New research launched to help schools better integrate migrant children

News Page 29th January 2019

Migrant children receive varying, or no, levels of support from schools to integrate and new, pan-European research will look at developing better ways for schools to help them.

The ‘CHILD UP’ project* starts this month and University of Northampton is one of seven higher education institutes across the continent involved in the research and the only UK institution.**

The UK coordinator will be University of Northampton’s Dr Federico Farini, with University of Modena and Reggio Emilia’s Professor Claudio Baraldi is the main research lead.

The research, funded by the European Commission, will last for three years and involves:

  • A review of existing, national integration policies and legislation across all partner countries
  • A survey of migrant children and their parents to gauge their experiences of schools, teachers and fellow school-children
  • Interviews with parents and teachers about how they perceive the education relationship
  • Practice observation, which will look at the teaching styles, and programmes of activities to support migrant children’s integration in schools
  • Final report to be authored by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (expected in 2021).

The final report will also include recommendations for future work streams to develop examples of best practice that are working for other schools in the UK and Europe to implement, which will be delivered by Dr Farini and Dr Jane Murray, Senior Lecturer in Education at University of Northampton.

These are expected to include training guides for teachers and social workers to promote the integration of migrant children and a handbook with guidelines for teachers to become trainers that will be adapted into videos and online training.

Of the project, Dr Farini commented: “Given the unprecedented increase in migration over the past few years, it is no surprise we are in what some commentators have called the ‘decade of the child migrant.’

“Despite gains to support the integration of adult migrants, for instance helping them to better integrate into employment, comparatively there is much less in terms of policies and practice to help children who find themselves in alien education systems.

“Working with some of the most respected partner institutions across Europe, University of Northampton will play a key role in delivering this research to help these children.”

Professor Baraldi added: “For children who have fled the horror of war and displacement, or who have changed their life conditions following their parents’ migration, life is already a series of disorienting experiences. Their new school should be one place where they can settle, concentrate on their education and support their successful integration into the world of their host country.

“Currently, official guidelines, resources and advice for schools across Europe to help with this can be patchily delivered.

“CHILD UP will collate current practices in schools, spotlight the best of what different countries across Europe provide, as well as listening to the opinions of adult and child migrants as well as education professionals about how and why these practices work and what else could be done in the future.”

For more information about the UK side of CHILD UP, contact Dr Farini by email: federico.farini@northampton.ac.uk

For more information about the entire CHILD UP, please contact: claudio.baraldi@unimore.it

*The acronym stands for – Children Hybrid Integration: Learning Dialogue as a way of Upgrading Policies of Participation).

**The full list of CHILD UP partners is:

  • UK: Faculty of Health and Society, University of Northampton
  • Italy: University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and International Institute Of Humanitarian Law
  • Germany: University of Dresden
  • Poland: Jagellonian University
  • Belgium: Liege University and European Regions for Educational Research Foundation
  • Sweden: Malmo University
  • Finland: Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences
  • European School Heads Association
  • Fondation des Régions Européennes pour la Recherche, l’Education et la Formation
  • International Institute of Humanitarian Law.

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