Pupil said to resemble '40-year-old man' has 'vanished' from school

A pupil said to resemble a balding man has ‘vanished’ from his school after an investigation was launched into parents’ concerns.

Parents had demanded answers after the asylum seeker’s classmates took pictures apparently showing the student with a receding hairline. The Home Office launched an ‘urgent inquiry’ into the reports when they emerged in October, but is now refusing to give any further update.

Parents of children at the school in Coventry have since told Metro.co.uk that the schoolboy did not return to his upper year group after the October half term, but they have not been told why.

One said: ‘He was at the school up until half-term, but didn’t return after that.

‘No one knows if it was because of the school realising it’s not normal to be balding at secondary school, the Home Office investigation or the media interest in the case.

‘Either way, he seems to have vanished.

‘The general feeling among parents is that they are bemused and untrusting.

‘Parents have been told that sharing images of children is wrong and is a form of bullying, they’ve not been told what action was taken.’

Two other parents also said that the student had been removed, with one saying she had contacted the school to ask why.

Schoolmates had questioned his age after he enrolled in October and pictures emerged in which he appeared to be balding.

After one of the images was posted on Facebook, more than 70 parents responded, with many saying they intended to take the matter further.

One said at the time: ‘Pupils were coming home saying there’s a man in our class, some were even saying they reckoned he could be aged up to 40.

‘He has a thin hair line and apparently he has no birth certificate or passport. He might be the right age, he might not.

‘Either way, parents would like some clarity.’

None of the parents at the school – which Metro.co.uk is not naming – wanted to be identified.

They demanded answers after the council said in a letter that procedures which it did not specify had been followed in checking the pupil’s age.

It’s understood that the Home Office then launched an ‘urgent’ investigation into the reports.

In October, a spokesperson said: ‘Our asylum system is broken and in drastic need of reform.

‘We will seek to stop abuse of the system while ensuring it is compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes.’

However the Home Office has since refused to comment further on the case and has forwarded all requests for updates to Coventry City Council.

A spokesman for the council also refused to comment.

In November 2018, an asylum seeker was suspended from a secondary school in Ipswich after an investigation by the local authority verified he was over the age of 18.

The man’s Year 11 classmates at Stoke High School raised the alarm, saying on social media that they believed he was as old as 30.

However age assessments have also been said to have penalised genuine young people seeking a better life in the UK.

Two asylum seekers who arrived in the UK alone told The Guardian this week how they were denied education after being assessed as adults.

One said he was 17 but was told he was 28 after a three-day age assessment, which led to him being moved to adult education which he has not been able to continue.

Kalyani McCarthy, a Red Cross project worker, told the newspaper that ‘the majority of young people are genuine’ and can be adversely affected if age checks are carried out unnecessarily.

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