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 _________________________________________________________

VIDEO: “I have the right to go to school and feel safe”

Young people from the Latin American Women’s Rights Service project: “Sin Fronteras” and the advocacy group Jawaab UK have come together to make this powerful video to promote our campaign.

Please share this and remind parents that they have until Wednesday 5th October to opt-out or their children’s immigration data may be obtained and sent to the Department of Education where it will be permanently and irreversibly stored. Parents will not be able to ask for this information to be deleted after this date, so the opt-out is crucial to protect their child’s data.

You can use our letter template to opt-out and email/write to your school TODAY.

Our letter to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education

greening

Download the PDF of this letter (signatories correct for September 2016)

Dear Secretary of State,

Collection of nationality and country of birth data in the Early Years Census and School Census

We are writing regarding changes to the Early Years Census and School Census, announced in May 2016. We are concerned that schools and other education institutions have been instructed to collect country of birth and nationality data on pupils aged 2-19 for the express purpose of helping the Department for Education ‘assess and monitor the scale and impact immigration may be having on the schools sector’, in the context of an effort to investigate ‘education tourism’ begun by your predecessor.

Nationality and country of birth data is already collected through the National Census, and teachers also already gather data on ‘English as an additional language’. The crucial issue is that the way that information has been collected up until now has meant needs were assessed without connecting immigration data to a child’s name or home address at national level. If the Department for Education wishes to make further resources available to schools, existing data sets should suffice. No explanation has been given as to how this extra data will assist in targeting provision to the schools and children who need it.

We are also concerned about children and families’ right to privacy. Although parents are not legally obliged to provide immigration data to schools, this right of refusal is not being uniformly communicated. School Census data is submitted to the National Pupil Database, which currently holds records on around 20 million people. A Freedom of Information request by Defend Digital Me has revealed that this data is already shared with other public authorities such as the Home Office and the police. Third parties, including newspapers, have also been granted access.

Without assurances to the contrary, our grave concern is that the new data collected will be shared with the Home Office and therefore potentially used for immigration enforcement purposes. We have already seen data sharing between the Home Office and other departments increase since the government announced its commitment to creating a ‘hostile environment’ for undocumented migrants. Such measures deter vulnerable children and families from accessing essential services, exercising their human rights, and participating on an equal basis in our communities.

Given the rise over recent years in xenophobic sentiment in the British media, as noted by the United Nations, newspapers granted access to the data may use it to single out and stigmatise schools attended by migrant children. Racist and xenophobic hate crime has soared since the EU referendum, extending to vandalism of migrant community centres, assaults on individual children, and murder. At this critical juncture, every organ of government should be moving to affirm the rights to dignity, safety and equality of all migrants in our society, rather than potentially exposing them to further attack.

Migrant children are not tourists or a problem whose impact needs to be mitigated. They are an integral part of what ought to be an open, multicultural and flourishing society. We would request that you reverse the requirement on schools to collect immigration data in advance of the first deadline for data submission, October 6 2016. We would also ask that you commit to protecting all children from the stigma of xenophobia, and the violence that accompanies it.

Yours sincerely,

Gracie Mae Bradley, Founding Member, Against Borders for Children
Zita Holbourne, Co-Founder / National Co-Chair, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts
Sabir Zazai, Chair of Trustees, City of Sanctuary
Jen Persson, Coordinator, defenddigitalme
Remi Joseph-Salisbury,  Founding Member, Critical Race and Ethnicities Network
Nick Dearden, Director, Global Justice Now
Liz Fekete, Director, Institute of Race Relations
Rizwan Hussain, Founder and Director, Jawaab
Saira Grant, Chief Executive, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Carolina Gottardo, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service
Bella Sankey, Director of Policy, Liberty
Stephanie O’Connor, Chair, London Campaign Against Police and State Violence
Wayne Myslik, Director, Migrants Resource Centre
Don Flynn, Director, Migrants’ Rights Network
Malia Bouattia, President, National Union of Students
Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group (signed 27 October 2016)
Gus Hosein, Executive Director, Privacy International
Jabeer Butt, Deputy Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation
Rita Chadha, Chief Executive, RAMFEL
Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council
Lisa Matthews, Coordinator, Right to Remain
Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters
Suresh Grover, Director, The Monitoring Group
Gargi Bhattacharyya, Co­Convenor, UK Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

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 forthcoming plans to collect information on the immigration status 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.

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 schools with large migrant populations. 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 wellbeing 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 _________________________________________________________