Schools in Birmingham that take in children who have been resettled as part of the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme are eligible for additional funding to support the integration and education of these pupils. Schools can claim up to £4,000 per pupil to provide extra resources, classroom support or practical aid.
The resettlement scheme, announced in 2014 and expanded in 2015, aims to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by 2020. Concentrating on displaced refugees living in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, the scheme prioritises high-need cases such as women and children, those in need of medical care and survivors of violence and torture. Those granted asylum as part of the scheme are given five years’ humanitarian protection and are eligible to apply for permanent resettlement in the UK after this period. The first year of the five is fully funded by the government with less funding allocated for the subsequent four years.
As of November 2018, 322 individuals have been resettled in Birmingham, with Birmingham City Council promising to resettle 550 by 2020. These families are supported by Refugee Action and provided with resettlement and integration advice, appointed a caseworker for their first year in the West Midlands and given assistance with practicalities like housing, benefits, education and employment.
Extra funding, however, has been designated by the Home Office to Birmingham City Council for schools that accept children from the Syrian VPRS. This money is allocated in addition to pupil premium and normal school funding and can be used in any way that supports pupil integration and that helps children adapt to the new school environment. Funds can be used for practical measures such as purchasing school uniform or bus passes for pupils, pastoral care such as counselling services or – one of the most immediate challenges for social and academic integration – providing language support. This could be one-to-one help in the form of learning support assistants or interpreters for pupils, literacy tools such as bilingual dictionaries and books, or investing in technology like laptops and tablets or platforms such as FlashAcademy® to aid students’ learning inside and outside of school.
For children aged 3–4, there is £2,000 available per student, which rises to £4,000 for pupils aged between 5 and 18 years old. The funding is a one-off payment, intended for the first 12 months of the child’s schooling in the UK and schools must apply within 3 months of the child starting the school. Pupils must attend the school for a term or more to qualify for support and if a child progresses to secondary school during the time, the funding will be split as required.
Click here for more information about the funding and support available for resettled refugees- see the Refugee Action website and the government fact sheet on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.