Home Office To Trial Pioneering New Border Schools
This week – beneath the Brexit headlines – the Home Office and Department for Education (DfE) quietly announced that the first of their pioneering ‘Border Schools’ will be up and running for the summer term.
Few in the media picked up on the news that the two departments, in an unprecedented partnership, will be trialling a new approach to registration at the Dr April Stulti Secondary School in Foolow, Derbyshire.
Extensive renovations will be carried out over the Easter holidays to erect new passport control points in front of the school’s entrance.
From late April, students will be advised to arrive early to avoid delays – and will only gain admittance if they can prove they have the legal right to reside in the UK.
It has been reported that those without sufficient documentation will be refused access to classrooms while Home Office officials contact their parents and begin deportation proceedings. The playground will function solely as a holding centre from now on because – as one source put it – “there’s no place for fun and games in immigration policy”.
Announcing the move, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Continuing to give these children a safe place to learn regardless of their nationality or visa status would be a move based on such deeply unBritish values as compassion, fairness and respect for fundamental human rights, and does nothing to sow a fear of otherness and general suspicion among our young people. How can we make life truly unbearable for migrants and their families while this outrage goes on?”
The school’s syllabus has also been updated to include a daily ‘British Values’ class and new GCSE option of ‘Hostile Environmental Science’.
The ugly truth
If all this sounds unbelievable, that’s because it isn’t true.
But it’s much closer to becoming reality than you might think.
On Thursday 18 May, the summer school census will begin. Since August last year, it has asked parents and guardians to include their children’s birth country and nationality.
When the news broke, campaigners immediately accused the Government of a thinly-veiled bid to build “foreign children lists” to aid Home Office deportation. The DfE insisted that was not the case.
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But the facts tell a different story. Late last year, a leaked data-sharing agreement revealed the DfE has already agreed to give the personal details of up to 1,500 school children a month to the Home Office, specifically to “create a hostile environment”.
The Government has insisted country of birth and nationality data won’t be included. But other census data is routinely disclosed and there’s no law against it happening in future.
Liberty has teamed with Against Borders for Children to call on all parents to refuse requests for this information – which they have the right to do – and to retract any data they may have given during a previous census.
If enough people do so, the Government won’t be able to justify this toxic policy.
Classrooms should be about learning, growth and hope for the future – not division, discrimination and fear.
Don’t be foolish this April – spread the word and boycott the school census. When the summer census comes round, we need as many parents and carers as possible to refuse, retract and resist.