The reality of deportations

4th July 2003 at 01:00
WE are Tottenham teachers concerned with the disturbing tendency to demonise asylum seekers. At the school where we teach in north London we see the results of the Government's rush to meet deportation targets.

The reality is frightened children and anxious parents and the gradual disintegration of community life in what is a culturally rich area. The reality is children crying in class because they don't know whether friends are going to turn up for school again.

In the past year we have witnessed an increasing number of children being plucked from school to the bewilderment of staff and peers. Currently, at least eight pupils are under threat of deportation.

There is little clarity to this process. Once the letter arrives from the Home Office the families have no real idea when or to where they will deported. It could be next week, or it could be in six months. We know families who have had their belongings packed for a year before any definite date has been given.

The Government has stated many times that fair education for all is a cornerstone of its political agenda. Yet, we are seeing increasing numbers deported without any consideration for their education. Indeed, there have been cases where children have been removed on the eve of their GCSEs after years of hard study. There are many others working towards their GCSEs unsure of whether they will be able to sit the exams.

We urge the Government to stop these deportations now.

Seventy teachers and support staff Northumberland Park school Trulock Road Tottenham, London N7

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