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Student ‘no longer attending classes’ after dispute over age claims

PUBLISHED: 07:26 03 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:44 03 November 2018

Stoke High School Ormiston Academy, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Stoke High School Ormiston Academy, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

The Home Office should have done their job properly in the first place, says MP Sandy Martin after a pupil at an Ipswich School is investigated amid claims he has lied about his age.

The Labour MP has spoken after students at Stoke High School - Ormiston Academy raised concerns that one of their peers has been lying about their age - and is in fact 30.

The pupil in question claims to be 15 years old but classmates have claimed he has been lying about his age to the British authorities so that he can get education here, as his previous qualifications from his home country are not recognised in the UK.

Mr Martin said: “The Home Office should have done their job properly in the first place. From the very start they should have carried out due diligence to stop this from happening.”

The Home Office has now taken on the investigation into the age of the individual and how he became enrolled at the school and Mr Martin is awaiting the outcome.

“A speedy response and Home Office hardly ever go in the same sentence together,” he said.

The academy trust has today confirmed in a statement that the pupil “is not attending the school at this time”.

The Home Office said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

Howeverm, they explained that if there is a doubt about someone’s age as part of an immigration case, they can arrange for social workers to undertake an age assessment.

The department provides guidance for staff to follow when dealing with individuals whose age is in doubt and where there is no reliable documentary evidence to support the claimed age.

It says the claimant must be treated as an adult if their physical appearance and demeanour “very strongly suggests that they are significantly over 18 years of age”.

A concerned parent who did not want to be named said: “I had to persuade my son to go to school today. He really didn’t want to go as he felt uneasy knowing that a man twice his age could be sharing the dinner hall with him.

“He said that the school was very quiet today and a few of his friends didn’t come in.”

An image taken on Snapchat by one pupil shows the man, dressed in uniform, during a year 11 maths class. The text across the image reads: “How is there a 30 year old man in our maths class.”

Mr Martin added: “I am not at all surprised that parents are upset but I think that the school is still and extremely safe environment.”

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