A schoolgirl and her family are facing deportation in the middle of her GCSEs, with fears they could be sent back to Sudan where her dad is missing and presumed dead.

A campaign has been launched to keep asylum-seeking Ann Bashir at her secondary school in Hove, where she has studied since she arrived from Sudan in 2020.

Students have banded together to support the 16-year-old and her family in their bid to remain in the UK.

They had their claim for asylum rejected after they fled Sudan fearing prosecution for attending anti-government protests.

She fears that if they are sent back to the African country, they could be killed or detained.

The Argus: Cardinal Newman Catholic SchoolCardinal Newman Catholic School

Ann is in her final year of study at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove, where she is working towards her GCSEs.

Principal at Cardinal Newman, Claire Jarman, said: "The fact that she is 16, not even completed her GCSE year, and might not be able to complete it is hard to comprehend.

"It's pretty shocking that a young person trying to achieve an education has to endure this.

"She has become part of the school community, and she has made some very good friends.

"We know how stressful GCSEs can be at the best of times, and to do that with no idea where you could be in two weeks' time must be incredible."

The Argus: Sudan has experienced years of political instabilitySudan has experienced years of political instability (Image: PA / Associated Press)

Her father was arrested in Sudan, and none of Ann's family have been able to make contact with him since they fled the country by air.

He is presumed dead or imprisoned.

As a Coptic Christian, in a predominantly Muslim country, she fears persecution due to her religion.

Ann's application for asylum falls under the same as her mother's, due to her age, which was rejected on the grounds that their fear of persecution is not "a well-founded fear".

The Argus: Peter Kyle MPPeter Kyle MP

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, said: "How dare they. How dare the Home Office do this to a student in her final year, and about to sit GCSEs."

Ann and her family arrived in the city three years ago and settled in quickly.

Her sister is studying at the University of Brighton and Ann has been attending Cardinal Newman. They were staying with a family member while waiting for a home to become available.

In November 2022 they were offered accomodation in East London.

Asylum seekers cannot choose where they are relocated to, and they moved to a dedicated property in Tower Hamlets where they have to register in and out every day.

This means Ann and her sister have to commute for over an hour and a half each way to receive an education.

Peter added: "Ann is now commuting to Cardinal Newman from Tower Hamlets, if that is not evidence of a broken asylum system, nothing is.

"Punishing a child when the family is in an asylum claim process is heartbreaking and cruel."

The Argus: A Home Office immigration enforcement vanA Home Office immigration enforcement van

Teachers and students alike have launched a campaign to prevent the teenage girl and her family from being deported.

A group of student leaders at the school, from across several year groups, have arranged a vigil for pupils to show solidarity with Ann on Tuesday afternoon.

Headteacher Claire Jarman said: "The house captains have been fantastic in orchestrating a campaign and amplifying her voice in the most impressive and mature way."

A petition was launched to raise awareness of her case on Friday. It has recieved nearly 3,000 signatures at the time of writing.

The Home Office has refused to comment. A spokesman said: "The Home Office does not comment on individual cases."