Saturday, 10 December 2016
Schools told to prepare for new wave of child refugees: Education chiefs warn of pressure on system as more than 750 children are brought to the UK from Jungle in Calais.
Schools have been warned to get ready for hundreds more child refugees over the coming months following the closure of the Calais Jungle.
More than 750 children have been brought to the UK under the Government’s transfer scheme from the migrant camp.
Data from councils shows they have processed 200 minors in the last month, with schools having to find them places.
More than 750 children have been brought into the UK from the recently closed refugee camp in Calais, France (pictured)
Local authority leaders have been told to expect more ‘in the high hundreds’ in the New Year.
Councillor David Simmonds, deputy chairman of the Local Government Association, said schools may be unprepared for the number of new arrivals.
He told Schools Week: ‘The Home Office has said we are expecting numbers in the high hundreds in the next few months. In my view there often isn’t enough support or information for schools.
‘We would like to see more rigour at the point of entry to the UK.’
Councils have been asked to find homes and schools for child refugees, but only 103 had volunteered to take part by May this year – meaning they are taking on most of the responsibility.
Earlier this year, members of the ATL teachers’ union expressed concerns that children with English as a second language required more resources than their peers.
Councils have already processed 200 minors in the last month from the Jungle (pictured) and the Home Office has told local authorities to expect even more 'in the high hundreds'
Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham, said: ‘The influx poses a major challenge.
'Schools will be expected to bring them up to speed in English education, in most cases, not knowing their story, what they are capable of, or even their age.
‘They will make it even more difficult for schools to balance books.’
‘The Government should have organised transitional classes.’
One school, Southfields Academy in Wandsworth, South London, specialises in teaching migrant pupils and will take 22 children from the Calais camp.
The school has an ‘international group’ which usually has about 150 children supported across five classes, with pupils grouped on their grasp of English, not age.
Unaccompanied children have been brought to Britain either under the Dublin Regulation because of family links, or under the Dubs amendment that requires the Government to give refuge to youngsters stranded in Europe.
In an update on The Jungle yesterday, immigration minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘We have been working with the French authorities to bring children eligible to come here.
Taking in the child refugees is part of the Government's transfer scheme, but local authorities are concerned that schools are unprepared to receive the chilren
‘More than 750 children have arrived. Many have been reunited with family members in the UK, while others are being cared for by local authorities across the UK.’
Following earlier claims by campaigners, Mr Goodwill insisted there has been no unexpected end to transfers from France since the closure of the camp in October.
He said: ‘More eligible children will be transferred from Europe, in line with the terms of the Immigration Act, and we will continue to meet our obligations under the Dublin Regulation.’
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘We work closely with local authorities to ensure that schools and those responsible for the care of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children receive the support and guidance they need.’
Posted by Bolton BNP at 23:32