COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: House of Lords to end segregation of asylum children

Seven children's charities campaigning to change the Nationality, Asylum and Immigration Bill notched up a victory in the House of Lords last week.

A majority in the Lords supported the amendment tabled on the charities' behalf by The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Reverend Kenneth Stevenson, to allow asylum children to be taught in mainstream schools. The Bill excludes them from being taught alongside other pupils.

In a statement supported by the bishops of Durham, Hereford, Winchester and Salisbury, the Rt Rev Stevenson called the measure "unnecessary and pernicious". He added: "The Government is sending a message that discrimination and segregation are acceptable."

The charities - Barnardo's, NCH, the Children's Society, National Children's Bureau, NSPCC, Save the Children UK and UNICEF UK - are all members of the Refugee Children's Consortium. The Refugee Council is also leading criticism of the Bill.

The plans to exclude asylum-seekers' children from mainstream schools were defeated by a majority of just one vote.

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