On Friday I attended a training session held by the Refugee Support Network. Based in London, this small charity undertakes research and direct support for students from a refugee background looking to access education. They have recently expanded their team, so are now looking to expand their work.

The training was an excellent way to improve knowledge about access, as well as meet professionals working across social work, HE and NGOs in the field. It aimed to help attendees:

  • Understand the difference between basic forms of immigration status
  • Understand the difficulties young refugees and asylum seekers have accessing, remaining and progressing in education, particularly HE.
  • Understand what young refugees and asylum seekers are entitled to: fees and student support
  • Grow in ability to meet the support needs of young refugees and asylum seekers seeking to access HE.

It was fascinating hearing about the work of RSN and others at the training event. One was providing the required language support through ‘spare’ places on private courses, another university shared that they had a sponsored place in university halls for students from a refugee background. There was an emphasis on practical approaches to supporting students, in particular providing advice early in the application process.

Working with Martin Ford, I have been looking at barriers to HE at Edge Hill over the past year. It was good to hear how RSN are working to support students trying to overcome these barriers.

Action for Refugees will be welcoming RefuAid, a charity that works to support refugees looking to overcome barriers to restarting their life in the UK, to campus on 20th March. Find out more about attending this free event here.

For further information:

Refugee Support Network

Migrant Children’s Project (guidance on the relevant legislation)

STAR – list of universities offering scholarships 

Advice on Funding your education – some resources