The importance of supporting Ukrainian children to attend school regularly
In The Big Ask, children across all groups told us they want to care for the world they are growing up in – to conserve it and protect it. They care about making the world a better and fair place where all children can achieve. Children told me they wanted a society where all can succeed and are not held back.
At the beginning of this year, when the Ukrainian war broke out, many children felt the effects of war. Unlike any other generation who have experienced war in their lifetime, this generation of children have had unfiltered access. These days, social media has made anyone with a smartphone a journalist. Children have been able to see and hear stories of the atrocities across social media platforms. Being unable to know how to help or change what’s going on has left a lot of children feeling helpless. It is important that, as adults, we do not shy away from conversations about what is going on in the world. We need to provide support and guidance in how they are to process this information and what they can do to help in their own little ways.
However, my focus now turns to Ukrainian children living in the UK after being displaced from their homes, their friends, and, in the worst cases, their family. As of August 2022, just over 120,000 Ukrainian’s have been offered refuge in the UK. Some arriving as families and some arriving alone .
We need to match the ambition of our Ukrainian children and ensure that we are providing all support available to help them transition into school and thrive. Without this support, these children are at risk of becoming persistently absent or falling out of school altogether. If they aren’t at school, they may not be able to access the support they need, they may not be able to reach their goals and aspirations.
Think creatively about the resources and services that are available and might provide the exact support these children need. This might be bespoke mental health support for those experiences the after-effects of trauma. It might be additional English support lessons to fast-track their confidence in speaking in another language. Or, it might just be a buddy who can be a friendly face in their lessons. Whatever it is, we ned to make sure that our Ukrainian children feel fully supported to attend school regularly.
We cannot let these children slip through the net. They deserve a kind and supportive education system that can help them achieve their goals and aspirations.
School can be challenging enough for children so lets make sure that these children, who have already endured so much, don’t feel left behind.
Good luck for the school term!
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