Labour’s Shadow Secretary of Education has said a plan to give British children priority access to the best school places, before illegal migrants, is “disgusting” and anyone who supports the idea is against “British values”.
The plan included asking to see passports before accepting new pupils and giving children legally in the country first access to the most sought after school places.
According to Cabinet letters leaked to the BBC, the policy was recommended when Theresa May was Home Secretary, but resisted by then Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.
All under 16s in the UK have a right to an education, regardless of their parents’ circumstances, and the measures were later dropped from the Immigration Bill. The change was understood to have left Mrs. May furious.
Following the leak, speaking on BBC radio Thursday morning, Labour’s Angela Rayner (pictured left) said she was “deeply concerned” by the “terrible idea”, adding:
“It’s not a policy that anyone who shares British values and wants to represent the British people of this country should be thinking is an appropriated way for a government to act.”
She then dismissed the suggestion that “people with British values” might see it as “not fair” for “people who should not be here” to get good school places instead of their children by calling for more money to be spent on schools.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education argued that the measure would increase segregation and the risk of ‘radicalisation’.
“The overall effect of a deprioritisation measure would be to concentrate children of illegal migrants in the least popular schools in any area, jeopardising our increasingly important focus on tackling both segregation and extremism, and with consequent impacts on the children of British nationals who attend the schools,” the department said.
However, defending the policy proposal, the government said in a statement to the BBC:
“It is only right that any government looks at a range of options when considering policy options, but ultimately it is for ministers to decide which policies are taken forward.
“We are building a system that works in the best interests of the British people and ensures that only those with a right to be in the UK can live and work here. We do not comment on leaked documents.”