Bedford schools have already taken in 70 Ukrainian refugee pupils

373 refugees have also been given visas

By The Newsroom
Friday, 15th July 2022, 12:15 pm

Schools in Bedford have offered dozens of places to children fleeing the Ukraine conflict, new data shows.

The UK Government currently operates resettlement schemes for refugees and migrants leaving Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong – many of whom are families with children.

Figures from the Department for Education show at least 69 Ukrainian pupils have been offered school places in Bedford as of May 27 – the latest available data.

Figures from the Department for Education show at least 69 Ukrainian pupils have been offered school places in Bedford as of May 27 – the latest available data

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A further six pupils were still waiting for an outcome to their application but may since have been granted a place.

The figures also show that 15 offers have been given to pupils settled from Afghanistan and 13 to children from Hong Kong.

Separate data from the Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show 373 refugees had been given visas in Bedford under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme as of July 5, 279 of which have arrived in the UK.

Department for Education figures also show that 15 offers have been given to pupils settled from Afghanistan and 13 to children from Hong Kong

This is up from four weeks ago, when there were 242 arrivals from 328 offers.

The Association of School and College Leaders, which represents school heads, said that while refugee pupils have been warmly welcomed by schools, there is more work to be done to support them.

Geoff Barton, the organisation's general secretary 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.”

Save the Children, a children's charity, agreed that more help is needed for Ukrainian pupils.

Dan Paskins, director of UK impact, said: “We are calling for more skilled caseworkers to speed up applications to come to the UK and to help if placements break down, and for more specialist mental health support for children and families."

The charity said it wants a similar sponsorship approach to be extended to refugees from other countries.

The Department for Education has admitted that some children may not yet have school places in the UK, but says this could be due to pupils undertaking remote learning from Ukraine, or parents not realising that the English academic year finishes later than in Ukraine.