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7 June 2023
By Tracy Crute, Advisory Teacher - Equality Diversity Inclusion Team

Refugee Week 2023

Estimated reading time - mins

This year Refugee Week falls on 19-25 June 2023 and will be the 25th Anniversary of Refugee Week.

What is Refugee Week?

Refugee Week is a festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and young people seeking sanctuary. The theme for Refugee Week this year is compassion.

In the past decade, the global refugee crisis has more than doubled in scope. In 2022 The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that we had surpassed the 100 million mark for total displacement worldwide - that is 1.2% of the global population have been forced to leave their homes. Indeed, by June this year 117.2 million people will have been forcibly displaced or stateless according to UNHCR estimations. Among these there are over 32.5 million refugees.
72% originate from just 5 countries - the Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Ukraine, Afghanistan and South Sudan. Around half of the worlds refugees are under 18 and 1.5 million children have been born as refugees.

As of November 2022, there were 231,597 refugees in the UK. The war in Ukraine has driven a large increase from the previous year when there were an estimated 135,000 refugees in the UK.

Supporting Refugee Pupils in School

The Equality Diversity Inclusion Team (EDIT) have been busy working with schools who are supporting refugee pupils. We are thoroughly enjoying this work - to see the progress that these young people are making and learning about all of their languages, life skills, passions and interests and hearing their voices grow within their school communities as their English language develops, is wonderful to see. 
In the last two years we have been working with refugee pupils from Afghanistan, Ukraine and Syria, supporting them in schools. The children really have come on - moving through the English fluency stages of listening and understanding English to developing (or extending) their literacy skills in English. This is even the case for pupils who have no literacy in their first languages.

How Have EDIT Been Supporting Schools?

EDIT have been supporting schools by:

  • running training sessions (virtually and in person) for teachers and TA's who are working with refugee pupils
  • assessing refugee pupils to offer advice on strategies to help them settle, develop a school survival vocabulary and begin to access the curriculum
  • individual and group pupil support for new arrivals
  • running networking sessions and professional development HUB meetings for teachers and TA's supporting refugee pupils in schools
  • telephone and video consultations to support schools welcoming children who are finding it difficult to settle in at school.

We feel very honoured to be teaching and working with these young people, who in turn are teaching us so much about resilience, hope and embracing change.

Useful Information

If you need further help, support or advice regarding refugees and new arrivals our Refugee Support Package may be for you? This package has been created by our experts in EDIT and will provide a whole range of support and guidance for all professionals across all of the key stages including early years.

EDIT will also be hosting a session titled 'Settling and Supporting Refugee Pupils in Your School' at The Education People Show later this year. The Education People Show takes place on 8 November 2023 - for full details and to register your place, please click in the box >>