The human rights charity Liberty, is to write to every headteacher in England, demanding clarity for parents over the collection of pupil nationality data, Schools Week reports.
This week, headteachers will order for the second time, that pupil nationality data and country of birth is recorded. The first data collection was carried out in September last year.
The first data collection caused unease among parents, with some headteachers, wrongly demanding copies of passports, and focusing their enquiries on ‘non-white- children.
Martha Spurrier, director of Liberty and a human rights lawyer, is to warn headteachers that they must ensure parents know they can refuse to supply the data. She has called the government’s drive to collect nationality data a “foreign child list experiment.” She said:
“It shouldn’t have fallen to campaigners to inform schools and parents about their right to refuse to give this information – but the Department for Education wasn’t going to step up.”
The pupil nationality data collection drive will begin on Thursday, and headteachers have until mid-February to submit information about their pupils, to be included in the national database.
According to government guidance, parents can also request to retract information on nationality and country of birth provided to schools in the last census in October, and campaigners say they want schools to do more to make them aware of this.
A joint email from Spurrier and the Schools Against Borders for Children (SABC) campaign, set up in protest at the data collection policy, will arrive in heads’ inboxes tomorrow.
Reports by Schools Week in December revealed, that the government intended to use pupil’s nationality and country of birth data, to police immigration, but did away with this proposal before the first census of the academic year, which took place in September 2016.
Leaked emails to the BBC also revealed, that the collection of the additional data had been ordered as a compromise, following former education secretary Nicky Morgan’s refusal to allow teachers to carry out immigration checks. That plan was proposed by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.