Ensuring children are welcomed into their new school and understand the education system is central to their wellbeing. Working with schools, teachers and pupils to help them understand the challenges their new classmates face will also foster a good environment in which children feel safe and supported.

Welcoming refugee children and families:

  • Ensure parents understand their important role in their child’s education.

  • Ensure parent(s) and Child(ren) are provided with a clear induction to the school and given the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

  • Ensure the class teacher is briefed and prepared for receiving refugee children in their class.

  • Assign a buddy for the new child to show them where things are in the school.

Practical issues

  • How is the child traveling to school? Ensure there is some liaison with parent(s) and support worker to clarify this.

  • School uniforms, school meals, what support is the school providing to assist with this?

  • Ensure pastoral care structures are in place to help support any child who might be having difficulties.

Assessment and learning

  • Assessment of English and prior learning by appropriately qualified English as an Additional Language (EAL) member of staff and review this regularly.

  • Think about how to use those subject areas which rely less on English, such as Maths and art.

  • Give the child time and space- they need to settle.


A range of information and good practice documents were developed as part of the National Refugee Integration Forum work. Whilst the education system has changed since the forums’ work ceased, the information related to Early Years, Primary, Secondary and 16-19 education provides a useful starting point for areas with limited experience with refugee children. NRIF education. 

The Schools of Sanctuary site provides a range of resources, links to films and lesson plans for teachers use.

Refugee children tell their story. This useful resource can help teachers understand something of what children may have been through and what it was like starting school.