Migrants' Rights Network

Schools turning away migrant and disabled children out of concern for rankings

A review by the Chief Schools Adjudicator has revealed cases where schools turned away children who require additional services, including young asylum seekers and disabled children, all to protect their league table rankings.

As the Daily Mirror reports, schools ‘lied’ to parents by saying they are full when they weren’t. Others were refusing or even failing to reply to parents of asylum seeking children who had just arrived in the UK.

Chief Adjudicator Shan Scott, said in her annual report on school admissions that she was “concerned” that vulnerable children are being forced to “spend more time out of school than they should.”

Councils admitted in the report that the practice happened and was “most likely to occur” when a child turned up who had additional needs or who spoke little English – like asylum seekers or recently arrived migrants.

One local authority told Scott: “We have experienced some difficulty in placing refugee children who appear physically older than their cited age. Alongside concerns about language schools have raised concerns about admission of ‘age disputed’ pupils for safeguarding reasons.”

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Fabien Cante

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