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Enquire Blog

In the background, which is out of focus is a teacher holding a Scottish flag and showing a diverse group of children. The children are sitting around a table at the front, in a classroom. Two children sitting at the front are looking at a mini globe.

Supporting refugee and asylum-seeking children in their education

New resources from Enquire which provides information and advice around additional support for learning for refugee, asylum seeker families, and those who support them, writes Mohit Lakhanpal.

Part of our role, as the national advice service for additional support for learning, is to ensure that our information is available to those who are seeking it, when they need it and in an easily accessible way. Recently, we identified a gap in our services: the lack of tailored advice and guidance for asylum seekers and refugee families.

In response, over the last few months, and with support and guidance from the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC), we have worked to improve our provision. This has resulted in the development of a new downloadable resource, tailored specifically to refugee and asylum seeking families whose children may be entitled to additional support, as well as updates to our Moving to Scotland section and pages for professionals.

Here, we reflect on the steps taken to ensure a more inclusive and supportive experience for all.

The Need for Additional Support

In creating a more inclusive society, it is crucial to recognise the challenges faced by  refugee and asylum seeking families arriving in Scotland. Language barriers, social integration, isolation, trauma and interrupted education are all factors that can hinder their educational journey. This can be in addition to support needs that may already have been identified.

Our goal was to clearly and concisely explain the right to additional support for learning to new families arriving in Scotland, outlining both the entitlement as a result of the legislation (such as the ASL Act and the UNCRC) and how this is practically being delivered in local authorities and schools across Scotland.

This, and all the information on our website, can be translated into multiple languages through our Recite Me accessibility tool (accessed at the top right hand corner of the webpage).

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Empowering Parents and Carers

We recognise the vital role parents and carers play in a child’s educational journey, but we also appreciate how overwhelming navigating the Scottish education system can be to those new to Scotland.

Our new  quick read Supporting refugee and asylum-seeking families  in school clearly explains what additional support to learning is and what you’re entitled to as a family newly arrived in Scotland.

In addition, Our Moving to Scotland section addresses common concerns such as what is additional support for learning, what the law states and what your rights are within the Scottish education system. We have now added a new section reflecting on key questions from refugee and asylum seeking families. 

By empowering parents and carers, we aim to foster a collaborative and supportive education environment for the overall well-being of the child and family.

Supporting Professionals

As part of this work, we have also compiled information relevant to professionals supporting children from asylum-seeking and refugee families in school.

Specifically, we have signposted to practical resources on our I have a learner who needs support because pages to include learners from refugee or asylum-seeking families, as well as those who have English as an additional language. On these pages we share some fantastic resources from the Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS), such as their Welcome Packs for learners from P1 – S6, and Education Scotland’s Learning in 2+ Languages practical guide.

We extend our gratitude to the organisations who have helped us thus far and continue to support us in this area of work, as well as Enquire’s wider staff team for their invaluable contributions.

This is just one step as we strive to provide access to high quality advice, information and service for all, and specifically those seeking asylum or refuge in Scotland.  Please share these new resources and feel free to share any feedback.

Together, let us continue working towards a Scotland where every child and young person receives the right support to thrive.

Mohit Lakhanpal is the Communications Officer for Enquire

Resources

Quick Easy to read guide: https://enquire.org.uk/enquire-resources/supporting-refugee-and-asylum-seeking-families-in-school/

Moving to Scotland webpages: https://enquire.org.uk/parents/choosing-school/moving-to-scotland/

I have a learner who needs support webpages: https://enquire.org.uk/professionals/planning-delivering-asl/i-have-a-learner-who-needs-support-because/

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