterday she said: 'It is my choice to wear the veil.
'I live around the corner from the college in an area where there are so many practising Muslims.
'I tried to compromise but they wouldn't. The college sent me a letter to say I could continue with my course if I stopped wearing the veil.
'We are in the 21st century and we get people from all walks of life. I'm in the police cadets as well and yet it's not a problem wearing the veil there.'
John Smith, principal of the college, in Burnley, defended the actions of his staff.
He said that a student's face must be fully visible to maintain high standards of teaching between staff and pupils, adding that it was crucial to wear photo ID around the campus for security reasons.
'We do require all students of Burnley College to have their faces visible when at the college,' he said.
'We are determined to maintain the highest standards of teaching and learning. To do this effectively requires unimpeded communication from the teacher to all students, from the students to the teacher and between student and student.
'It is not possible to maintain this essential full communication if the face of any student is not fully visible.
'We are also determined to provide a safe environment for all our students. Central to this is that all members of the college community should be identifiable at all times.
'Where individuals decline to comply, then I am afraid we cannot accommodate them.'
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