Asylum seeker and refugee support
Hampshire has relatively few refugee families. This means that many of them are isolated and very vulnerable. Schools will need to be flexible in their approach and provide a planned induction programme. This may be in conjunction with Hampshire Social Care if the child concerned is unaccompanied.
Please note that government law and guidance regarding asylum seekers and refugees is under constant review.
Definition of terms 'asylum seeker' and 'refugee'
In most countries a person must apply for asylum before they are recognised as a refugee. An asylum seeker is someone who arrives in a new country and makes an asylum application. It is then up to the Government to decide if their claim meets the definition of a refugee, as below.
The 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees defines a refugee as someone who has fled their country due to 'a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion'.
Support available from EMTAS
Hampshire EMTAS can
- provide detailed guidance on asylum seeker/refugee issues including immigration, admission to schools/colleges, teaching and learning, pastoral advice, resources, useful contacts.
- provide a bilingual assistant to translate or interpret.
- give you practical teaching support, including an early profiling assessment of the pupil's previous education and current achievement levels to enable early and correct placement.
- provide advice on the best course of action regarding GCSE choices/other courses when admitting pupils into Year 10 or Year 11.
- provide in-class support for the child/young person.
- provide training for school staff.
Please see Schools: new arrivals for information on making a referral to our service.
Asylum seekers and refugee children/young people in education: good practice guidelines 2mb (published September 2009) by Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service (HIAS) offers detailed information and guidance to Hampshire schools.
Advice and links
Entitlement to compulsory education
Children/young people who are asylum seekers or refugees have the right to free education. This includes young people aged 16-19 who are entitled to attend school sixth forms or Further Education(FE) colleges.
Schools must by law treat any application from a child/young person seeking asylum in the same way as any other application. The fact that the child/young person may speak little or no English does not matter.
Please see our parents section for information on how to apply for a school place for your child and an explanation about the English education system.
Free school meals
If your family has been issued with vouchers from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) then your child is entitled to free school meals (and milk, where provided).
Schools may be able to provide you with some school uniform items for your child.
At the discretion of Hampshire Local Education Authority school uniform grants may be available.
Please ask the school to obtain a bilingual dictionary for use in school.
If you have a problem or are worried about your child's education, please speak to the class teacher or form tutor.
Continue to use your own language at home. Children who speak their first language well will become better speakers and users of English. Talk to your child about their lessons. This will help your child to understand more.
The British Red Cross is another source of advice and support for refugees and asylum seekers. Please see their flyer 413 kB for further information about the range of free services they provide.
Information for unaccompanied children and young people
Hampshire Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) has produced a booklet specifically for children and young people seeking asylum who are unaccompanied. It provides information on a wide range of topics including the immigration process, housing, education and general life in the UK.
It is available in the following languages:
Kurdish Sorani 569kb
Instructions for printing booklet: Keep paper orientation as Portrait. Use Double-sided printing option (duplex) and flip on the short edge.
Feedback is welcome and there is a short form at the back of the booklet.