ABC Fundraising Appeal Letter for groups and union branches

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To branch members,

I’m writing to your branch as a primary school teacher and a campaigner with Against Borders for Children (Schools ABC) to ask that you help to fund our legal challenge against the Department for Education.

Schools ABC is a group of teachers, parents and civil liberties campaigners who began working together in autumn 2016 following the government’s decision to add country of birth and nationality questions to the termly school census. This data collection demonstrably serves no educational purpose and contributes to a climate of xenophobia and racism in our schools. Successful litigation against the DfE could mean that these divisive and unnecessary bureaucratic requirements are scrapped for good.

Over the course of our campaign we found that:

  • The government had always planned to share collected data with the Home Office.
  • Leaked government letters revealed that the pupil nationality data collection was a compromise reached between the then Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan and Theresa May, who had originally intended that the children of undocumented migrants be ‘deprioritised’ for school places.
  • A secretive data-sharing agreement was made in 2015 between the Home Office and the DfE that allowed information pertaining to 1,500 pupils to be shared with the Home Office every month.
  • Research in schools revealed that the new measures were indeed leading to discriminatory and harmful practices, with some schools asking only non-white pupils for their nationality and others asking pupils to show their passports

With support, we’ve won a number of partial victories, but the legal framework allowing the data collection to occur is still in place. Parents’ right to retract their children’s data is being reviewed in December 2017. We believe the Government plans to scrap the right to retract data. We intend to continue campaigning until the policy is withdrawn altogether, and a legal challenge to the Department for Education has the potential to achieve this.

We hope that your branch will be able to support us in our campaign by pledging funds to our crowdfunder. Alternatively funds could be sent directly to our bank account. (See below)

If you have any questions or would like to meet to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Against Borders for Children

Bank Account Name: Against Borders for Children
Account Number: 42253011
Sort code: 40-07-31

Template Letter: Request of data removal

Request to remove and replace new school census data: country of birth, nationality, first language (Primary, Secondary schools) and expanded ethnicity (All schools including nurseries / all Early Years)

Date: _______________________

Dear ____________________________,

As the [parent/legal guardian/carer] of ________________________________________________ in ________________________ class, I am writing to inform you that I do not want their country of birth, nationality, first language and/or ethnicity related data to be entered in the school census. I would like to retract data already provided during the admissions process / during the autumn 2016 census and / or I decline that these data are returned in any school census.

Retract data previously submitted

If this data has already been entered or submitted, please remove it and replace it with refused. Our right to request this data removal was recently confirmed in the school census guidance v1.5 published on January 10, 2017 [p61 5.3] and in Early Years guidance v1.4.

Record my objection and refusal of data

Please record nationality, country of birth, first language and ethnicity data as “refused”. The personal data is optional, and the school will not face any sanction for not supplying this data to the Department for Education, as confirmed on October 12, 2016 by a government spokesman.

Schools meet their statutory obligation to return the school census data by completing fields with valid entries, these include refused and not yet obtained codes as stated in the guidance.

EAL pupils only

For English as an Additional Language purposes, I do not object for you to process EAL data for local purposes and return the minimum requirement for funding only

OR  

I object to all language data processing and ask that you find an alternative solution. 
 [amend as appropriate] The national subject association for EAL, NALDIC says, they “would like to urge the Department 4 for Education to reconsider its position urgently” “…nationality should not be conflated with EAL proficiency. They are separate issues.”

For further information

For your further information, please refer to the latest school census guidance v1.5 from the Department for Education published Jan 10, 2017 pages 61-67 or Early Years v1.4.  Please reply to this letter to confirm that my request has been processed accordingly. Thank you.

Sincerely,

________________________
Information to help identify and amend further children’s records:
Parent name ___________________________________________________________________

Home address __________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

Parent / Guardian signature: __________________________________________________________
[2] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[3] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[4] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[5] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[6] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________

Template: Letter to School Governors

The following model letter is an example of key points to put to your school governors. You can add your own personal experiences and stories to the letters, or change the text to reflect your own personal concerns, or you can send the letters as they are.

Dear [Board of School Governors / use governor’s name if you know it]

I am writing to you as a parent to express my serious concerns about the government’s forthcoming plans to collect nationality and country of birth information of school children between the ages of 2 and 19. This data is to be added to the National Pupil Database, which is accessible by various third parties including other government departments, journalists, and individual citizens. The BBC and Schools Week have stated that the collection has evolved from a previous plan to share the data with the Home Office.

This comes in the context of a rise in racist and xenophobic attacks following the vote to leave the EU, and increasingly hostile attitudes in the media towards the use of public services by migrants. The data to be collected will be directly useful to those seeking to target ideologically motivated attacks on individual schools with large migrant populations.

More urgently, this policy effectively deputises school staff as agents of immigration enforcement. This will bring the borders into the classroom, and the fear of attracting the attention of Home Office Immigration Enforcement may lead parents to keep their children away from school. I believe that all of these factors put the wellbeing of schoolchildren at risk.

As things stand, parents are not legally obliged to submit this information and I believe that the school has a duty to make them aware of this.

Since the purposes of the expanded census collection and the new use of school census data by the Home Office since 2015 have become clear after campaign pressure and press scrutiny, the National Union of Teachers has called for this use of pupil data to end, emphasising that “schools are not part of policing immigration”.

The national subject association  for EAL, NALDIC says, they “would like to urge the Department for Education to reconsider its position urgently” “…nationality should not be conflated with EAL proficiency.  They are separate issues.”

This issue is of great importance to me and I hope that the school will act on it. As such, I request that you will raise the following points at the next governors’ meeting. In order to protect the best interests of all school children and to avoid a breakdown of trust between parents and school staff, the school should:

  1. Make all parents fully aware of their right to refuse or retract this information
  2. Adopt a positive policy not to comply with the gathering of nationality or immigration status data
  3. Support the lawful boycott organised by the Against Borders for Children campaign

More information about policy and its dangers, links to press reports, and other resources, can be found at schoolsabc.net.

Yours,

[Your name]

Template: Letter to local MP

The following model letter/e-mail is an example of key points to make to your MP. You can add your own personal experiences and stories to the letters, or change the text to reflect your own personal concerns, or you can send the letters after filling in your details.

To find your MP’s contact details, visit They Work For You

If you receive replies to your letters please send them to hello@schoolsabc.net

Dear [MP’s name]

I am writing to you as a constituent to express my serious concerns about the government’s collection of information on the immigration status of school children between the ages of 5 and 19.

While there is no mention of the data being used for immigration enforcement in the school census guidance, its use is part of a strategic goal to create a hostile environment for migrants and data about individual children is being sent to the Home Office, with 2,462 records sent between July 2015 and September 2016 in what Lord Storey has described as “another way.. to make people who live in the UK but were born abroad feel unwelcome”.

This comes in the context of a rise in racist and xenophobic attacks following the vote to leave the EU, and increasingly hostile attitudes in the media towards the use of public services by migrants. More urgently, this policy effectively deputises school staff as immigration enforcers, bring the borders into the classroom, and the fear of attracting the attention of UK Visa and Immigration enforcement may lead people to keep their children away from school. I believe that all of these factors put the well-being of schoolchildren at risk.

I am calling on you to look further into this issue and to do everything in your power to stop this policy. I would like you to write to the the Department for Education about the potential dangers of the new policy and to raise the issue (in Parliament and more broadly) to ensure that parents are aware of their lawful right not to comply with these requests for nationality status information.

More information about policy and its dangers, links to press reports, and other resources, can be found at schoolsabc.net .

Yours,

[Your name]
[Your address]

Template: Letter of refusal for immigration census

[You can download a pdf of this letter here.]

Request to remove and replace new school census data: country of birth, nationality, first language (Primary, Secondary schools) and expanded ethnicity (All schools including nurseries / all Early Years)

Date: _______________________

Dear ____________________________,

As the [parent/legal guardian/carer] of ________________________________________________ in ________________________ class, I am writing to inform you that I do not want their country of birth, nationality, first language and/or ethnicity related data to be entered in the school census. I would like to retract data already provided during the admissions process / during the autumn 2016 census and / or I decline that these data are returned in any school census.

Retract data previously submitted

If this data has already been entered or submitted, please remove it and replace it with refused. Our right to request this data removal was recently confirmed in the school census guidance v1.5 published on January 10, 2017 [p61 5.3] and in Early Years guidance v1.4.

Record my objection and refusal of data

Please record nationality, country of birth, first language and ethnicity data as “refused”. The personal data is optional, and the school will not face any sanction for not supplying this data to the Department for Education, as confirmed on October 12, 2016 by a government spokesman.

Schools meet their statutory obligation to return the school census data by completing fields with valid entries, these include refused and not yet obtained codes as stated in the guidance.

EAL pupils only

For English as an Additional Language purposes, I do not object for you to process EAL data for local purposes and return the minimum requirement for funding only

OR  

I object to all language data processing and ask that you find an alternative solution. 
 [amend as appropriate] The national subject association for EAL, NALDIC says, they “would like to urge the Department 4 for Education to reconsider its position urgently” “…nationality should not be conflated with EAL proficiency. They are separate issues.”

For further information

For your further information, please refer to the latest school census guidance v1.5 from the Department for Education published Jan 10, 2017 pages 61-67 or Early Years v1.4.  Please reply to this letter to confirm that my request has been processed accordingly. Thank you.

Sincerely,

________________________
Information to help identify and amend further children’s records:
Parent name ___________________________________________________________________

Home address __________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

Parent / Guardian signature: __________________________________________________________
[2] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[3] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[4] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[5] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________
[6] Child’s class _________________________ Child’s First name ______________________

Surname / Family name _________________________________________________________