Welcoming refugee children
Find out more about the experiences of refugee children in UK schools and how they make new connections in their communities.
Refugee children joining your school may well have experienced trauma and have disturbing memories of leaving home and the journey that followed. They are now likely to be confronted with classes without a single familiar face and no-one speaking their own language.
Any pupil joining a school or class other than at the start of a key stage has a challenging transition facing them. For children from refugee families, whenever they start school, the challenge of fitting in is likely to be most acute.
In many ways, the task faced by teachers is the same with regard to all new children. The goal is to make them feel welcome, provide support, encourage friendships, and make sensitive assessments about language needs, learning needs and wellbeing.
Creating refugee-friendly schools
These practical suggestions are intended to help teachers to create refugee-friendly classrooms. Some are obviously more applicable to younger children whilst others require greater maturity; but most will be of benefit to children of all ages.
Only teachers can decide which are appropriate in their teaching situation and relevant to their subject. Teachers must judge how to make them appropriate to the ages of their pupils and in secondary schools the subjects they teach.
The suggestions are grouped under six headings.
- Ask for help and support
- Provide induction
- Utilise the skills of other children
- Create a climate in which refugee children feel welcome and valued
- Make the curriculum accessible
- Classroom organisation