Scores of children from global trouble spots are offered places in Peterborough schools

Call for more action to ease language barrier for new arrivals

Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 5:00 pm

Scores of youngsters fleeing trouble spots across the world have been offered places in schools in Peterborough.

The children are with families escaping war and political strife and have been helped under the UK Government’s resettlement schemes for refugees and migrants from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.

Figures released by Peterborough City Council show there have been 62 applications for Ukrainian children for school places in Peterborough with 49 youngsters on a school roll and 13 in process.

Scores of child refugees have been offered places in Peterborough schools, according to new figures.

Nine youngsters from Afghanistan have been placed in Peterborough schools and there are 11 pupils from Hong Kong in school in Peterborough with another one to be allocated in the next round.

Details of the children’s ages and the schools they are attending have not been released.

The Government estimates 11,400 applications have been made for Ukrainian child refugees nationally up to May 27, of which nearly 10,000 had been given offers – including about 1,300 in the East of England.

A further 5,400 Afghan and 8,000 Hong Kong pupils have been offered places in English schools, according to estimates.

Councillor Lynne Ayres, the council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and the university, said: “We are extremely proud of our record in providing school places for refugee children.

“Diversity in our schools brings great benefits to pupils as it exposes them to different cultures and broadens their understanding of the wider world.

“Of course, we know there are challenges with regards to finding school places and helping the new arrivals assimilate into what must be a very challenging new environment, but this is something we have years of experience with, and the Government is providing additional funding for education services through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The main challenges are the language barrier and supporting the children with the trauma they have experienced.

“We are concerned about the availability of wider specialist support for their mental health and wellbeing which schools can draw upon.”

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