In a public event organized on 29 May 2017, the Bremen Education Union (GEW – LV Bremen) and the Bremen Refugee Council (Flüchtlingsrat Bremen) have criticised the lack of school places for hundreds of young refugees in Bremen. Despite the right to an education, and the legal requirement under German law to attend schools, these 6 to 18 year olds are not allowed to go to school. Instead, they face months in separate 'welcome classes' or are taught inside initial refugee accommodation by 'camp-teachers.' Other children wait for weeks or months for a place at a school. This 'dis-integration' instead of integration, has been strongly criticised by the GEW and Refugee Council.

The high level of new arrivals in the 2015 /6 school year could explain this situation. However, the end of the 2016 /17 school year sees the unfair treatment of refugee children and their exclusion from the mainstream school system becoming systemic. Significant investment is needed now, to provide enough school places and the necessary action against staff shortages so that this unfair treatment and lack of access to the education system is brought to an end.

According to the education authorities there are currently some 100 children and young people – for example in the initial accommodation center in Linden Strasse and in the emergency accommodation facility in the Falken Strasse who get a maximum of 2 hours of schooling a day from a 'camp teacher'. In Bremerhaven, the AWO (a charity) runs more than 20 so called 'Welcome Classes' for (more than 200) children without a school place. Despite the legal requirement to attend school existing in Bremen from the first day – the duty and therefore the right to an education applies for refugee children too, registering for a school place takes place after moving out of the initial accommodation center. This state of play cannot be allowed to become the rule. Instead, an accelerated placement within the mainstream education system should be the aim.

“The current practice breaks the law in multiple ways” according to Marc Millies from the Bremen Refugee Council referring both to state laws and EU legislation. The education authorities in Bremen claim that this exclusionary practice is 'educationally based' and is only temporary anyway. Simultaneously, the authorities admit that the rule of a maximum wait in the initial accommodation centers of only 3 months is regularly overrun. The new law which was agreed to by the Bundesrat on the 2nd of June ( "Gesetz zur besseren Durchsetzung derAusreisepflicht" – “Law to improve compliance with departure orders”) will allow refugee families to be held for up to two years in initial accommodation centers – for example in Bremen Vegesack. In line with the current practice, this would mean that the exclusion of some refugee children from the education system would become long term.