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Schools fail to obtain nationality data on quarter of pupils

Dec 7, 2017 by

Schools fail to ‘obtain’ nationality data on quarter of pupils

Freddie Whittaker –

Parents refused to provide data on the nationality or country of birth of tens of thousands of children this year, government figures have revealed.

Nationality data was also “not obtained” for almost a quarter of pupils, which means the data had not been collected by a school when the forms were submitted.

The Department for Education has for the first time published data on the responses to new questions in the school census about nationality and country of birth.

The release, which is based on data from the spring census in January, shows the government now holds nationality data on more than 6 million pupils, and birthday country data for almost 6.2 million.

Campaigners called for parents to resist the data collection last October, especially in light of an admission by the DfE that it originally intended to pass the data to the Home Office for immigration control purposes but subsequently reneged this aim.

The government’s release today reveals that 2.1 per cent of requests for pupils’ nationality data were pointedly withheld by either the child or parent, equating to more than 170,000 of the 8.1 million pupils registered in schools this January.

The refusal rate for country of birth was slightly lower – 1.9 per cent – and represents refusals for just over 153,000 pupils.

Nationality data is “not yet obtained” for 22.5 per cent of pupils, which could be because the school refused to or failed to collect the  data. Country of birth data is yet to be collected for 20.6 per cent of pupils. These figures increased between the autumn and spring census.

Schools were given a legal duty to ask for the information last year, but parents are allowed to refuse to provide it.

Schools were also warned against asking for copies of passports or birth certificates after reports of some staff overreacting to the collection as a result of unclear government guidance.

Source: Schools fail to obtain nationality data on quarter of pupils

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