(LONDON TELEGRAPH) Both 14-year-olds had been placed in “isolation” from the start of the new term at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Accrington, Lancashire.

Talks were held with the families of the two boys to resolve the problem but neither side backed down and the school has now decided the pupils can only return to school when they are clean-shaven.

Head teacher Xavier Bowers has stressed that the matter is not one of religion but about dress code.

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