Brutal treatment of child refugees

4th March 2005 at 00:00
I was pleased to see TES Friday magazine raise the profile of young asylum-seekers (TES, February 4). We have worked with many families at Paddock junior, infant and nursery school in Huddersfield and they have become an important part of our school community.

Life in school is very difficult if you cannot communicate. We help children to work through the distress and aggression caused by this inability and have been pleased to see them grow in self-confidence and to achieve academically.

So it is with great distress that we hear of our families being taken away in the middle of the night by the immigration authorities without explanation.

Neighbours witnessed one family, including a four-year-old child, being taken away in handcuffs. In another family, four children ranging from four to 17-years-old, were taken without either parent. Their mother was in hospital with heart problems and she returned the next day to an empty house. The stress of the search to find her children led to a relapse and her return to hospital.

Leaving aside arguments about whether they should be here in the first place, we are shocked and disgusted that British society treats these children in such an inhumane way.

Not only do asylum-seeker children suffer, but the school loses children whose problems it knows about. No adult in school can explain to the children where their friends have gone.

As one sixth-former told your reporter: we don't treat dogs like that.

Julie Dempster

Deputy headteacher

Paddock junior, infant and nursery school, Huddersfield

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today