From September 2016 parents, guardians and carers in England will be asked to state if their children are foreign nationals. Families can refuse to answer.
The UK Government has required childminders, nurseries, schools and colleges to collect country-of-birth and nationality data for children aged between 2 and 19.
This policy is unnecessary, divisive and puts vulnerable children at risk.
Families and schools can take action to protect children.
The campaign group, Against Borders in Schools (of which Right to Remain is a supporter) are concerned that this data could be used by immigration enforcement to target individual children and families. If this information is collected, members of the public, journalists, government departments, and other organisations will also be able to access schools’ immigration numbers.
The campaign has already received a lot of interest, support and mainstream media coverage and an open letter signed by more than 20 groups including Right to Remain has been sent to the Department of Education, highlighting the concerns.
Already, there have been reports of the letters requesting this information only being given to children with “foreign” sounding names, and in Brighton and Hove,
“parents…have received letters from the City Council stating that they have the right to refuse to supply immigration data to their child’s school, but that “where an ethnicity has not been stated or ‘refused’ the Head teacher has the right to ‘ascribe’ an ethnicity to your child”.
Although parents are not required to supply immigration/nationality data, this ‘opt out’ is not being widely communicated. There is useful guidance on the campaign website about how to inform the school of your wish to opt out as a parent/guardian/carer – remember, the boycott can and should be done by all parents, regardless of the child’s nationality or immigration status. Although you may not think this information is a concern for your family situation, you can join the boycott in solidarity with those to whom this poses more of a threat. If you have already given the school the information, you have until 5 October to inform the school that you do not wish this information to be sent.
This dangerous development affects us all. As Leah Cowan wrote in her article for Media Diversified on this divisive policy,
The new immigration data requirement is, unfortunately, another brick in the metaphorical wall that the Home Office is building (in additional to a physical £1.9m wall in Calais) to try and stop migrant communities living full and equal lives. We must call this data collection out for what it is: in practice an obstacle to children’s learning, and more broadly a strong message that migrant communities are under scrutiny.
NO CHILD IS ILLEGAL.
Find out how you can take action on the campaign website.
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