Multiverse has commissioned a series of ITE sessions on Refugees and Asylum seekers from Bill Bolloten and Tim Spafford, who are acknowledged researchers and practitioners in the field. The sessions are constructed to enhance student teachers' knowledge about key issues and to support effective practice in teaching refugee and asylum seeker children in primary and secondary schools. The sessions will assist student teachers in planning for the diverse needs of pupils, raise educational achievement and promote race equality, well-being and community cohesion.
There are six sessions (listed below), two cross-phase, two primary, and two secondary. Each includes a session plan for tutors, a Powerpoint presentation with tutor notes and additional resources and reading - the majority of which are on-line.
1. Understanding the needs and experience of refugee children and young people.
This session aims to develop student teachers' understanding of the reasons why young people have left their homelands, of their needs on arriving in the UK, as well as of key terminology. The use of film clips provides an opportunity to hear directly from young people and to encourage student teachers to understand how to address the barriers to learning. The session considers the importance of school for refugee children and how school can provide stability, a daily routine and opportunities for refugee and asylum seeker children.
2. Teaching new arrivals
Asylum seeker and refugee children and young people who arrive in school at different times of the year, especially those who are new to English, can find it challenging to settle in and achieve. There is a growing body of effective school practice that supports the integration and achievement of new arrivals. The way in which teachers and schools support the integration and achievement of new arrivals can have an impact on their achievement and may also be a focus for Ofsted inspections.
3. Involving refugee parents and communities
This session aims to develop student teachers' understanding of the importance of parental involvement for refugee children's achievement. The session considers some of the barriers that refugee parents experience when getting involved in their children's education. Key aspects of work in schools that successfully involve refugee parents, along with the particular role of ethnic minority achievement (EMA) practitioners, are considered. The practice of one school, which has developed a range of approaches to making parents feel welcome and to building positive relationships, is explored.
4. Making refugee issues a core part of the curriculum
This session focuses on how Woodberry Down Community Primary School (London Borough of Hackney) makes refugee issues a core part of the curriculum. Many pupils are refugees (25%) from all over the world, including a significant number from Somalia and Nigeria. Curriculum development at the school is underpinned by a strong belief that equality matters and by a commitment to challenging discrimination. This session looks at what makes effective practice for promoting race equality and for developing a culturally diverse curriculum. It shows how literacy lessons can be based around a text about a refugee.
5.Teaching and learning about refugees: promoting community cohesion through the citizenship agenda
This session considers the importance of raising refugee issues and incorporating them within the Citizenship curriculum. It provides ways of promoting the global dimension in the curriculum, human rights and the celebration of cultural diversity. It also considers some of the tensions arising between the government citizenship agenda and the experiences of asylum seekers. Resources are suggested that can support pupils' consideration of issues around diversity, identity and community cohesion.
6. Promoting the well-being of refugee and asylum seeker children and young people
This session will develop student teachers' understanding of ways of promoting the well-being of refugee children and young people. With a focus on early intervention and prevention, the session looks at how refugee children can be supported to achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes. Factors that protect refugee children are explored, together with those that put them at risk, with activities to help student teachers plan positive interventions for promoting well-being. Holistic, multifaceted approaches and activities are proposed within a practice framework, recognising the very diverse backgrounds and experiences of refugee children and young people.