There have been articles in the news concerning additional questions which have been added to the schools census - a census of schoolchildren in the United Kingdom. The census now asks parents to provide details of their child’s place of birth and nationality. There are reports of schools misinterpreting the requirements and checking pupils’ passports in a potentially discriminatory manner.
Although the Department for Education’s guidance does state that they would expect information regarding nationality and place of birth to be derived from birth certificates and passports, it does clarify explicitly that schools are not required to check these documents. It also states that parents can refuse to provide the information and explains to schools how to code a refusal for the purposes of the census.
Questions have arisen regarding whether the information gathered will be shared with UK Visas and Immigration (‘UKVI’). There are fears the information could be used by UKVI against the pupils in question or their families. The Department for Education has clarified that the information is for internal use only and that they do not intend to share the information with UKVI.
Schools should read the Department for Education’s guidance on the census and should ensure they do not carry out the census in a discriminatory manner. They should also state clearly, in the information provided to parents, that parents can refuse to answer these questions if they wish.
If you have any questions in respect of the information contained in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Mary Groom (in the Education team), Chetal Patel (in the Immigration team) or William Garnet (in the Employment team).
Posted on 14/10/2016 in BWB NewsBack to Knowledge