SK Conference_Working with UASC

Working with UASC (unaccompanied
asylum seeking children)
Steve Green
Support Officer
Virtual School Kent
Refugee or Asylum seeker ?
• Refugee:-a person with defined refugee status
has fled his home country and is unable to
return due to a well founded fear of being
persecuted for reasons of race, religion,
nationality, membership of a social/political
• Asylum seeker:- is a person who has crossed
an international border in search of safety and
refugee status-(Asylum seeking children make up around 6%
of LAC) DCSF (2009)
Some of the most at risk children in care because:Many enter the country without adult supervision
Able to speak little or no English
Limited or disrupted education
May have endured traumatic events, war, rape, loss, etc
May have no one to care for them in their home country
May have experienced persecution or hardship that has
led to disturbed behaviour
• May have lost family, friends, belongings and
experienced shortages of food and necessities
UASC (cont)
• May have experienced rape, torture or forced
to join armies/militia
• Traumatic experiences can result in strong
emotional reactions
• Lost of contact with family/friends in home
• Maybe unsure of protocols/customs regarding
practising faith in UK
Good practice- Key Messages
• The best place for EAL students is in the mainstream classroom. Language
support for children new to English should be based around the language
they need to access the curriculum
• EAL learners should be given opportunities to use their first language for
• The learning context can be made more supportive via scaffolding
• Teachers need to identify language demands of lessons, and plan
opportunities to use at least some of that language in meaningful way
• Children new to English need to be provided with achievable tasks that
provide appropriate age related cognitive demands
• Bilingualism is an asset and first language has a continuing role in identity,
and learning
• Induction is important; ensure carers/UASC are shown around and any
possible differences explained (interpreters used)
Good Practice-Key Messages (cont)
• Buddies can help if they either speak the same language or alternatively
are sympathetic to the needs of UASC
• Ensure schools inform carers of their rights to free school meals, travel,
school milk uniform etc
• Try to access a bilingual classroom assistant when the child starts school
• Provide background information/training to all staff involved with
admissions about new UASC
• Ensuring UASC pupils progress is reassessed and monitored regularly
• Make sure all staff have copies of any baseline education assessments,
and that the UASC is interviewed about past educational experiences
• Make sure pupils receive welcome materials, such as map of local area,
plan of school, name of class teacher, timetable , details of any buddy
• Ensure there are opportunities for UASC who are not coping well to be
withdrawn to small groups/one to one tuition or mentoring
Rutter, J (1999)Refugee children in the UK, OU Press
Rutter , J , (2001) ,Supporting Refugee Children in 21st Century Britain, Trentham Books
What we do at VSK !
Provide baseline education assessments on all new arrivals
Contribute to Social Services Age assessments
Provide initial transitioning support to UASC starting school
Attend LAC and PEP reviews
Provide support and advice to UASC school leavers/16+
regarding F.E.,ESOL courses, community support agencies
• Provide advice to foster carers around suitable educational
• Provide additional educational work for 16+ UASC at the
Millbank Reception Centre
Protective factors
• Strong home support from carers, that
reinforces and compliments the work of
• An understanding by staff of why they had to
leave, and maintaining wherever possible
positive links to either their homeland or
people from their community in the UK
• Being able to build upon their skills/abilities
helps UASC to focus on what they are good at
What do Ofsted look for ?
• EAL pupils are not an homogenous group
• Schools should monitor the attainment and
progress from the earliest stages of learning
English (see Kent steps)
• Schools should take steps to assess the learners
proficiency and literacy in their first language,
and prior subject knowledge
• Specialist EAL support should be available for
new arrivals from qualified teachers/teaching
assistants who have received appropriate training
Ofsted (Cont)
• Class/subject teachers should plan collaboratively with EAL support
teachers/teaching assistants. This should include both a focus on
language and subject content
• Cognitive challenge should remain high despite increased
proficiency in English language
• Any withdrawal from class should be for a specific purpose, time
limited and linked to work of the mainstream class. Subject
teachers need to be involved in this
• School development plans should have clear objectives and
strategies for EAL learners
• There should be regular training for staff on the needs of EAL
• Any additional funding for EAL learners should be deployed to
support new arrivals and advanced learners
• (See examples of good practice handout, Primary/Secondary)

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