From education to employment

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees offered school places around the country

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New data published today (9 June) shows the phenomenal effort from schools and local authorities all over the country in welcoming children driven out of Ukraine by Russia’s invasion.

Once the parents or guardians of children arriving from Ukraine have put in an application for a school place it is for the local authority or school to offer a suitable place for each child within 15 school days. Schools and councils across the country have stepped up to the challenge and 9,900 places have been offered to pupils from Ukraine.

In Darlington, Carmel College has welcomed four Ukrainian students and their students have been supporting each other to learn Ukrainian and teach them English. In Crewe, Beechwood Primary School has also welcomed a Ukrainian child, Ivan, and teachers and staff have done a brilliant job to ensure he has been welcomed.

The statistics also show a sizeable number of Ukrainian children who have arrived in this country have not yet applied for or been offered school places.

The Government wants parents with children arriving from Ukraine to be able to apply for a school place and have their children start school as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the start of the new academic year in September. The best place for children to be for both their education and to help them integrate, is in school.

Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi said:

“I cannot praise enough the herculean effort made by schools and local authorities to support Ukrainian families fleeing from their home country, and I would urge them to keep going.

“I am determined that children who have been forced from their homes by war – as I was when I was 11 – do not have their life chances spoiled as a result and that’s why I want to make sure they are able to continue their education in our schools.

“This data is encouraging but more importantly it shows us how we can do better for these children and ensure that all children arriving here have access to a good education.”

Some areas have a higher concentration of Ukrainian families. For example, the 10 local authorities with the highest number of offers contributed over a quarter of the total school places offered. In those areas with higher concentrations, the department maintains an open dialogue, to ensure that it can understand better the pressures in those Local Authorities and support them to resolve any issues they may be facing.

The data also shows areas with a lower concentration and will help us to monitor whether local authorities need to scale up operations so they can quickly offer school places in-year.

In March, the Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, committed to providing children with a school place and mobilised the Oak National Academy to roll out auto-translate function across all 10,000 of its online lessons, as part of the UK’s offer to Ukrainian children coming to the UK.

Lord Harrington, Refugees Minister, said:

“These children have been through unimaginable hardship and I’m proud of the welcome they have been given in the United Kingdom

“Education is key to help them settle, integrate and make new friends in their communities. I’m therefore delighted thousands have started their schooling and am grateful to the teachers, school staff, pupils and council workers who have made this possible.

“More than 70,500 people have arrived through both our schemes, but we know there is still more to be done, which is why we will continue to work across government to bring more to safety and help them access work and education.”

The new data will also show the number of places offered to pupils as part of resettlement scheme for pupils from Hong Kong and Afghanistan.

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