Toolkit to help migrant parents is unveiled

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

A toolkit to help newly arrived migrant parents navigate the school system in the UK has been published by academics.

It is aimed at schools and professionals working with families and covers primary through to secondary and further education.

It has been created by academics at Middlesex University because of the many differences that exist between the UK system of education and those in other countries.

The toolkit focuses specifically on the situation in England with signposting for education systems in devolved nations.

Key features of our school system that migrant parents may be unprepared for include:

  • Schooling starts earlier than in most countries, many children start at age four.
  • Children are placed in classes according to age not attainment and always progress to the next class.
  • There are many different types of schools in the state system.
  • Children that require it may receive extra help learning English.
  • Schooling and lessons are more informal than in many countries.
  • Physical punishment is forbidden in schools.
  • From 2015 all young people will have to remain in education until the age of 18.

The toolkit was originally written for Polish parents in 2010 but has been updated and adapted in light of the current refugee crisis affecting Western Europe.

Lead author of the toolkit, Professor Louise Ryan, said: “UK parents often find it very stressful finding school places for their children, so for migrant families, whose first language is not English, the experience can be very daunting. There is also so much that UK parents take for granted as it’s a system that they have grown up with but education differs from country to country. It’s essential that all children settle into school as seamlessly as possible so we hope that our guide will help migrant parents adapt to a new life and get the best start for their children.”


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