The Department for Education (DfE) is said to be dropping the requirement, according to a report in Schools Week, which campaign groups are calling a “victory”. When asked for a response, DfE told HuffPost UK they declined to comment on the news.
Gracie Bradley, advocacy officer for Liberty, an independent campaign groups for human rights, said: “This is a huge victory for the teachers, parents and campaigners who stood up and refused to comply with this poisonous attempt to build foreign children lists. It gives huge hope that – if more people stand up and resist – we can succeed in dismantling the Government’s hostile environment policies piece by piece.”
However Bradley added that “until undocumented people are able to access vital frontline services without fear of being shopped to the Home Office, there will still be children in the UK robbed of their right to an education and worse”.
In 2016, the Government introduced the controversial requirement for schools to gather data about children’s nationality and country of birth. However parents were urged not to disclose the details by the Against Borders for Children campaign group set up by Bradley, as it was claimed that such data could be used against families by Home Office immigration enforcement.
“In a post-Brexit environment, kids are already precarious; they are already feeling like it’s not a good thing to be a migrant child and this further divides them,” Bradley told The Guardian.
At the time the DfE insisted the data was being collected and input to the national pupil database (NPD) to ensure children “receive the best possible education”. A DforE spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “It will be used to help us better understand how children with, for example, English as an additional language perform in terms of their broader education, and to assess and monitor the scale and impact immigration may be having on the schools sector.
“Data on pupils’ country of birth, nationality and level of English proficiency is collected through the school census in line with the national population census. These data items will not be passed to the Home Office. They are solely for internal Department for Education use for analysis, statistics and research.”