A top agricultural college is mandating Covid vaccines for all pupils aged 16 and 17 who use campus accommodation, stables and sporting facilities.
Up to 500 pupils at Hartpury College in Gloucester must provide evidence of their first vaccine after the autumn half term or risk losing their place in halls.
This is despite the government signalling the vaccine must be voluntary for under-18s, and should not be a ‘barrier’ to education. The college, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, offers A-levels and diplomas and specialises in agriculture, animals, equine and sport.
Many pupils choose to live on campus because they come from elsewhere in the country.
One parent of a Hartpury pupil said: ‘We are extremely worried. ‘We don’t want to ruin her chance of doing the course, but we also don’t want her to have a vaccine at the moment. We don’t know what to do.’
Molly Kingsley, of parent group UsForThem, said: ‘Education is a fundamental human right and policies of “no jab, no education” prejudice this. ‘Voluntary informed consent is the bedrock of trust in vaccination programmes.
‘Making access to education contingent on vaccination undermines that trust, and informed consent morphs into coercion. ‘We urge the college in question to rethink this flawed and discriminatory policy as a matter of urgency.’