Violence upsetting for young refugees

2nd November 2007 at 00:00
Child refugees are often shocked at the poor behaviour and "endemic" violence in British schools, new research has found.

They struggle to pass GCSEs at their first attempt, according to a study published by the charity Refugee Support. The Government should review qualifications from the point of view of refugees to better recognise their skills, it said.

Work carried out for the group by the Institute of Public Policy Research, the left-of-centre think tank, also called for free English lessons for adults to help them integrate into life in the UK.

The report is based on interviews with 30 refugees who arrived between 1956 and 2006. Those who arrived as children enjoyed less educational success than adult migrants, researchers found. "Interrupted prior education, coupled with a lack of English and curricular support in the UK, residential mobility and delays in accessing school places contributed to the underachievement of child refugees," they said.

Eleven of the 30 interviewees arrived as children from countries including Somalia and Afghanistan where conflict had led to schools being closed. Five of the children were unaccompanied by a parent.

"Recent arrivals were shocked by the poor behaviour and endemic violence in British schools," researchers found. "They received little support in learning English." Some were subjected to bullying.

"Many refugees also experienced long delays before they could find a school that would accept them," the report said. This included a four-month wait for an Eritrean child, despite guidelines giving him the right to education.

The Government was urged to review the system so that the existing qualifications and experience of refugees could be recognised here.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today