A golden opportunity for schools to be at the heart of promoting community cohesion, good race relations and integration is not being fully taken advantage of by schools and local authorities, a Refugee Council conference will say on Friday.
There are hundreds of refugee teachers who have been unable to find work, or to re-train, despite many being experienced in priority subjects such as maths, science, modern languages and ICT.
Refugee teachers not only have important professional skills and experience; they can enrich the ethos, culture and values of schools, particularly in diverse areas, and conversely introduce more diversity and inclusion in areas which are less culturally mixed. As well as being positive role models, particularly for black and minority ethnic children, employing refugee teachers can help engage parents, families and communities that are often excluded.
At the conference, which takes place this Friday, 22 June, representatives from across the public and voluntary sector will explore the massive potential this group of professionals has to offer. The conference is being organised by the Refugees into Teaching partnership project, which is funded by the Training and Development Agency for schools (TDA).
The conference is happening during Refugee Week, a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. It takes place this year from Monday 18 – Sunday 24 June.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“Refugee teachers bring with them added skills, experiences, cultural richness and languages. They bring a real commitment and determination to the profession, and having been teachers at home they really want to continue despite the obstacles and their personal experiences.
“There is presently a need for more teachers in maths and science – apart from anything else, helping refugee teachers into work could go some way to addressing this. We hope that by bringing together refugee teachers and representatives from across the field of education this conference will start to break down some of the barriers and make some positive steps forward.”
Notes to editor
- The conference ‘Coming full circle: re-training and re-employing refugee teachers’ takes place on Friday 22 June from 9.30am to 4.30pm at the Living Room, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA.
- The conference is being organised by the Refugees into Teaching project, which is funded by the Training and Development Agency for schools, and is a partnership project, led by the Refugee Council, with the West London Partnership, Newman College, UK NARIC, and the Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit (RAGU) at London Metropolitan University.
- Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.