The researchers suggest there could be around 120,000 undocumented migrant children living in the UK. ‘Undocumented’ describes migrants who have been refused asylum, overstayed visas, are experiencing problems with their immigration applications or, to a lesser extent, have gained unauthorised entry. The family’s irregular immigration status means that little is known about their lives or the families’ livelihoods in the UK and such children often endure poverty and deprivation without the same level of support given to other migrant children.
The pupils at Capital City Academy in Brent, northwest London, have spent the last few weeks discussing and interpreting five scripted monologues, based on interviews with migrants, at drama classes after school. After working on themes through interpretation and improvisation, they staged a public performance at their school. It highlighted the plight of migrant children and their families, exploring issues such as getting into a school or finding a doctor.
Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration and Citizenship at Oxford University, said: 'This project is not about who to blame for undocumented migration. It encourages young people to think about what it might be like living in the UK without papers, and to use the knowledge they develop from this process to engage with one of the most critical of contemporary debates.
'Using theatre creates an alternative space to explore the sensitive, politicised issue of migration. Students and the audience have an opportunity to think about the experiences of real people rather than abstract academic arguments.'