Minor Differences – Passport

Dear staff,

This is a passport. It is a legal document given to you by a government agency. Its purpose is to verify you are who you say you are, to aid in travelling to different countries and to apply for visas.

The cover of my new passport
Figure 1: A passport

This is a pupil passport. It is an internal document given to certain students by members of staff. Its purpose is to aid staff by informing them of a pupils strengths, weaknesses or any needs they may have.

A table showing the strengths and weaknesses of a fictional student
Figure 2: A pupil passport

If you send an email to ask for the name of a student to be updated, please can I kindly ask that you differentiate between these two documents?

When a request is received saying “<student> wants their name to be spelt <preferred> but all their labels and logins are spelt <current>” and I see a reply in the email thread with “it should be spelt like <preferred> but there is a mistake on their passport which is why it has been wrong on our system” and the student is a foreign national on a Tier 4 visa sponsorship, this can cause undue panic and alarm for myself and the admin staff while we investigate why the name is incorrectly spelt on their passport. This is especially so when we have had compliance visits from the Home Office in the past which are nerve-wracking at best.

Thanking you for your attention.

This was inspired by the “Minor Differences” series of comics by The Oatmeal (NSFW), and a few frantic minutes of my day.

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