IMMIGRATION officials had failed to turn up at two Manchester schools to deport three pupils back to China as The TES went to press.
Headteachers John Mayes and Dai Williams had vowed to deny officials or police officers entry to their schools if they tried to remove Miao Hong Su, 15, and her brothers Jing, 14, and Zhao, 11, for deportation.
The children were due to be deported on Wednesday with their parents.
"They turned up to school as normal and we have heard nothing from anybody," said Mr Mayes of Astley high school, Greater Manchester, which Miao and Jing attend.
"In effect the children are now illegal immigrants. But for us no news has been good news.
"The children are obviously a bit depressed. But Mia has started her mock exams, and it is amazing that she can still focus on them."
Mr Mayes and Mr Williams, head of neighbouring Lyndhurst primary school, where Zhao is a pupil, claim deportation would traumatise the children and deprive the country of three high-achieving pupils.
The children's father, a chef at a Tameside restaurant, fled to the UK in 1992 after helping students who became involved in the ill-fated Tiananmen Square protest. He was later joined by his family.
The family's lawyers were not available for comment.
The headteachers and their staff want the Home Office to prioritise the welfare of the pupils, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of their parents' objections to deportation.