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Asylum seeker posing as schoolboy pictured - as investigation concludes he WAS over 18

PUBLISHED: 11:31 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:02 23 November 2018

Home Office chiefs and Stoke High School leaders launched an investigation after pupils shared an image of their classmate Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Home Office chiefs and Stoke High School leaders launched an investigation after pupils shared an image of their classmate Picture: CONTRIBUTED

CONTRIBUTED

A pupil suspended from Ipswich's Stoke High School after classmates said he may be as old as 30 is actually an adult, it has been reported.

Stoke High School in Ipswich Picture: LUCY TAYLORStoke High School in Ipswich Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Concerned Year 11s posted on Snapchat about a fellow student who they claimed was over 18 earlier this month.

School bosses and the Home Office launched an investigation, and it is understood an official report has now revealed he was over 18.

Officials confirmed they had closed the probe into the age of the student, who had claimed to be 15, last night.

Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs Stoke High, said the pupil is no longer attending school.

He is believed to be an asylum seeker from the Middle East.

Bosses at the trust also confirmed a second pupil, in Year 7, was not attending classes.

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

Sandy Martin, MP for Ipswich, said the Home Office “need to get their act together” to ensure adults cannot pose as children in the classroom.

“The Home Office needs to make sure that they are not sending people who are overage to school,” he said.

“They have the means to do this and they need to do it. It doesn’t help the young people involved any more than it helps the schools.

“I think the fact that it has had such a high profile in the news has made sure that the Home Office will do their job a bit better in the future.

“[Although] the history of the Home Office doing its job a bit better isn’t very encouraging.”

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.”

Stoke High School bosses have been contacted for further comment.

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