This programme aimed to provide a supported environment to better understand the experiences of Refugee Background Students (RBS) and their families, and to identify new ideas and new approaches for supporting progression into Higher Education.

The project will work with RBS who are currently in HE, acting as peer researchers to engage with younger RBS (primarily in years 9-13) on their experiences of arriving in, and moving through the education system. The research will seek to identify their aspirations, how these are being met and their perceptions of the interventions and challenges faced in moving through the system.

The programme also aimed to:

  • Provide positive role models to younger RBS in schools through the peer research activity
  • Form an advisory group with key staff monitoring and informing the programme
  • Produce an online resource that will support teachers and staff in schools and colleges better understand the perceptions and needs of this group
  • Disseminate findings and recommendations

The project worked with two RBS who are currently in HE, acting as peer researchers, who engaged with younger RBS (primarily in years 9-13) on their experiences of arriving in, and moving through the education system. The research seeked to identify their aspirations, how these are being met and their perceptions of the interventions and challenges faced in moving through the system. Through participating in the project, the young refugee participants had the opportunity to tell their story and to have their experiences valued, the two peer researchers recruited by the project provided positive role models to RBS in schools and received two-day training in research methods.

Key to the success of the project was an Advisory Group of partners from schools, colleges, universities, BHCC and representatives from refugee communities, who met three times during the life of the project. The engagement of key stakeholders as partners was designed to ensure that dissemination occurred from day one of the project and maximised the generation of new knowledge and ideas. This group had general oversight of the project, provided advice on the overall strategy, raised awareness of the project in their respective networks and ensured that the online resource is accessible and meets the needs of staff in educational institutions. All the Advisory Group members and partners have been very positive throughout the course of the project, thus future collaborations are likely.

Some of the planned project outcomes include:

  • A planned online resource for schools and colleges, to be hosted on the local¬†Schools of Sanctuary website which is linked to national City of Sanctuary website, and BHCC teachers’ network and learning platform PiertoPeer.
  • Conference papers and a co-authored academic paper.
  • The research findings will be presented at the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY) seminar programme in the November 2018.
  • A possible topic guide for universities working with RBS or contribution for a policy/ practitioner facing publication.

Programme Partners: University of Sussex, Sanctuary on Sea, Hummingbird Project

For further information please email our Innovation Fund Project Manager, Debra Vice-Holt