Refugees into Schools
Refugees into Schools offers a unique opportunity for London pupils to increase their understanding of why people become refugees and learn about the impact of war and persecution. It does this by supporting refugee volunteers to talk with children about their experiences of conflict overseas and seeking asylum in the UK. For our volunteers this is an opportunity to learn more about London's schools, to gain experience and confidence in public speaking and to explore how they might become more involved in the city's civic life.
I strongly believe that sharing one's experiences with others contributes towards a happier and more balanced society. I feel it is my duty to have a positive impact on our children's education as a token of gratitude to Britain and to the British people for accepting refugees as part of their society' RiS volunteer
The project also provides tailored training sessions and information for schools and refugee community organisations on the opportunities for better partnership working. We produced two publications 'Understanding Difference:how working with refugees can help your school' and 'Engaging with schools: a guide for refugee community organisations' in March 2011, which are based on the project's learning so far. Following feedback from schools, we have also put together a resource pack to help teachers prepare for or follow up on a refugee's visit, or to help them introduce the subject to their students.
What have we learned?
From presentations to well over 100 classes across London our feedback shows:
- 71% of pupils said they knew little or nothing about refugees before the session (based on 2,360 returns).
- 99% of pupils said that the session had helped them understand why people become refugees (based on 3,623 returns).
- 99% of schools said, following the visit, they plan to develop their curriculum to be more culturally inclusive and further embed work on refugees.
- Both pupils and teachers commented that the visits helped refugee and asylum seeking pupils talk about their own experience.
One primary school recently sent us some of the work that pupils had done on refugee issues following our visit. Click here to see their posters!
Resources for schools
Schools taking part in Refugees into Schools asked our team for activities as preparation for or follow up from a refugee visitor. Our first Resource Pack for Schools was published in October 2011, and contained activities and links to resources for all ages and specific sections for primary and secondary pupils. It is available here.
The second volume of our Resource Pack is now available. It is a brand new document and features up-to-date asylum and immigration figures, and a number of activities to understand better about asylum and the actualities of being a refugee. Please click here to download it.
We have also produced a special Olympics and Sports edition in time for the Games this summer.
We produce a project newsletter every 2 months. Our latest edition can be downloaded here. Previous editions were published in July 2012, May 2012, March 2012, January 2012, November 2011, September 2011, July 2011, May 2011, March 2011, January 2011, and November 2010.
If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter or have any comments regarding our school visits or resource packs, please email email@example.com.
Watch one of our volunteers giving his Refugees into Schools presentation
One of our most active speakers, Mo, kindly agreed to give a demonstration of his presentation for the camera so that we could share it with others. Watch it here.
Watch two of our volunteers talking about their experience
Toghrul is a journalist from Azerbaijan who took part as a volunteer with Refugees into Schools. He is keen to retrain as a maths teacher in the UK and this project gave him the experience of being in a UK school.
Hassan is a teacher from Somalia who volunteered with Refugees into Schools. He is applying for a PGCE to teach science in secondary schools. Hassan has also represented the project at borough-level meetings in London and training that Employability Forum delivered for refugee community organisations.
Refugees into Schools is funded primarily by London Councils.
London Councils is committed to fighting for more resources for London and getting the best possible deal for London's 33 councils. London Councils has a website about its grants service. To read about their grants funding and the work they support please visit www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/grants