Balding ’15-year-old’ who ‘looks 40’ still at school but is ‘taught separately’

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A supposed teenage student who parents suspected of secretly being "a 40-year-old" is still attending a Coventry high school but it's understood he's being taught separately.

The asylum seeker from Gambia joined the school in October, but his appearance raised red flags straight away.

He claimed to be 15, but seemed to have the physical appearance of a balding adult man.

One female student shared photos of him in a private Snapchat questioning his age, and the images then made their way onto Facebook where a number of parents commented about their concerns.

The student's mum was then called in by the school who said her daughter's behaviour amounted to bullying of another pupil.

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"I said, 'You can't really blame the children (for talking about it), he looks about 40'," the mum told Metro.

"They sort of nodded and said, 'Yes, we did have concerns but we've been told that he is in fact Year 11 age'."

Coventry City Council sent a letter to parents after the Gambian student began attending classes at the school, saying all necessary procedures had been followed in checking the age of the new starter.

Sarah Mills, head of education entitlement at Coventry City Council, wrote: "When pupils arrive in England and present an application for a school place, we, local authorities and schools, are obliged to process these applications.

"If there are concerns or doubts regarding a pupil's age at the time of application, schools and local authorities are able to ask for further evidence in the form of birth certificates and passports.

  • Parents demand answers as pupils say new classmate ‘looks like 40-year-old man’

"However, please note, on some rare occasions if pupils arrive as asylum seekers and alone, i.e. without parents, these may not always be available.

"I am able to confirm (the school) follows all of these procedures and always seeks the city council's support in such matters."

But despite her assurances that the pupil's age had been verified, the Home Office has reportedly launched an "urgent investigation" into the matter.

The Sun reports he is still enrolled at the school but has vanished from classes, with other students claiming he is being taught by himself in a separate classroom.

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.

A Home Office spokesman said at the time: "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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