Welcoming refugee children and young people

Schools across the UK are doing a fantastic job welcoming refugee children and young people and are using their Young Interpreters effectively to ensure they feel settled from the start. Whilst Young Interpreter Co-ordinators may rightly not choose to share their new buddies are from a refugee background it is worth remembering the safeguarding considerations covered in our guidance. Co-ordinators should check on the Young Interpreters regularly and must be available for any pupil involved who is concerned or needs guidance on how to best engage with a new entrant. Here is a testimonial from one school in England:

We were privileged this term to welcome a group of refugees to our school.  As the transition happened so quickly, we knew that we had to put a programme of support into place immediately and we recognised that involving our pupils would be central to the success of the transition into our school. 

We organised a coffee morning for parents, arranging transport to and from school and adopting the help of a translator.  It was a huge success!

Our Young Interpreter programme had almost come to a grinding halt since lockdown, so we identified a group of 40 pupils across the whole school, based upon their personal qualities, and invited them to participate in a day of training. We couldn’t have envisaged just how powerful our little army of Young Interpreters would be in ensuring that our New Arrivals were so quickly accepted by the entire school community. Our Young Interpreters thrived on the responsibility of their new role, picking up and dropping off our new students every day, making sure that they knew exactly where to go and generally helping our New Arrivals to become independent around the school and in class.  Our teacher team have recognised and truly appreciated the input and support of our invaluable Young Interpreter team and we rewarded them with a special lunch to celebrate.  We currently have 29 languages spoken at our school and we are extremely proud of our cultural diversity and the inclusive nature of our community.  This has been a multi-agency effort and we are grateful for the support of all of our Local Authority partners for their support in our transition programme for our refugee families.

Here’s a little taster of part of an article that some of our Young Interpreters did for the school mag:

We are the Young Interpreters…

Have you ever felt unwelcome because of your culture?  Are you struggling with your English?  Do you want someone to help you? Are you feeling left out?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we are always there to help out.  We are eager to help you with your English, your classes or with any other matter.  You can be sure that we understand you, as many of us have been through similar experiences and are from different cultures with many different religions.  Come and speak to one of our team. 

If you ever feel the need for help, just drop in for a visit to the Wellbeing Room at lunch or break, speak to your school trusted adult.  We’ll make sure that you know that you’re welcome and loved and, if you need a bit of help with your English, we’ll help you too.  We welcome everyone and we will look out for you.  We will respect you and will not judge you. 
We are going to help you and respect you!

Blog: Welcoming refugee children and their families (hants.gov.uk)

Last modified: Tuesday, 4 January 2022, 12:30 PM