Government faces High Court challenge for collecting data on school pupils’ nationality and country of birth

The Independent reports that since last September, guardians and carers in England have been asked to state whether their children are foreign nationals as part of the school census. 

It emerged shortly after the policy was introduced that the Department of Education (DfE) had agreed to share the personal details of up to 1,500 schoolchildren a month with the Home Office, as part of the Prime Minister’s “hostile environment” agenda towards migrants.

Campaign group Against Borders for Children (ABC), which is bringing forward the case represented by human rights group Liberty, argues that the new policy should be overturned because it is a violation of the rights of children and their families to a private life.

The group says it is unlawful that parents were not told the data would be shared with the Home Office, and argues that the collection of the data serves no identifiable educational purpose.

It has been condemned by the House of Lords and by numerous organisations, including the National Education Union, Privacy International, the Refugee Council and Liberty. 

The legal challenge, which will begin with the issuing of proceedings at the High Court in London on Thursday, has been supported by a crowdfunding campaign launched last month on CrowdJustice, which has so far raised more than £4,000. 

Lara ten Caten, lawyer for Liberty, said the organisation was proud to be representing ABC in their challenge to the “toxic” policy, adding: “The Government cannot even explain why it needs to know children’s nationality and country of birth in order to educate them. Teachers have been transformed into immigration officers, but have told us they would not ask these pointless questions if the Government did not force them to.”

Read more Government faces High Court challenge for collecting data on school pupils’ nationality and country of birth

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