Britain's government has given local school administrators the authority to ban students from wearing full-face Muslim veils.
Under new guidelines issued Tuesday, a decision on banning the veil (the niqab) will be up to individual schools and will not be part of a nationwide policy.
A statement from the Department for Education and Skills urges school administrators to consult with local communities and parents before determining dress codes. It also encourages schools to accommodate the social, religious and medical requirements of students, whenever possible.
The new guidelines grew out of teacher complaints that the veils make it difficult to read facial expressions and to understand what students are saying.
London's High Court last year rejected an appeal from a Muslim schoolgirl who sought to wear a full-face veil.
Some Muslim groups have denounced the ruling and have criticized British politicians and the news media for what they say are efforts to demonize the Muslim community.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.