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Stoke High pupil 'not at school' as Home Office closes investigation

PUBLISHED: 20:17 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 21:02 22 November 2018

Stoke High School in Ipswich Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Stoke High School in Ipswich Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

An inquiry has closed into the age of an Ipswich student following allegations the Year 11 pupil, who claimed to be 15, could actually have been as old as 30.

Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs Stoke High, said the Year 11 pupil – believed to be an asylum seeker from the Middle East – is no longer attending school.

The trust also confirmed that a second pupil, in Year 7, is not attending classes.

A Government spokeswoman said the inquiry into the Year 11 pupil’s age has now been concluded – but the findings will not be made public as the Home Office does not comment on individual cases.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “This is a matter for the Home Office. Neither a Year 11 student nor a Year 7 student is at the school. We cannot comment further on individual cases.”

Clarifying the Government’s position, the Home Office spokeswoman said: “We are fully committed to safeguarding children and are looking into the circumstances of this case to understand how it was handled.

“Age-disputed cases remain a challenging area of work in which no single assessment technique, or combination of techniques, is likely to determine an individual’s age with precision.

“In the absence of clear and credible documentary evidence, Home Office staff must rely on physical appearance and demeanour to make an initial assessment on whether a person claiming to be a child is under 18.

“If an individual is assessed to be under 18, but subsequent concerns about their age are raised – for example by a school – we will act quickly to reconsider the case.”

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