Agenda item

Refugee and Asylum Seekers accessing Education in Plymouth


Dr Lucinda Ross (Education Improvement Officer) presented a verbal report to the Committee and highlighted the following key points:


There were 350 asylum seekers in the city with most receiving support from the national border agency. Nationally and locally there was no accurate data on the number of refugee and asylum seeking children accessing education in the city;


Through the school induction process the EMAT team were able to understand whether children/young people coming from asylum seeking backgrounds;


EMAT had provided 29 training sessions to schools across the city;


In 2014 Plymouth participated in the afghan relocation scheme, relocating afghan civilians that had served with British forces in Helmand province. At that time across the Council established systems, deploying Home Office grant funding for one year to support families in respect of welfare, health, accommodation and education. Aince then small numbers of Afghan families settled in the City and included 10 families with 25 children. EMAT had provided support to those children and training for teachers to support the families wellbeing. The children had made good progress with one young person going onto university. Case studies in this area contributed to the City gaining city of sanctuary status;


Between 2015 and 2021 the City welcomed people from the Syrian refugee population, with the overall number including 73 children under 18. These children presented with a greater need but were making good progress;


Several families within the Syrian community required additional funding even though funding from central government had ceased;


There were 15 children in the city under the vulnerable children resettlement scheme from Sudan, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. There had been no grant funding for those children but the EMA team were including them when working with schools as much as possible;


The homes for Ukraine people brought 57 children to the City plus ten 18 year old unaccompanied asylum seeking children into the city. The unaccompanied asylum seeking children were all attending City College and Suzanne Sparrow Language school and all were reported as making good progress. Reports from schools in the City state that all families were making good progress, although 3 families had returned to Ukraine;


In response to questions raised it was reported that:


There was a good wrap around package supporting families in their first year. For many families that good wrap around Care within the first year was adequate. Within each of the resettlement programmes, the majority of children presented with low levels of social and emotional behavioural needs. The group that presented with the most mental health needs were children from the Syrian resettlement programme. The government funding for wrap around care lasts for one year and after families were expected to gain work and to move into private accommodation. For several of the Syrian families, they had struggled with this which led to homelessness, living in temporary accommodation and children moving schools;


The Committee agreed to:


1.    Write a letter to the relevant minister highlighting that the one-year support package for refugee and asylum-seeking families had not been enough and encouraged the government to review the support packages in place and extend those packages;


2.    Note the verbal report

















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