Schools no longer have to collect data on pupils’ nationality and country of birth

Campaigners say the scheme was 'a poisonous attempt to build foreign children lists'

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Tuesday 10 April 2018 15:44
Comments
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Schools will no longer be made to collect data on pupils’ nationality and country of birth, following a series of court challenges by campaigners.

The Department for Education (DfE) has dropped the controversial categories from the school census just two years after the policy was introduced.

Campaign group Against Borders for Children had warned it could be used to check the immigration status of pupils.

Schools Week reported that the DfE would write to schools, telling them they will no longer be required to fill out the nationality category of school census forms.

Since September 2016, guardians and carers in England have been asked to state whether their children are foreign nationals as part of the scheme.

It sparked a widespread backlash with cross-party MPs labelling the system “racist” after schools were found to be demanding parents hand over passports as proof of their children’s nationality.

Last month, Against Borders for Children (ABC) began an appeal against the High Court’s initial refusal to allow them to take the case to judicial review.

Alan Munroe, a spokesperson for ABC and primary school teacher, said: “This news is a massive victory for a small group of activists with no budget and no staff, just a determination that our schools should be a safe learning environment for every child.

“ABC was set up just over 18 months ago to end the gathering of nationality and country of birth data on children in English schools as part of the Tory 'hostile environment' agenda. That objective has been achieved, and we will be celebrating.”

Gracie Bradley, advocacy officer at human rights pressure group Liberty, said: “This is a huge victory for the teachers, parents and campaigners who stood up and refused to comply with this poisonous attempt to build foreign children lists.

“It gives huge hope that – if more people stand up and resist – we can succeed in dismantling the government’s hostile environment policies piece by piece.”

The DfE declined to comment.

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