Asylum seekers are people who flee their home country and seek refugee status in another country, possibly because of war or human rights abuses, and then lodge an application for asylum with the UK Government.
A person is recognised as a refugee when the Government decides they meet the definition of a refugee under the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees and accepts that that person has a well founded fear of being persecuted. A person with refugee status is granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK.
Young asylum seekers and refugees are a very diverse group. Children from one particular country may come from different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. Families may have different political beliefs and religious observances.
Asylum seeking and refugee children may have a wide range of educational and social needs. Significant proportions of them:
Local authorities (LAs) have a legal duty to ensure education is available for all children of compulsory school age in the area appropriate to their age, abilities and aptitudes and any special education needs they may have. This duty applies irrespective of a child's immigration status or rights of residence in a particular location and includes children from asylum-seeking and refugee backgrounds.
New arrival, refugees and children from asylum-seeking backgrounds can benefit from the ethnic minority achievement grant (EMAG), which is targeted at pupils learning English as an additional language as well as minority ethnic pupils at risk of underachievement.
Pupils recently arrived from overseas, including children of asylum seekers and refugees, with little or no English, need not be counted as being eligible for Key Stage tests, and do not need to be included on school rolls when calculating information for publication in the annual primary and secondary performance tables.
For further information:
Modules developed to enable local authorities and school leaders to focus training, with school staff, on meeting the needs of new arrivals in areas or schools where there is little experience of working with children new to English.
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The website of the Home Office, the lead government department for immigration and passports, drugs policy, counterterrorism and police.