Helping parents connect with the schools their children attend, develop an understanding of the school system, access school and community education services, improve language skills and increase involvement in their child’s education.
“We love this country, so we want to learn about its system. I didn’t know how to learn from who until I met you, it was very productive and fun for me. I am very lucky.”
– Quote from a client
Who is this for?
Asylum Welcome’s Schools Advocacy Project seeks to support and mentor refugee, asylum seeker and migrant families to help them navigate and engage with the schools their children attend.
“I am more able to talk to schoolteacher and help my son. I’ve made new friends. I feel more confident talking English. I want to learn more.”
– Quote from a client
What can we offer?
The project aims to help families:
develop the confidence to be involved in their child’s school experience
increase the effectiveness of communication between home and school
develop a good working knowledge of the school system
to improve access to school services
The Schools Advocacy Family Mentors are part of a collaborative team. Each volunteer mentor is matched with one family and their role is to support the needs of that family based on their children’s schooling.
Of course, needs vary for each family and individualised support plans are developed accordingly, but common threads include:
- Making contact with their assigned family once a week to develop and monitor support
- Supporting the delivery of the Schools Advocacy ESOL programme and attending classes with families
- Communicating school expectations: school structure, student timetable, key staff contacts,
- Helping parents understand school communications
- Helping parents understand their responsibilities in communicating with the school (e.g., attendance, absenteeism, attitudes and engagement, student wellbeing)
- Supporting parents with administrative tasks such as form filling, responding to letters and emails
- Accessing appropriate benefits (such as free school meals, subsidised uniforms, and assistance with music lessons and other school services that require an extra fee)
- Liaising with schools regarding pastoral care
- Engaging translation and interpretation services if required
- Providing information on digital support available to families (including Asylum Welcome’s laptop project)
- Helping with referrals to other services (e.g., Asylum Welcome’s Education service as well as external tuition support)
- Being available to attend and explain school engagement activities such as parent evenings and talks
Referrals come from local schools, partner organisations and within Asylum Welcome.