Author: KATIE HARRIS
The 15-year-old male student – believed to be an asylum seeker – joined Stoke High School this year to take his GCSEs.
But a fellow pupil has accused him of being 30-years-old, after the student allegedly told his classmates that he had to lie to get into the school.
Posting a picture of the individual on messaging app Snapchat, the pupil said: “How’s there a 30-year-old man in our maths class.”
The school confirmed that the student had been taken out of school and the Home Office have been alerted.
A spokesman for the school said: “This is a matter for the Home Office and we have referred it to them.
“The student is not attending the school at this time.
“We can not comment further on an individual case but we have followed Government and local authority policies and guidance, as we do for any admissions matter.”
Worried parents have voiced their concerns over the incident.
One parent said: “My son goes to the school and it is not a nice thought that this man is around children and sitting with them at lunch.”
Another parent added: “This is extremely concerning.
“He has told students he has had to lie to go get into high school to complete his GCSEs.”
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin admitted he was “not at all surprised the parents are upset”.
Mr Martin advised concerned parents not to take their children out of the school, insisting it is an “extremely safe environment for children”.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”
When age is disputed in immigration cases, the Home Office can order an age assessment.
Social workers will assess an individual’s height, build, facial hair, voice pitch and mannerisms to determine their age.
But because age assessments are not guaranteed to be accurate, guidance states the principle of “the benefit of the doubt” must be applied.
According to a report published in March by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration the “benefit of the doubt” policy was being used “too readily” to unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
Of 618 age dispute cases resolved from July 2016 to June 2017, 65 percent of claimants were found to be over 18.