Educational Support for Asylum-Seeking Children

Author: TACT Fostering

Tags: Education, Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

The UK home office defines unaccompanied asylum-seeking children as young people under 18 years old, who are applying for asylum, are separated from both parents, and are not in the care of a guardian. Usually aged between 13 and 17, they will have travelled independently into the UK to seek asylum from war and persecution.

That is the UK home office definition.

Here at TACT, we see frightened, disorientated and vulnerable young people who had to leave their own country, their families, friends and everything they owned and cared for.

Providing a secure base to enable them to recover from past trauma is the obvious first step, but a key focus is their educational provision.

A report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI, December 2021) stated that unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people may be experiencing an educational attainment gap of around three years, when compared to their non-asylum seeking peers.

Thankfully, legislation states that all children in England have the same entitlement to education from the age of 5 to 16, regardless of immigration status. Additionally, children in care, which includes asylum-seeking young people, are entitled to additional educational support through the Personal Education Plan (PEP) and Pupil Premium Plus funding.

Whilst it is the responsibility of a local authority to ensure that all young people in care have access to a suitable education provision, TACT’s specialist Education Service provides additional support and resources for our foster carers who are specifically caring for asylum-seeking young people.

Val provides care to asylum seeking young people
“He went to university and is now a civil engineer with letters after his name. He is proof that unaccompanied asylum seeking children can thrive and succeed in foster care.”

What does TACT’s Education Service provide?

TACT’s Education Service is available to all TACT foster carers, and the young people they provide care for. The team ensures that all young people are provided with educational opportunities in alignment with their age, ability and needs.

In fact, since September 2023, 164 children and young people have been individually supported by our Education Service. This has included compiling Personal Education Plans, supporting alternative provision and providing tuition. In addition, our service offers free access to learning resources such as Times Table Rockstars, Numbots and Phonics Play.

However, additional support and resources are provided for our asylum-seeking young people. They are:

  • Personalised advice on the most suitable local education provision
  • A leaflet in a young person’s own language, which explains the UK education system, expectations and where to go for help
  • 3 months access to a weekly online English tutor
  • Home Communication Plan for children with complex speech, language and communication needs
  • Access to the Education Service individual support as requested

In partnership with Madlug, we provide our asylum-seeking young people with a school-ready bag – to ensure that they are fully equipped from day one. The bag comes packed with items such as:

A water bottle
Calculator and maths set Folder and A4 pad
Pens and pencils
A pencil case
An English Visual Dictionary.

Asylum-seeking young people are entitled to receive an educational provision relevant to their age, ability and needs. Here at TACT, we are so proud of our dedicated Education Service, who go that extra mile to ensure that our young people are settled in their education setting, and have everything they need to succeed.

Read more about Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children.