Rights campaigners have urged parents to boycott demands by schools for information on their children’s country of birth.
The mandatory national school census is conducted in the autumn, spring and summer terms for all children aged between two and 19. For the first time this year it will include questions on the youngsters’ country of birth and nationality.
Human rights groups say the new questions mean teachers will be pressured into policing the immigration status of pupils and their families, fuelling conflict in the classroom.
Opposition is focused around a national coalition of schools, parents and teachers. Against Borders for Children declares on its website that:
“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.”
“This policy is unnecessary, divisive and puts vulnerable children at risk.”
The coalition’s Gracie Mae Bradley insisted:
“If every parent in the country exercised that right to refuse, that would protect all undocumented children from any potential enforcement action and it also sends a very strong signal about the kind of society that we want to live in.”
A joint letter to education secretary Justine Greening spoke of campaigner’s “grave concern” that the data would be given to the Home Office and used for “immigration enforcement purposes”.
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