27 October 2016
Commenting ahead of the Lords debate (1) on the nationality and country of birth data collection in the new school census, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union , said
“We understand the Department for Education has asked for details of pupils' nationality and country of birth on the basis that there is currently a dearth of information held to understand how effective the education sector is for foreign nationals. The NUT could support the collection of statistical data if it were solely used to improve educational outcomes for children who have recently arrived in the UK and who face additional educational challenges as a result.
“However, Government has not been entirely transparent about the uses to which individual pupils' information may be put; in particular, the third parties to whom such information may be disclosed. What we want is a guarantee from the Government that personal information will not be passed to the Home Office, so that it is clear that schools are not part of policing immigration. We fear that, otherwise, relationships between schools and parents will be badly compromised.
“Furthermore, we disapprove of the way in which information has been released from the National Pupil Database without informed consent. Government needs to ensure that use is consent based – again, so that relations between schools and parents are not compromised."
NUT guidance on the School Census: https://www.teachers.org.uk/equality/equality-matters/school-census
The Motion of Regret: in future business section, 31 October: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldordpap.htm
Lord Storey to move that this House regrets that information about pupils’ nationality and country of birth collected under the Education (Pupil Information) (England) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/808) could be used to help determine a child’s immigration status.
The Statutory Instrument