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Pilot project worker – The Children‘s Society LEAP project
Introduction to Report on Pilot Project Summary of findings during the pilot project Recommendations based on the project work Data produced by Andy Humphreys, Research and Information Officer Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 – Graphs showing average contact time, number of pupils for January 2005 – April 2006 Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 – Graphs showing average contact time, number of pupils for January 2006 – January 2007 Data produced by Michael Richmond-Coggan (Pilot project worker)
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Referrals to the pilot project - families contacted / supported 9 Fig. 5 – Table showing a summary of the support provided. 10 Number of families contacted or supported Evaluation of the pilot project in terms of the year of birth and location of the family. Referrals from the Home Office Referrals from other organisations and CART Asylum seeking families with specific needs who require little support Asylum seeking families with multiple needs who require significant support Supporting contact between the school and the family. Supporting the family to get access to their financial entitlements. Supporting the family to get access to legal representation 10 11
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Supporting the family in accessing free bus passes Supporting a CYP to use the MyBus Service Supporting families in accessing free English classes (for the parents) Making links with the community Registering CYPs and families with a GP or referral to the Health Access Team Un-accompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) in the care of social services Supporting Education Leeds to locate UASC who have been moved by CART The impact of age disputes on the admissions process Supporting a UASC to access a place in school or college Assist UASC accessing health care provision Fast Track admissions to City of Leeds High School Other issues surrounding the accommodation of UASC into mainstream schools Suggestions for the development of further support Additional information The Community Cohesion Project and the Wedge Programme Ethnicity distribution and implications for New Arrivals The role of the housing provider
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1) Examples of good practice in Manchester 2) Referrals made to the LEAP project by schools in South 3) List of schools contacted by the LEAP project 4) List of individuals consulted during the pilot project 26-27 28 29 30
The need for this project was identified by the Children’s Society’s LEAP Project , in conjunction with Education Leeds Admissions team, in response to the high numbers of refugee and asylum seeking families that require support accessing a school place. The Admissions team and the project workers at the LEAP Project observed that some of the children and their families require practical and emotional support in order to access education. Education Leeds has one worker who is responsible for co-ordinating Admissions and Transport for refugee and asylum seeking children. Given the high numbers of children without school places, it is apparent that this post alone does not have the scope or capacity to address the scale and complexity of the problem. It has also been suggested by Education Leeds that this need for extra support has affected the efficiency of the Admissions team and its ability to place children quickly. This pilot project has set out to explore the impact of having a worker working alongside Education Leeds Admissions team to provide this additional support. In addition, the project has explored any additional barriers to children gaining access to education in Leeds through consultation with education providers. The LEAP project already works with Education Leeds to provide some of the support needed: • Early Years funded work to support refugee and asylum seeking children, aged 4 to 13 years old • A Connexions programme to support young refugees and asylum seeking people (aged 13 to 19) into education, employment and training. The pilot project gave LEAP the opportunity to work closely alongside Education Leeds to support children aged 4-18 years old with the exclusive focus on accessing school places or appropriate education. Summary of findings • The pilot project worker considered 69 individuals for additional support and provided additional support to 58% of those referred. 20% have needed support beyond school admission. Most families requiring support had limited English and required the involvement of interpreters in order to understand UK systems. Support was provided to children and their families in the following areas: Assistance with negotiating transport, bus routes and bus passes.
Access to financial entitlements Access to legal representation Enrolment for adults in ESOL courses. Making social links within the community. Enabling access to health care. Assisting with disputes relating to education applications. •
There is evidence that the involvement of the pilot project worker in providing support to children and families and the wider involvement of the LEAP team has had a positive impact on Education Leeds Admissions team’s ability to deal efficiently with applications. It seems that there is a particular difficulty for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in gaining access to education. This may be due to age disputes and also difficulties schools have in catering for young people aged 15 and 16, with limited English and differing cultural experiences and expectations. In some cases, it seems that families had not received sufficient orientation support into their local area – something that is the clear responsibility of housing providers. Secondary schools contacted highlighted needs for ongoing one to one support for some refugee and asylum seeking young people in school. Need was also identified in relation to tensions between new arrivals and existing students at some schools. There was some interest in group work to promote understanding of cultural diversity between pupils. (LEAP already offers this work in primary schools and feedback about this was positive). Schools who take smaller numbers of new arrivals were finding it particularly difficult to accommodate these children and young people. This was felt to be due to a lack of experience and structures within the school to meet the needs of this group. There was a high level of need for ESOL amongst adults within families – particularly in East Leeds. It is hoped this will be addressed through the development of ESOL centres for parents through the Community Cohesion project if sufficient resources are available.
Recommendations • The ISCB consider continued funding for this post to enable ongoing support for children aged 4-18 years old in order to improve access to appropriate education. This would include offering one to one support work for children and families. This could also include funding for pilot work to promote understanding of cultural differences and diversity within secondary schools. Education Leeds to work with the Children Asylum Refugee Team, schools and FE colleges to consider further strategies for meeting the educational needs of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – particularly those aged 15 and over and those involved in age disputes. Further research into the role of housing providers in orientation and induction. Liaison with the Home Office, through the Children’s Society Policy team, in relation to concerns about levels of service provided. Support by Education Leeds of the Community Cohesion Project to continue and consider a particular focus on East Leeds.
Detailed Report Impact of the Pilot Project and support of LEAP project on admissions The statistics team at Education Leeds have provided detailed information on the contact time (i.e. the time between referral to the admissions team and removal from the admissions list) for the last 2 years (January 2005 to January 2007). Some clear trends that can be observed. The length of contact has clearly decreased over 2 years. In January 2005 the average contact time was more than 400 days. (fig. 1) The current contact time is around 20 days. (fig. 3) This is mainly due to a change in the way that contact time is measured and the amount of support that is provided by the admissions team. In more recent months contact has been reduced to a minimum with any extra support being provided by referrals to other agencies. Two project workers from The Children’s Society LEAP project provided support to the Admissions team from September 2006. This involved contacting families, after referrals from the Admissions team, and supporting them with their particular needs. In November of 2006 the extra support provided by the pilot project was introduced to directly work alongside the Admissions team and provide brief intervention work. The increase in the number of pupils in September (fig 1 + 3) can be seen clearly in 2005 and 2006. However the contact time shown for 2006 continues to decline. This indicates that the support provided by the LEAP project enabled the Admissions team to maintain a high turnover of contact. The number of pupils peaks at 28 pupils in September 2006 and remains relatively high compared to January 2005. (fig 4) However the contact time has stabilised, from September to January, at between 20 and 40 days. (fig 3) This suggests that the support work has enabled the Admissions team to maintain a low contact time whilst placing a high number of pupils into school. Between September and January 2006/7 the contact time was between 20 and 40 days. The number of pupils contacting the admissions team has grown over the year but the contact time has gradually reduced and seems stable. (fig 3 + 4) The number of pupils contacting Education Leeds was higher in 2006 than in 2005 in the month of December. The number of students peaks in January and is due to a backlog of applications during the Christmas holiday. In January 2006 the contact time doubles (fig 1) and remains high for three months. The continuing fall in January 2007 suggests that the support provided has prevented an increase in contact time created by high numbers of students requiring support. (fig 3) It will be important to examine the contact time for February and March to establish if this is a continuing trend. (These figures are not available at the time of writing, March 2007)
Fig. 1 Graph showing the average length of contact time in relation to time. January 2005 – April 2006. (Provided by Andy Humphreys, Research and Information Officer, Performance Management and Information Team)
Fig. 2 Graph showing the number of pupils making contact per month. January 2005 – April 2006. (Provided by Andy Humphreys, Research and Information Officer, Performance Management and Information Team)
Fig. 3 Graph showing the average length of contact time in relation to time. January 2006 – January 2007 (Provided by Andy Humphreys, Research and Information Officer, Performance Management and Information Team)
Pupils making contact
Fig.4 Graph showing the number of pupils making contact per month. January 2006 – January 2007. (Provided by Andy Humphreys, Research and Information Officer, Performance Management and Information Team)
Referrals to the Pilot Project
It has been important to keep accurate records of the number of pupils that I have had contact with. As a result a basic spreadsheet detailing key data about children and young people was developed. The following data was recorded: • Name • Type of client (Unaccompanied Minor, Accompanied child or young person) • Was support required? • Date of birth • Postcode • Address • What is the outcome? • What month was referral? A total of sixty-nine individuals have been discussed during referral meetings with Abdul Jalloh in the period of November 2006 to March 2007. • 48 individual referrals came through the Home Office directly to the Admissions Team. • 3 individuals were referred from another organisation to the LEAP project • 17 Unaccompanied Minor referrals were made to the Admissions team from CART. • 1 individual referral for support came from City of Leeds High School but was not related to admissions. Of the 69 referrals, 56.5% (39) are in school. 5.8%(4) are at college, 14.6%,(10 are on a waiting list (they are all Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children)) 13%(9) are currently unknown and have been registered with the Children Missing Education Committee. 10.1%(7) referrals are yet to be contacted at the time of writing.
Number of CYP in school / college / other 45 40 35 30 No. of CYPs 25 20 15 10 5 0 CYP Status
On waiting list
Fig. 5: Table showing a summary of the support provided by the pilot project. Data provided by Michael Richmond-Coggan (Pilot Project Worker, LEAP)
Number of families contacted or supported.
It is necessary to consider the number of contacts made in terms of the number of families that were supported as this gives a better indication of the amount of support provided. For example, of the 69 referrals, 17 were unaccompanied minors. The remaining 52 children belonged to 30 families. The pilot project worker worked with 14 families – 12 from the Home Office and 2 from other sources. This is just under 50% of the total client group. When the 6 Children Missing Education families are considered there are 24 families remaining. Therefore 58.3% of possible cases received some support from the pilot project. This suggests that there is a large need for support. 20% of families that were contacted by the pilot project worker have required ongoing support.
Average ages of young people supported
An average was taken for the year of birth for all children and young people that were referred to the Admissions team between November 2006 and March 2007. The average was found to 1995 (which translates to an age of between 12 and 13 years old. When considering the average, and not including the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, the average drops to 1996 i.e. an 11 or 12 year old. This suggests that secondary schools may need more support than primary schools.
Location of families and young people supported
The postcode area with the highest number of pupils was LS9 (12 families) followed by LS11 (6 families), LS7 (4 families) and LS8 (3 families). A shortage of schools with available places, in the LS9 area has resulted in a number of pupils having to travel to City of Leeds High School. The extra cost of bus passes for families has been a major problem and two families have been supported by the LEAP project with bus vouchers. There is some concern that of the 6 families that live in LS11, four have become CME cases. More research is needed to see if there is any correlation between the area in which a family is housed and the likelihood of them going missing.
Referrals from the Home Office
The Home Office referred 34 families to the Admissions team during the period between November 2006 and December 2007. Within these families there were 48 children of school age that required a school place. 6 of these families (8 children) did not require any support (from the pilot project worker) getting a school place. They may have received help from Education Leeds. Of these 6 families at least one adult family member could speak good English. 7 children from 4 families have yet to be located and / or visited. 6 families (with 9 children) have been reported to the CME board. (Children Missing Education) They may have moved to a different city, been deported or gone into hiding. 12 families needed some kind of support. This included supporting Abdul Jalloh in trying to contact families and clarify their educational status: • • • • Going to a house to visit to a family (with a colleague) to establish their children’s current educational status with a family member. 5 families with 6 children. Contacting a family or school via telephone and confirming the child’s educational status.2 families with 9 children Making a referral to a colleague who was situated in the school. This allowed us to monitor a child who was of particular concern. 1 family with 1 child Helping a family to access a school place and then continuing to support the family – see case studies below. 4 families with 8 children
See table 1 below for a breakdown of support in terms of families and children. Referrals to Requiring Visited at Contacted Ongoing Admissions no home by (telephone) support from from Home support Pilot Project by Pilot Pilot Project Office Project Number 20 6 5 2 4 of Families Number 36 8 6 9 8 of children Table 1: Table showing a summary of the support provided by the Pilot Project. Data provided by Michael Richmond-Coggan (Pilot Project Worker, LEAP)
Referrals from another organisation
1 referral (3 children in the same family) was made to CHIVA (Children in Vulnerable Accommodation) from TEASE (Temporary Emergency Accommodation) who then referred it on to LEAP. The close partnership relationship between CHIVA and LEAP facilitated this transfer. The family involved had been brought into the country as part of the reunification programme, as relatives of a refugee who had recently gained status. This is why they had not been picked up through the Home Office referral system. There may also be more children and young people who are in European and economic migrant families that may require support. One family was referred from City of Leeds High School. They already had a place in school but needed support accessing benefits.
Referrals by CART
There were 17 referrals made by Children Asylum Refugee Team to the Admissions team. These were sent by email and copied to the pilot project worker at LEAP. This method of communication created a fast track route that responded to the needs of the unaccompanied minor client group. A strong communication channel was established through the LEAP worker and the English as an Additional Language team at City of Leeds. Knowledge of admissions protocols and testing days enabled the swift placement of some young people. There are concerns about placing young people that appear to be older than their official age assessment. Further research is required to establish how to accommodate these young people into college or alternative provision. The number of places available to these young people is limited and there have been a number of concerns regarding the existing placements that have been made. These are highlighted in the case studies presented in this report. Table 2, below, shows the percentage of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children accessing some form of education. The figure of 47.1% that are currently waiting for a place signifies the difficulties in placing this particular group of pupils and is not comparable to accompanied minors, where there are currently no pupils waiting for school places. Waiting Waiting (not (visited) visited) Total 4 3 8 2 17 23.50% 17.60% 47.10% 11.80% Table 2: Table showing the percentage of UASC in school, college or yet to receive a place. In school In college
In order to provide focussed support to the Admissions and Transport team, it was important to gain a clear understanding of the current situation. The result of this was that a large number of meetings were arranged with schools, academics and other professionals, who were working with refugee and asylum seeking children. The research and statistics have identified three distinct groups of people with different needs. • Asylum seeking families with specific needs who require little support • Asylum seeking families with multiple needs who require significant support • Un-accompanied Asylum-Seeking Children in the care of social services.
Asylum seeking families with specific needs who require little support
These families are often able to make applications to Education Leeds for a school place due to a competency in English or support from their community or friends. They are able to access information about the schools that are in their neighbourhood and they are able to ask for information if they are not sure what to do. They can understand the correspondence that is sent to them, i.e. offering a school place. At the interview the family can support the child and facilitate the enrolment process. Once the child has gained a place they are more likely to be able to establish the bus routes and gain access to any support regarding school uniforms, bus passes and free school meals. The children are more likely to settle into the school environment and are less likely to be considered ‘different’ by the other children, and teachers, as they can communicate in English. Ultimately the children and their families will have a certain degree of autonomy and will be able to exercise that through their ability to communicate with the Admissions system. The families may also be in a better position to deal with problems within their personal life and issues surrounding their asylum claims. Due to their knowledge of the language or access to support, these families may be able to manage issues surrounding housing, orientation in a new city, income support, solicitors, access to education – for the adults in the family, registering with a GP and other services that offer support and guidance. These factors all affect the well-being of the child and are directly linked to the individuals’ ability to deal with their new environment. Of the 69 referrals made, 8 individuals, from 6 families did not require any support in terms of accessing school places. Of these, at least one parent (from each family) was able to speak English. Due to their language skills, this parent was able to contact their local school independently or with the help of a family friend.
Asylum seeking families with multiple needs who require significant support
There are many reasons that a family may require support. The pilot project was involved in supporting 17 individuals from families. The support supplied has been varied but has always had a focus on the needs of the children involved – with a priority of helping the children to access a school place. The following section gives details of the variety of support given to the children and their families.
Supporting contact between the school and the family.
With all of the five families it has been necessary to approach them to make them aware of an opportunity to start at school. This was often related to an inability to understand the letter they had received offering them a place at school. Example A support worker and the pilot project worker met the family at their house to confirm that they are still living there. Once the family was offered a school place, a second visit with an interpreter was arranged and the needs of the child were clarified to see if they needed support in accessing their place. If they expressed a need, the project worker escorted them to the school (with parents if applicable) and explained the bus routes and tickets on the way. There is usually a need to arrange for an interpreter to facilitate the interview, so that was arranged in advance. The child is given a start date once they have completed the enrolment. The project worker supported the child in attending on their first day at school and then maintained contact with the school to ensure that the child is settling in.
Access to financial entitlement.
This included ensuring families are registered with the Immigration Nationality Directorate and also ensuring families are aware of their benefits entitlements. Example Registration proved to be a lengthy process in one case because it involved travelling across the city on a very limited bus route. The person concerned was a single mother with two children under six, with no English or knowledge of public transport or the layout of the city. The woman was unaware of the need to register in order to obtain to benefits and when contact was made, she informed that project worker that she had no money at all. The project worker accompanied the family, showed them the bus route and supported them through the registration process. Example The uncle of a child seeking admission to school had been acting as his guardian for a number of months. The uncle was illiterate in his native language and English. He was unaware of his eligibility to access additional financial support for looking after a child. The project worker took the uncle to the Job Centre with an interpreter and managed to ascertain that he was able to access additional support. The support was back-dated to when the uncle became guardian. Access to legal representation Although most families were able to arrange their own solicitor there were occasions where it was necessary to support a family to obtain legal representation. This involved contacting legal firms with offices in Leeds who receive legal aid, making appointments and accompanying the family member, with an interpreter, to the solicitor’s office. Example There was one occasion where a family had two separate asylum claims – one for the father (and two sons) and one for the mother, (and two younger children) who was separated from her husband during the journey to the UK. She had legal representation but was informed, by the solicitor that they were no longer willing to represent her as the husbands case had already failed. This happened one week before her court case and left her feeling very distressed. She was already suffering from mental health problems due to her experiences of displacement and became very disturbed by the prospect of going to court without a solicitor. The project worker established that it would be possible to ask for an adjournment on the basis of legal representation being withdrawn. Contact was then made with a number of solicitors in the locality that could provide support. It was then necessary to take the mother to the solicitors and arrange an interpreter.
Accessing free bus passes
If a family is living more than 3 miles away from the school that they are attending, they are entitled to a free bus pass. The family, or support worker, must contact Education Leeds to request a bus pass. The family need to provide a passport photo for the application. This simple task is very difficult for a family that does not know the city, or where and how to get a passport photo. Where language is a barrier, additional help is needed with filling in forms,
Support with using My Bus Transport
This was particularly important for young people who had been placed in schools outside their immediate locality. Lack of familiarity with using public transport, limited language skills and unfamiliarity with the new area all make this a challenging task where initial support is needed. Example A 13 year old girl was supported in getting to school and introduced to the bus route. Before she returned home, the driver of the bus was asked by someone from school to drop her off at a particular stop. The driver somehow managed to drop her off two stops later. Fortunately, she managed to find her way home. Her father, who was waiting at the bus stop, was very upset when she didn’t appear. On her second day at school, a driver once again dropped her off at the wrong stop and this time she got lost. She was eventually found wandering the streets in deep distress. Her father was not willing to send his daughter to school again until the problem was resolved. The project worker spent some more time coaching her on the bus route and she has been going to and from school for nearly one month at the time of writing.
Accessing English classes (for the parents)
Five families with ongoing support needs have also required ESOL classes for the parents. The project worker attempted to enrol the parents at colleges but found that all the colleges in their area are full. With the introduction of new changes to the funding for Asylum Seekers (19+) in September 2007, these individuals will be expected to pay for their own classes. The pilot project worker also contacted an organisation called L.A.S.S.N, (Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network) who provide one-to-one home tutoring and befriending schemes. They are unable to provide any support at the moment due to a shortage in volunteers joining the scheme. The communication skills of the parents will have a big effect on the family’s ability to access the support services that are available to them. The shortage of ESOL classes, particularly in East Leeds, has a direct impact on a family’s ability to improve their language skills and become an active member of their community.
Plans to provide ESOL within schools is a promising solution that would help schools develop close, supportive relationships with families. These classes have been introduced in South Leeds with some success, although attendance has been lower than expected.
Making links within the community
When a new family arrives in Leeds they can feel very isolated and lonely. There is a high risk of dependency on project workers to solve any problems that arise and therefore there is a lack of empowerment. Making links with others in the community is particularly significant. Example A Somali mother who was new to the country did not know anyone in the area and was a single parent with young children. She was introduced to a local Somali women’s group. She was happy to have met some other women who were in the same situation as her. She also has one friend from the group who now acts as an unofficial interpreter for her when she needs to ask for help or information.
Registering CYPs and families with a GP or referral to the Health Access Team
Access to health care is one of the most important aspects of a new arrival asylum seeker or refugee. It is fundamental that they are registered with a doctor as soon as is possible and that they have their health checked. Housing Providers are supposed to inform new tenants of the location of their nearest GP and to tell them to register there. This does not always happen and as a result it has been necessary to support a families with registration with the GP. In order to complete the initial assessment form correctly it is necessary to collect a form from the doctors, complete it with the client and an interpreter – to ensure that all the necessary information is provided – and to then escort the client and an interpreter to the GP appointment. On a number of occasions the project worker has also made referrals to the Health Access Team who can do a limited number of house visits.
Un-accompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) in the care of social services
There are approximately 160 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children living in Leeds. This may increase with the introduction of the proposed reforms, where more unaccompanied minors would be placed out of London in cities such as Leeds. The Children Asylum Refugee Team, (CART) provides these children and young people with support. However, there is a lack of funding and there are a number of concerns regarding the way in which unaccompanied minors are disadvantaged. This has become apparent through working with the CART and providing pastoral support to 17 young people. Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children are housed in shared hostels, placed in foster care or housed in the community.
Supporting Education Leeds to locate Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children who have been moved by CART
Unaccompanied minors are often moved from one property to another, which can make their whereabouts difficult to establish. This has caused considerable problems when trying to contact these young people when they are offered a place in school. A system of checking the details with CART, before undertaking a house visit, has helped to reduce the amount of time wasted visiting empty properties. Once the unaccompanied minor has been contacted they may require a lot of support that cannot be provided by CART or the Admissions team at Education Leeds. Details of the variety of support are given below.
The impact of age disputes on the admissions process
Many unaccompanied minors are refused a place in school while an age assessment is carried out. Understandably the schools are reluctant to take children that may be too old for mainstream schooling. Many unaccompanied minors are claiming to be aged between 13 and 16 years old. If this is the case they must be accommodated in a school. However if they are found to be above this age then they could pose a risk to younger children with whom they would share a classroom. The alternative for them is to access a Further Education College and attend ESOL classes. This involves a meeting with the admissions tutor at the college. Unfortunately the current demand is much greater than the provision and as a result it is becoming very difficult to find appropriate courses for this particular group. The current provision of one day a week is far from satisfactory when these young people should be entitled to full-time education or the equivalent of such training, as are all other Looked After Children.
Supporting an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children to access a place in school or college
The project worker has worked with 17 unaccompanied minors during the period of the project. Three were accompanied to an interview at a school in order to obtain a school place. The school refused to accept them due to age disputes. Two of these young people are on ESOL courses – one day a week – and spend the rest of their time at home watching television and wondering why they cannot go to school. The third young person, who has a good level of spoken English, is currently attending 2 classes provided by the community. (St. George’s Crypt and Archway.) He has been registered at Archway, the local library, Yes Cyber (an Internet café on Chapeltown Road, LS7) and the project worker has also supported him with his English in one-to-one sessions. Three young people obtained school placements with support from the project. One of these young people had to wait six months to obtain his placement pending an age assessment. A further young person obtained a placement without support. 8 UASC are currently waiting to be offered a place in a school. The remaining two UASC are currently awaiting transfer from City of Leeds to Carr Manor High School. There have been unusually long delays in processing these transfers. At the time of writing it has taken 2 months and transfer confirmation from Carr Manor is still awaited.
Assist UASC accessing health care provision
One young person has been assisted with accessing a GP and getting a pair of prescription glasses from a local optician.
Fast Track admissions to City of Leeds High School
The pilot project has established strong links with City of Leeds High School and the EMAG team, led by Beth Greenwood. A fast track system has been developed, in which Education Leeds, The Children’s Society and the school have co-ordinated a strategy which has been used for 2 UASC. This has reduced the waiting time for UASC, with an approved age assessment, to 2 weeks. This is comparable to the target time scale for other new arrivals.
Other issues surrounding the accommodation of unaccompanied minors into mainstream schools
There have been a number of incidents recently at a Leeds school that have involved these young people. These incidents have originated from allegations of inappropriate behaviour between male unaccompanied minors and younger, Asian, female students. This behaviour has caused a reaction from their elder, male siblings and the result has been a number of fights between unaccompanied minors and students at the school. The implications of these incidents are that there is a need for appropriate intervention. This could take the form of workshops with the young people involved to discuss appropriate behaviour in school and behaviour with children of the opposite sex. It may also be necessary to raise the awareness of the impact that their current behaviour is having within the school and the stereotyping that this creates as a result. Generally speaking schools also struggle to accommodate the unaccompanied minors as they are entering the school with very large knowledge gaps, when compared to children who have been educated in the UK. They often speak no English and may have never been to school in their home countries, particularly Afghanistan. Although schools are doing everything they can to accommodate these young people there is a great concern that the needs of the individuals are not being met. Possibly as a result of these difficulties, I have experienced long delays in processing applications for unaccompanied minors in particular. Abdul Jalloh of the Admissions team confirmed that he had similar problems when working with this group. Anne James of CART also confirmed that she felt that this group were treated very differently due to their physical and educational status.
Suggestions for supporting the needs found during the pilot project
The pilot project has assisted the Admissions team at Education Leeds by providing support to families who have expressed a need during consultation with the pilot project worker. This work has resulted in fourteen refugee and asylum-seeking families (44 children) gaining support. After each family was contacted Abdul visited the house to complete the application forms. I then visited the family to complete an assessment of their needs related to education. This monitoring process could be improved to include language ability through simple assessments. If this work was carried out by an EAL/ESOL professional then it could be given to the school at the initial interview and help to inform the school of the child’s abilities. CHIVA (Children in Vulnerable Accommodation) go to Hillside Induction Centre on Leeds and Bradford Road on a Wednesday and undertake assessments on asylum seeker children of school age. This model could be used to inform the assessment process to be undertaken at specific drop-ins or in families’ houses. There is a need for joint partnership work to co-ordinate existing services. This would allow practitioners with experience of working with asylum seekers and refugees to share their existing practices and develop new strategies. There are a number of concerns surrounding the group of unaccompanied minors and how they could be supported. Group work sessions based on the needs of the young people could help to improve their understanding of some of the common problems they face. A dedicated worker who supports Abdul Jalloh would ensure that the Admissions team is able to maintain the high turnover of children and young people accessing school places and would result in shorter waiting times for new applicants. There may be some benefit in examining working practices and record keeping to establish if the system could be improved to provide more accurate records with a greater depth of information. The Pilot Project Worker would be interested in developing this with Education Leeds. A clear set of guidelines that explains the admissions process to schools would facilitate the process of allocating places. There are a number of pupils that have waited long periods of time because schools have not agreed to admit them. A clear policy across the city should be made to help support the work of the Admissions team. Further research could be commissioned to investigate the Children Missing Education cases and to improve the process of reporting such cases to the correct organisation.
The Community Cohesion Project
The Community Cohesion Project is a city wide strategy to support the integration of new arrivals. The project is not just for asylum seekers and refugees but also for all new arrivals, especially those who don’t speak English very well. 5 schools in the city will be given specialist status, one in each ‘wedge’ of the city. They will support induction, assessment and provision of effective teaching and learning, and will be centres of good practice for the schools in each particular wedge. There will be training centres for school staff on all aspects. The Centres are also going to be ESOL centres for parents, not just in those centres but we will organise other cluster groups of ESOL classes in other schools. Centres will also be Parent Information Centres so parents can find out how the education system works, and the centres will also provide community meeting rooms. Every school has community rooms and it is free of charge for any community type activities, please approach schools, the rooms are eager to be used. The centres will have excellent ICT facilities, each centre will be video conferenced to benefit from economies of scale. Groups can host videoconferences with other centres as there are a number of issues related to travel between centres. Centres are getting set up this term and we are hoping to get the first of the ESOL class after half term.
The wedge based programme in Leeds
Education Leeds has developed a ‘Wedge-based programme’, in which individual schools have been selected to work as specialist EAL (English as an Additional Language) providers. They will then provide this specialist knowledge to their neighbours, within their wedge. Education Leeds publishes a document each term that lists any training dates for the forthcoming term and also provides booking forms. (Faxable copies) Education Leeds has also developed a large amount of materials to use when working with EAL students. The ‘oracy project’ documents are full of information and ideas for teachers working with EAL and New Arrivals. These extra documents will give the teachers some extra support when working with EAL students. The wedge programme has had a big impact on the provision of EAL to New Arrivals and has given schools an opportunity to work together and promote good practice. There are an increasing number of schools, in the South Wedge, who are working together to develop their understanding of the needs of this group and to share their good practice. Ingram Road, Hugh Gaitskell and Halton Moor are working in partnership to develop their departments. Schools are also developing in-house mentoring programmes to provide support for students who are under-achieving. These mentors are given training and support and help new students to develop their learning.
Ethnicity distribution and implications for New Arrivals in terms of accessing schools
In Leeds, there are 224 State Primary Schools and 43 Secondary Schools. (www.educationleeds.co.uk) In order to establish which schools in Leeds that would be likely to take high numbers of New Arrivals, a map of the City of Leeds showing ethnic distribution (published by the Leeds Initiative) was compared with a map showing secondary schools (Education Leeds). The area within the outer ring road (A6120) was selected due to the nature of dispersal of ethnicity suggested on the map. Data showing the population by ethnicity in all secondary schools in Leeds also highlights certain schools. These schools are located in ethnically diverse, inner city regions. Each wedge has a very varied ethnicity population. • • Near to the city centre, the ethnic density is a clear majority in some cases. (70% Primrose High School) In the outer suburbs of Leeds the number of ethnic minority students attending schools drops to less than 5%. (Rodillian School)
The result of this is that some schools are experienced in dealing with new arrivals and have: • • • • • • Strategies – communication links with Education Leeds Departments – EMAG, EAL, SEN Materials – documents for working with EAL students Procedures – enrolment and support Mentoring programmes that support new arrivals. Most schools were interested in working with TCS to develop extra support programmes that would facilitate their work. This would involve establishing a referral system that would allow schools to contact the LEAP project regarding children or young people that needed support.
Other schools that do not take large numbers of new arrivals are struggling to accommodate these children or young people. This is due to: • • • Tensions between the new arrivals and the existing students at the school. Schools not being aware of the support available. A lack of experience working with new arrivals.
Of these schools, Hugh Gaitskell, Hunslet Moor, Ingram Road, Windmill Primary, Roundhay Technology College, Parklands Girls High School City of Leeds, The David Young Academy, Primrose High School, South Leeds and Carr Manor were contacted and visits were arranged with inclusion officers or EAL staff. The pilot project worker was unable to arrange an appointment with Carr Manor.
The consultations with schools highlighted a number of needs that schools have regarding support and development of their refugee and asylum-seeking children. The schools did not comment on the work done by the Admissions team and did not have an understanding of the process that involves these children and young people. The schools will contact the Admissions team if a refugee or asylum-seeking child attempts to apply directly to a school. The schools in the South of Leeds that were interviewed for the project, expressed concern over the relationship of the host community with the new international arrivals. D. Whitely (EAL Coordinator, South Leeds High School) and C. Nix (Windmill Primary) said that many families were moved out of South Leeds to East Leeds after complaints of racism and threatening behaviour. They also said that there were some problems caused by combining two very different secondary schools to create South Leeds High School. The schools also expressed a need to develop ways of improving relationships between new arrivals and existing students.
The role of the housing provider
Housing providers providing housing to Asylum Seekers through the Home Office scheme have key responsibilities which include giving the new tenant an orientation of the local area, highlighting the location of the nearest post office, the nearest place of worship and the nearest health centre, GP and dentist. Five families that have required support and all the unaccompanied minors have not received an orientation of their local area from the housing providers and did not know the location of their local place of worship. They were not aware of the nearest GP, dentist or health centre. There is a need to establish why this support is not being provided and to develop strategies that will support the families and individuals concerned.
Appendix 1 Examples of good practice in Manchester
A number of projects have produced a multi-agency approach in Manchester. On the 21st February 2007 the pilot project worker visited the Diversity and Inclusion Team of Manchester City Council. A meeting was held, with Jenny Patterson, and discussed the way in which the council had responded to the needs of the community. The DIT is based in the East area of Manchester where there is a high ethnic minority population. It was a milling and industrial area in the past and has many hard to let properties. In the last five years the council has had to respond to an influx of new arrivals. These have consisted of asylum seeking families, refugees, Gypsy and Rroma families, Eastern European families and other international migrants. Each year the council places around 1000 children into school. The council has responded to the needs of the community through a number of multi-agency projects that have supported the work of the council. The city is split into 6 districts, similar to the 5 wedges of Leeds, which have varying ethnic minority populations. As in Leeds, certain areas have much higher ethnic minority populations and consequently have schools that have experience of working with these families. In particular the East area of Manchester has a very mixed ethnicity population. A number of agencies have been established to meet the needs of the local community. EDNAST (East District New Arrivals Support Team) works to enable refugee and asylum seeking children and their families to fully access services that will support their successful transition and allow them to take up opportunities that will assist them building a positive new life. Routes – a voluntary organisation that provides support for international new arrivals in Manchester. It is funded by the Black Health Agency. The project provides initial support to newly arrived families with children aged between 5 and 13, linking them with the support services they need. They provide these families with help in the following areas: practical and emotional support, education, benefits, housing, health, and asylum issues. First Base – this project has been running for 5 years and was originally set up to address the needs of 12 primary schools who work with asylum and refugee children, particularly Somali children. The project provides an out of school programme all year and also runs summer schools. Emotional and Trauma Support (ETS) – The council was aware of a large number of asylum and refugee children showing signs of stress and trauma. Over the last 5 years the ETS team has developed a range of creative therapies with support from qualified staff. ETS has strong links with Routes and First Base as well as EDNAST, with members of the teams working in partnership.
MARIM (Multi Agency for Refugee Integration in Manchester) – MARIM is the lead agency on the Multi Agency forum which arose in recognition of the need to develop a coordinated response to the dispersal of asylum seekers into Manchester following the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Many of the approaches observed in Manchester responded to the needs of the community. In Leeds the South of the city is seeing an increase in the number of international new arrivals including many economic migrants from Europe. In Manchester the North West district is seeing a similar development.
Appendix 2 Referrals made to the LEAP project by schools in South Leeds.
5 referrals were to colleagues, at the LEAP project, that where highlighted to the pilot project worker through relationships that were developed with Ingram Road Primary and Hugh Gaitskell Primary – through participating in the South Leeds Wedge training day and meeting the representatives from different primary schools. Having a professional relationship with teachers allows good communication to be established and pathways for support to be requested and structured. More opportunities for the LEAP project to promote its work to schools will help to facilitate the referrals procedure. The use of e-mail facilitated arranging appropriate support. Communicating directly with the head of year or the EAL tutor helped the project workers to gain an understanding of the child’s needs and if they could offer support.
Appendix 3 Diary of meetings 2006 / 2007 Friday 1st December 2006 Myfanwy Franks – The Children’s Society (Researcher) Abdul Jalloh – Education Leeds (Admissions and Transport – New Arrivals) Tuesday 5th December 2006 Dr James Simpson (University of Leeds) Wednesday 21st February 2007 Jennie Patterson (Diversity and Inclusion, Manchester) Monday 5th March 2007 CHIVA team Tuesday 6th March 2007 Harjit Sandal and Hazel Williams – One Stop Refugee Council Friday 16th March 2007 Jane Sinson and Alison McCoy – Educational Psychologists Friday 22nd March Gill Hall (Children’s Panel Refugee Council)
Contact with schools Wednesday 22nd November 09:00
@ Derek Fatchett Centre (NE CLC) with Andrew McGlen
Monday 27th November 10:00
@ City of Leeds High School with Chris Cowley
Wednesday 29th November 11:00
@ David Young Community Academy with Alan Bolton
Monday 4th December @ 11:00
@ South Leeds High School with Denise Whitely
Monday 11th December @ 08:30
@ Windmill Primary with Mrs C.Nix
Monday 11th December @ 11:00
@ Primrose High School with Asif Ali
Thursday 18th January @ 14:15
@ Parklands Girls’ High School with Mrs Newton Appleby
Tuesday 6th February @ 14:30
@ New Bewerley Primary School with Kae Sinclaire and Jenny Millington (Ingram Road Primary)
Tuesday 27th February @ 10:00
@ Roundhay Technology College with Gene Clennell