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 _________________________________________________________

Cause for celebration, but the fight goes on! [Posted originally on the Migrants’ Rights Network]

This post is reblogged from Migrants’ Rights Network with permission.

Gracie Bradley, Project Manager at MRN, talks about the hat that she wears when she isn’t running the Route To Your Rights project – coordinator of the Against Borders for Children campaign.

The collection of nationality and country of birth data in schools and nurseries was a change in policy announced without much fanfare last spring. The government intended to link this new data to other information such as address and ethnicity that is held in the National Pupil Database (NPD). The NPD contains the records of around 20 million people. The data is never deleted, and identifiable information on individual pupils is accessible to the Home Office, the police, and third parties such as researchers and the press.

Bleak

In 2013, ministers and civil servants discussed excluding children with irregular migration status from schools. Next, in 2015, the then-education secretary Nicky Morgan announced a review of ‘education tourism’. This policy on ‘foreign children lists’ was introduced in May. As recently as October, just after Amber Rudd was forced into a climbdown on her proposals for foreign worker lists, a parliamentary question revealed that the Home Office has requested the data of thousands of children from the DfE in the last 15 months alone, including for immigration enforcement purposes.

Whatever justification the DfE might give for the new data collection, the wider context of the “hostile environment” cannot be ignored. The last few years have seen successive pieces of legislation decimate migrants’ access to justice while turning employers, banks, the DVLA, landlords, and health workers into border guards. This was no time to sit back and watch teachers be added to that list. Schools should be a safe place for all children, not potential collaborators with immigration enforcement.

Strength in numbers

When the campaign started in September, we took the fight straight to government, and wrote a letter to Justine Greening calling on her to scrap the data collection. A wide range of human rights groups signed in solidarity with us; from Privacy International and the Open Rights Group, to Liberty and the Refugee Council. That was enough to get us press coverage in almost all of the national papers. At the same time, we launched a social media campaign to get the word out to as many schools and parents as possible: you do not have to answer the new questions on nationality and country of birth, and refusing to do so protects migrant children and sends a strong signal to government about the kind of society we want to live in.

And then the stories from schools and parents began to pour in: children being asked for passports, contrary to official guidance; schools targeting only foreign pupils for the new information in a clearly discriminatory way; schools wrongly telling parents that the new questions were mandatory; migrant children singled out and embarrassed in front of their classmates.

#BoycottSchoolCensus trended on Twitter, and well-placed FOI requests submitted by our brilliant sister campaign defenddigitalme kept the issue high on the political agenda. The House of Lords passed a motion regretting the new data collection on 31 October, with one peer remarking that it has “all the hallmarks of racism”. And long overdue scrutiny in the House of Commons is expected in the coming weeks, thanks to a motion tabled by Jeremy Corbyn.

Concessions

The first signs that the policy was crumbling came just before the debate in the House of Lords, when Lord Nash reportedly wrote to peers to say that the new data will not be held in the NPD due to its sensitivity. Then, the day after we met with civil servants at the Department for Education last week, the government announced another U-turn: it will not attempt to collect nationality or country of birth data on toddlers through the Early Years Census this January. Credit is due to the civil servants at the DfE who took the time to listen to the stories of the migrant families at the heart of all this: of the parents scared to send their children to school; and the migrant children told to “go home” by their classmates.

The fight continues

Now that the government is on the back foot it’s crucial that we keep the pressure up. We might have spared the pre-schoolers, but the nationality and country of birth questions are set to remain in the next School Census, due on 19 January. But if the data is unusable, the DfE won’t be able to justify its continued collection.

That’s why we’re encouraging all parents to answer ‘refused’ to the new nationality and country of birth questions. There’s no sanction for doing so, and absent a change of heart from government, or more concerted parliamentary opposition, this may be the only way to get this risky and divisive policy scrapped for good.

We have a long way yet to go, but the successes of the campaign so far show us just how much we can achieve when we work in solidarity against forces that initially seem much bigger and more powerful than we are: a note of quiet encouragement for these troubled times.

Report of the first Kids Against Raids and Borders Meeting

​On Sunday 20th November, about 20 children and adults came together for the first ever Kids Against Raids and Borders meeting. There were wide ranging discussions about the ways that racist violence is carried out through government agencies and individual actions.

Young people talked about their experiences of racism and everyone talked about developing strategies to avoid or stop harm creates by racists.

One 14 year old suggested using Snapchat to share resources about what Immigration Enforcement vans look like and what to do when you see an immigration raid or if a family member is questioned by an immigration officer (don’t talk as you can refuse to answer their questions). The group discussed how to raise awareness among their peers about the school census and what immigration controls actually involve, and ideas included making comics, leaflets and zines.

Young people also broke out into their own space to discuss ideas without adults dominating their conversation. Using memes like the Mannequin Challenge was an idea that KARB will look into producing.

Kojo from Against Borders for Children did a presentation and Q & A on the Government’s Foreign Children Database and the ongoing boycott of nationality questions on the school census. The campaign recently won a concession which now means pre-school children are now exempt from the nationality questions but 5 – 19 year olds will still be targeted in January.

We also watched a video of a Shutdown Yarls Wood demonstration by Sin Fronteras and they talked about how to make links with those in detention.

The next meeting will be set in the New Year. All are welcome to attend so contact us for more information and to keep updated.

Open Letter: #BoycottSchoolCensus continues – time for politicians to act!

Schools ABC logo

When we urged a boycott of nationality and country of birth data collection in schools, we feared the School Census would be used for third party purposes, including immigration enforcement. We didn’t know then that it already was.

It turned out that children’s names, home addresses and school details are handed out regularly to the Home Office, which has requested information on almost 2,500 individuals in the last 15 months.

How can anyone trust the Department for Education’s (DfE) assurances that that these new ‘foreign children lists’ will be used to support children’s education, and will not be given to the Home Office, when the National Pupil Database is already being used to target children?

Growing opposition to the policy now includes politicians across party lines in the House of Commons, following a successful motion of regret in the House of Lords. The National Union of Teachers has also felt compelled to remind the government that “schools are not part of policing immigration”.

In September we wrote to Justine Greening and asked her to scrap this risky and divisive policy. But the DfE plans to press ahead with it in January, when nationality and country of birth data will be collected from every child in state-funded education in England.

All schools and parents can respond ‘not yet obtained’ or ‘refused’ to these questions without fear of sanction.

We urge all politicians to speak up for the rights of migrant children and families, and to say no to foreign children lists.

Signed

Against Borders for Children

BARAC UK

defenddigitalme

Institute of Race Relations

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Latin American Women’s Rights Service

Liberty

Migrants’ Rights Network

National Union of Students – Black Students’ Campaign

Open Rights Group

Privacy International

Refugee Council

Right to Remain

Southall Black Sisters

New Group Launch: Kids Against Raids and Borders.

Sunday 20th November Kids Against Raids And Borders will gather 3.30 to 6.30pm at The Field, New Cross, London.

An interview with Swadhin from KARB.

  • What is KARB?

KARB is kids against raids and borders –  a new kid’s campaign.

  • Why did you want to set up this group?

Because I think there is space for one and there is a need for one. We need one. There is no real kid’s campaign in any of the movements now. There is nothing to get kids genuinely interested. Raids and borders are more of a metaphor for the state’s oppression itself in a way. Another reason is that raids and borders affect children most out of what the government does to oppress people.

  • Why raids and borders?

By raids I mean immigration raids – raids are when someone knocks on your door or stops you somewhere and asks you questions or tries to force you into a van or puts you in handcuffs or arrests you in some other way with no charge and no crime committed. This is purely about the government interest in getting rid of migrants.

Borders is because the government are making everything a border, schools, hospitals, policing (that has always been a border). All public service now have become a way to subject the many to more oppression.

  • Why do you think young people should get involved in groups like KARB?

Because not only are young people affected as much as adults but also our movement is pointless without a succession and children will most likely be the succession to campaign.

But also kids should participate in campaigns because we don’t get together enough  and it is also just a way of talking to each other about what’s on our minds and what school’s like and human interaction really.

The first meeting of KARB will be at The Field, 385 Queens Road, New Cross on Sunday 20th November from 3.30pm to 6.30pm. There will be activities for younger children and space and a meeting space for older children and teenagers to make materials for the campaign and plan future activities.

House of Lords Votes against Government’s foreign children database policy

houses_parliament

“…[T]here is real concern among members of different ethnic groups about victimisation and being targeted. I am afraid that this proposal has all the hallmarks of racism…

 

Children are children, and to use their personal information for immigration enforcement is disingenuous, irresponsible, and not the hallmark of a tolerant, open and caring society”

 

– Lord Storey, Liberal Democrat Peer who moved the motion of regret

Against Borders for Children is pleased to report that on the evening of Monday 31st October, the House of Lords passed a motion of regret against the government’s policy to draw up a foreign children database through the Department for Education.

This is an important step towards a significant victory for children’s rights to privacy, equality, and education. Ever increasingly, the government tries to co-opt ordinary people into the business of border control, whether they’re doctors, employers, or landlords. Last night’s motion sends a clear signal that government efforts to create a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants are facing a concerted backlash, and that immigration enforcement has no place in our schools.

We now call on the government to respect the vote and abandon the collection of nationality and country of birth data through the School Census. Especially as childminders and nurseries will be expected to collect nationality data from children as young as 2 years old on 19th January 2017 for the Early Years Census and Spring School Census. We will continue to urge parents and carers to refuse to answer these questions. We also ask schools, and professionals working with children not to put these questions to children and parents and instead to use “Not Yet Obtained” or “Not Known” for the relevant censuses.

“Parents are upset, not just about how this information might be used but because these questions are asked at all. They are fundamentally intrusive in the same way that the listing of foreign workers would be.”

 

– The Earl of Clancarty, Crossbencher

The Statutory Instrument enabling this policy was rushed through without scrutiny during the summer recess and the Lords have highlighted flaws with the legislation. Nationality and country of birth information for many pupils has already been collected through the Autumn School Census (PDF). However, some schools asked parents to provide birth certificates, passports, or other identity documentation, even though Department for Education guidance stated that this was not necessary.  Other schools asked only non-white children for the information, which is clearly discriminatory.

Parents are legally entitled to refuse to give nationality or country of birth data, but this right was often not communicated to them, causing significant confusion and distress. Our campaign has received hundreds of flawed forms, complaints and concerns from parents, children and school staff. We also welcome that the National Union of Teachers has released a statement in response to the policy reminding the government that “schools are not part of policing immigration”.

The Department for Education has stated that the new data is being collected to help it assess “the scale and impact of pupil migration on the education sector”, and that it will not be accessible by the Home Office. However, a recent Parliamentary question revealed that existing data on almost 2,500 individuals was requested by the Home Office between July 2015 and September 2016 for the purposes of immigration enforcement. Lord Nash had stated that country of birth and nationality data will not be held on the National Pupil Database due to its sensitivity, but previous DfE assurances on its data security and sharing with the Home Office have been proven to be false.

We and the thousands of parents and teachers who support us will continue to campaign to ensure that school is a safe place for all children, wherever they may come from. We look forward to more parliamentary opposition to the collection of nationality and country of birth information from children. The government must destroy the data it already has, and end data-sharing between the Home Office and Department for Education for immigration enforcement purposes.