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.
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:
- Make all parents fully aware of their right to refuse or retract this information
- Adopt a positive policy not to comply with the gathering of nationality or immigration status data
- 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.