With the start of the new school year comes an annual schools census in the U.K. A new element of the census for 2016 requires schools to hold information pertaining to the nationality of each child in the school, as well as their place of birth. Parents around the U.K. were informed of this requirement at the end of September, with many taking to Twitter to voice their opposition to the move.
The parents are concerned that the reason that the information is being requested is linked to growing anti-immigrant sentiments in Britain following Brexit. At the Conservative Party Conference this week, Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to force firms to publish lists of all of their foreign employees.
The Guardian reports that The Department for Education has insisted that the information gathered by schools will not be handed to the Home Office and that the data is being collected and input to the national pupil database to ensure children “receive the best possible education.” However, disclosures under freedom of information laws have shown that the Home Office has been handed NPD data on 18 occasions since 2012.
Parents are not legally obliged to provide the information about their children. See the tweets of these disgruntled parents below.
Just got this text:— Tim Colbourne (@twrc) October 5, 2016
"Info required-If your child is not of British Nationality or was not born in the UK, pls inform the school by tomorrow"
This is happening across the UK right now— Immigrant (@hyper_linda) October 6, 2016
Mapping of foreign born children pic.twitter.com/56Dq16M6ei
TEXT FROM MY CHILDS SCHOOL— Springburn Reject (@therebel11) October 5, 2016
The Gov requires us to list all children not born in UK, provide nationality and country of birth asap.#CPC16
In normal times a school census would be perfectly sensible & unobjectionable. In this climate I hate how it will make some parents feel.— Gaby Hinsliff (@gabyhinsliff) October 5, 2016
You are LEGALLY allowed to refuse this information. Say NO to the collection of immigration data. Schools are NOT border enforcement— SchoolsABC (@Schools_ABC) October 5, 2016