Supporting Asylum Seeker and Refugee Children

Sally Kendall, Caroline Gulliver, Kerry Martin

08 May 2007

Research report available to download from CfBT website

Executive summary available to download from CfBT website

The CfBT Education Trust commissioned NFER and Northumbria University Disaster and Development Centre to undertake two complementary studies focusing on educational support for asylum seeker and refugee children. NFER’s study focused on the support provided by local authorities (LAs) for schools, asylum seeker and refugee pupils and their families.

Key Findings

  • The study identified two models of LA support for asylum seeker and refugee pupils. LAs could be distinguished by the extent to which they adopted a ‘centralised’ or ‘mainstreamed’ approach to support. The centralised model was characterised by an approach in which the LA provided direct support to schools for asylum seeker and refugee pupils. The mainstreamed model focused on raising schools’ awareness of, and responsibility for, supporting asylum seeker and refugee pupils. In this model, LAs took a more strategic overview in relation to support of the client group.
  • Strategies for the successful admission of asylum seeker and refugee pupils included clear policies and procedures, a designated day for admissions, the appointment of a key worker, a pre-admission school visit and an admissions interview. Good practice identified regarding the admissions process included multi-agency panels identifying asylum seekers and refugees out of school and supporting admission, time specific targets for the admission of new arrivals; protocols for mid-phase admissions, and specific admission and induction procedures/toolkits for new arrivals in key stages 3 and 4.
  • A number of challenges in relation to the provision of LA training in this area were highlighted. The most common challenges identified were the funding of training and the availability of LA staff to deliver training. Furthermore, interviewees highlighted the difficulties faced by school staff obtaining release time to attend training events, particularly where training covered issues not perceived as having a direct impact on standards. Staff development programmes for teachers to meet these emerging needs were said to require additional funding, but also a lead from senior-level staff.
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