The UK’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis means that at least 20,000 refugees from that conflict will arrive between now and 2020.  Many will be resettled in communities that have never hosted refugees before.  Every single resettled refugee will have a connection to a school, as only families are eligible for the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Programme.  Schools thus become crucial places of welcome, orientation and integration for refugee families.   

Citizens UK developed the Refugee Welcome School concept with one of its member schools, Saint Gabriel’s College, a Church of England secondary school in South London in 2016.  A further 35 schools soon expressed an interest in replicating the model.  In a project supported by Education International, NASUWT decided to join forces with Citizens UK to promote Refugee Welcome Schools.

Refugee Welcome Schools is an accreditation scheme to recognise schools that have made a commitment to welcome refugees in their institution and community, educate all their pupils and staff about the importance of refugee protection over the course of a year, and participate in campaigns to improve the lives of refugees in the UK.  

In order to become a Refugee Welcome School, schools should provide detail of a Refugee Welcome Plan, a Refugee Learning Plan, and a Refugee Action Plan that will be examined by a Refugee Welcome Schools Panel, made up of teachers, educationalists, trades unionists, children and refugees themselves. 

Accredited Refugee Welcome Schools are encouraged to display their accreditation certificate prominently, and are welcome to use the logo on materials. 

Both organisations have jointly produced a “Refugee Welcome School Support Pack” aiming to provide information and assistance to schools willing to apply and become part of the Refugee Welcome Schools Network.