School Registration - Writing your Application
In preparing your application, you will need to find out the process for school registration in your local authority.
It is useful to know which local schools have places, and in what year groups - if the primary schools have plenty of places and the secondary schools very few, you can include this in the application form so that you are matched appropriately. Your Local Authority may be able to help with this information.
You should also find out if there is a bursary for school uniforms. If not, make sure you include this in your budget.
You may not be able to do much more until you know where the family will be living. Once you do know, it is important you find the right school.
Read about how to Prepare Families for the British Education System here.
Finding the right school
The school the children attend is an important hub of community sponsorship, so the group’s relationship with the school is crucial. Schools are places of welcome, orientation and sanctuary for many families. Former Head Teacher and Community Sponsorship volunteer, Ellie Stacey, advises that if there is a choice of schools, take your time with the choice and check out the schools' attitudes to welcoming a refugee family.
A key point is to check if the school has - or at least will be willing to obtain - adequate resources to support the children regardless of age and language skills. You can find more info here.
It is wise to establish a strong relationship with the school prior to the family's arrival.
Example from Falmouth: When the family arrived to Falmouth in early December, it was agreed that the children would start school in January to avoid the school Christmas craziness. The group arranged for a few of the volunteers to attend school with the children during the early days.
The group then conducted a pre-visit with the family, which was essential to familiarise everyone with school routines, where to drop off and pick up, and to complete all the paperwork. An interpreter is a must and the school should arrange this.
Attached - Cornwall Community Sponsorship Groups - Education Case Study
Funding & Budgets
Local Authorities will be able to claim £4,500 for children aged 5-18 and £2,250 for children aged 3-4 from the Home Office. You may need to tell them about this funding (you can direct them to this funding instruction here (pg. 27)), and ensure that it is directed to the school, for the benefit of the resettled children.
Your group should budget for school uniforms and stationary.
Attached - Syrian VPRS Guidance for Primary Schools
Attached - Syrian VPRS Guidance for Secondary Schools
Attached - Education Guidance for Groups in Scotland
You can read about Citizens UK Refugees Welcome Schools Accreditation Scheme in this section.
Filling Out The Application Form: 1.5c-e School Registration
1.5c. Will your group commence the process of registering children in school as soon as you receive confirmation of the arrival date?
NA – Move to question 1.5f
If no, please explain why you will delay the start of the school registration process
1.5d. What steps you will take to start the school registration process?
X school has confirmed that they have spaces for the 6-year old, and the 8 year old. This is a short walk from the house. However, they cannot register for places until the family are in country, and parents are present. So, within the first week, we will register the children for these schools.
The Head of Schools at the Local Authority has agreed to help us with this process, and confirmed that there are spaces available.
Before their first day, we will arrange a pre-visit, to familiarise everyone with school routines, where to drop off and pick up, and to complete all the paperwork.
We will assist with the school uniform grant, and also, if necessary, simply provide the uniform for the family. We have also budgeted for stationary.