A probe is underway at a high school into claims a 30-year-old asylum seeker is posing as a teenage pupil after lying to UK authorities about his age.
GCSE students at Stoke High School in Ipswich, Suffolk, claim the student is actually a man twice their age who fooled Home Office officials to get an education.
It’s alleged his previous qualifications were not recognised in the UK and he was offered a place at the school after claiming to be a teenager.
One concerned parent, who did not want to be named, said: “This is extremely concerning.
“He has told students he has had to lie to go get into high school to complete his GCSEs.”
Another parent, who wished to remain anonymous, 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.”
‘How is there a 30 year old man in our maths class’
An image taken on Snapchat by one pupil is believed to show the man dressed in uniform in a year 11 maths class.
The text across the image reads: “How is there a 30 year old man in our maths class.”
It is understood the student in question would have gone through an age test, where they are asked questions about their past.
The Home Office is now looking into the claims to establish the individual and how he became enrolled at the school.
A spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”
A statement from Stoke High School spokesman said: “This is a matter for the Home Office. They are looking into this after we contacted them.
“We do not comment on individual cases but we have followed government and local authority policies and guidance, as we do for any asylum admissions matter.”
The school takes on asylum seekers as required.
In Scotland in 1995, a 32-year-old man spent a year at a prestigious school posing as a 17-year-old pupil. Brian MacKinnon, who called himself Brandon Lee enrolled at Bearsden Academy, Glasgow, in August 1994. Although he had been a pupil at the school in the late seventies, none of the teaching staff recognised him. His deception only came to light last month when he and two female classmates were on holiday in Tenerife. After a dispute in a tourist bar, Mr Lee was arrested. When Spanish police searched his hotel room, they found two passports - one showing him as a 32-year-old, the other as a 17-year- old.
The student accused of lying about his age is currently in year 11 after joining the school in September of this year.
He is believed to be from Iran and speaks very little English.
Pupils claim teachers are unable to properly communicate with him due to the language barrier.
But concerns have been raised that he is still studying at the school while investigations into his age are carried out.
One mum, whose son is in the same year, said: “Parents at the school have been pulling their children out of school left right and centre.
“Looking at photos of this man, he is clearly older than 30. How can someone like this be eating with children, changing with children and learning with our children while pretending to be a teenager?
“He could be harmless but he could also be a dangerous man. I am terrified to think what would happen if he started a relationship with a young girl who thought he was her age.
“My son has always said that he looks older and he says the man does not even speak English. He sits in the class but cannot speak or learn “What makes it worse is that the school has made no contact with any of the parents or called us in for a meeting yet we are all up in arms and worried about our children’s health and safety.
“Something needs to be done and soon because this is likely to be happening all over the country and the Home Office is doing very little to help.
“Undocumented people are being let into our country and no tests are being done to find out their age.
“I won’t have my son studying with a 30-year-old man.”
Others took to social media to share their views.
‘p****d off with the school’
Mum Hollie Dayinn said: “So My son’s school now let’s (sic) in ‘30 year old men’ claiming to be a 14 year old.
“He’s been there since the start of last term. That’s some huge security breach, apparently he sits on a bench at break times close to where a group of girls hang out just looking.
“Stoke High School Ipswich I applaud you.
“The school have failed to even send a email regarding this even though it’s all over.
“So unless you contact the school and wait for a call back it’s basically trying to be swept under the carpet.
“I’m p****d off with the school and the authorities for their inability to address this. It is a huge security breach these situations should be looked at closely.”
Mum Stacey Bonner, 31, wrote: “The school have confirmed to me by phone this morning that he is still attending school and there is nothing they can do until the Home Office prove his age.
“The school should have him removed immediately.”
Lee Northcott added: “I am shocked and outraged that this has happened when my son and nephew attends this school.
“They need to get to the bottom of this and get it resolved as soon as possible.”
But one man, Toby Bignell claimed to feel sorry for the asylum seeker.
Asking not to be named, he said: “It’s clear why he’s doing it, he’s an asylum seeker from another country whose qualifications don’t count for anything here so he’s just trying to get some qualifications so he can work and do something with himself.
“It is more an indication of how there isn’t anything in place for people coming from war torn places for refuge who actually want to work and contribute to the country that has saved them ultimately you’ve got to feel bad for the guy.
“He feels that this is what he has to resort to and he’s taking a big risk by doing so.”
Stoke High School is an co-educational academy in Ipswich, Suffolk with 668 students.
The school which is rated ‘requires improvement’ by OfSted gained Academy status in 2013.