By Tara Brady, Daily Mail
LEICESTER: A headmaster is facing calls to resign after he posted a picture on Facebook of himself wearing a turban with the caption: ‘Nearly gone native in Leicester.’
Dr Tim Luckcock, 49, is head of Uplands junior school in Highfields, Leicester – a city where fewer than half of the population consider themselves white British.
He is thought to have posted the picture as a joke, but it has been seized on by members of his staff who say it is ‘inappropriate’ in a ‘multi-faith school’.
One member of staff, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘A pupil at the school noticed it on Facebook first and he told his mother who informed a member of staff.
‘We are all shocked and pretty disgusted at it. Leicester is a multi-ethnic city and the school reflects this.
‘We don’t know if this was Tim’s idea of a joke but it’s in very bad taste and has upset some pupils and their parents alike.’
A spokesman for the Leicester Sikh Alliance said: ‘We applaud anybody who is seeking a different religious experience in the genuine quest for understanding and appreciation.
‘But it is incumbent that such an exercise should be performed with respect and not in satire.’
Dr Luckcock, a father of two, said last night: ‘The picture was taken at a school Divali celebration more than a year ago.
‘Most members of staff were wearing similar headgear or Indian clothes.
‘I put the picture on Facebook when I thought my privacy settings were at “friends only”.
‘The story is out of its true context. It’s wrong to infer I’m racist.’
Staff at Uplands Junior School in Leicester are calling for Tim Luckcock (pictured right) to resign
Scandal: Dr Tim Luckcock is headmaster of Uplands Junior School in Leicester
The BBC quoted this UK school headmaster as saying, “I had immense fun dressing up in ethnic costume for Diwali. There’s an insinuation I’m being racist but my dad was born in India and I’m completely open to different faiths. Gandhi is my hero.”
According to Dr Luckcock, “Wearing a turban honours that culture. I am Muslim, my wife is Algerian and I wear traditional Arabic costume when I visit her family. Going native’ is just a colloquial expression. It’s a sign that somebody has cosmopolitan tastes and respect for local ways. I thought the Facebook page was only accessible to friends and family. I believe people were trying to dig for dirt about me and they’ve found something a bit juicy.”
However, an eight-page letter sent by school staff to the council accuses Dr Luckcock of ‘religious bias’ and calls for his resignation.
A spokesman for the council said: ‘We can confirm that trade unions have raised collective grievances against the head teacher and the governing body.
‘We have scheduled discussions with governors and with trade union representatives to discuss how the issues can be investigated and be resolved.’
Peter Flack, the assistant secretary of NUT in Leicester told the BBC, said: ‘I think the photograph and the comments the head teacher has made are totally disgraceful. This is a multicultural city.
‘We have multicultural schools serving all faith communities and basically what we have is a head teacher who is mocking that.’
A 2012 Ofsted report ranked the school as ‘good’ and described the governing body as ‘very effective’.
(Courtesy Daily Mail)