ESOL, Refugee Integration, Refugee Resettlement

Refugee Resettlement in our words 2018

… an interesting representation of the breadth and depth of work that Local Authorities are putting into refugee resettlement and integration across Scotland. Thanks for sharing this, Katie 😉

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Word Art

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ESOL, Refugee Integration, Refugee Resettlement

Celebrating success – Clackmannanshire Refugee Team shortlisted for ‘Most Inspiring or Innovative Project Award’ Quality Improvement Awards

Clackmannanshire Council’s Education Refugee Team were shortlisted for ‘Most Inspiring or Innovative Project Award’ in the Scottish Government and Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Quality Improvement Award.

All 32 Scottish Local Authorities are working tirelessly to help resettled refugees integrate in their new communities and it’s great news when this work is recognised.

Here, our friend Lynette Murray outlines just some of the hard work that led to this achievement.

Over the past two years Clackmannanshire has welcomed 20 Syrian refugee families into the authority. Data showed that these children and their families were finding it extremely challenging to adapt to their new surroundings and educational settings. All of these families were potentially very vulnerable due to communication barriers, social isolation and experience of trauma and loss.

Recognising these challenges and using quality improvement methodology to support the design, implementation and evaluation of the project, the Education Refugee Team was implemented to provide an innovative service delivery model to improve well-being and learning outcomes for all Syrian refugee families.

Clackmannanshire Council is delighted to announce that the Education Refugee Team has been shortlisted for a QI Award 2018– ‘Most Inspiring or Innovative Project Award’.

The project is partnership-based and has implemented a range of supports at different levels including:

  • sensory-led, 1 to 1 well-being support for nursery & school aged children
  • direct 1 to 1 EAL support
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • community integration events
  • ESOL provision (formal and informal) for adults
  • Employability support
  • supported activity and homework programmes
  • enhanced Primary 7 transition
  • delivery of staff training in supporting refugee children
  • ‘Circle of Friends’ groups
  • Targeted youth work & holiday programmes
  • Refugee mother & baby groups

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The delivery of the numerous interventions have been delivered in a creative manner underpinned by the Neurosequential Model in Education (NME) approach which considers the stage of brain development, as opposed to the chronological age of the child by focussing on sensory regulation.

ESOL provision for Refugee adults has been supported by an onsite crèche, which focuses on structured and sensory play, ensuring attendance is possible for mothers. Additionally during the school holidays this crèche is also transformed into a play scheme which welcomes all children of all ages.

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The successful development of this partnership model has embraced a holistic, needs led approach to build capacity amongst young people where vision and innovation are key.

The project has made a vast impact in ensuring refugee families’ well-being & learning needs are being met, and that they are being signposted for further support where necessary. It has been creative and ambitious at every opportunity, in driving forward change in outcomes for Syrian refugees integrating into Clackmannanshire and adapting to living in Scotland.

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Quality Improvement Awards 2018
Equality and Human Rights, ESOL, Refugee Integration, Refugee Resettlement, Rights and Entitlements, Scotland's Demographics

 ‘New Scots’? Reflections on a name

Alison Strang, Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, writes about her time as chair of the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy.

There was one particular week back in 2013 when I, along with colleagues in the COSLA strategic migration partnership, Scottish Government and Scottish Refugee Council were all desperately searching around to find a good name for the refugee integration strategy that we were about to launch. We needed something catchy – but with initials that couldn’t be turned into a bad acronym! At the same time, we wanted to capture the spirit of welcome, to acknowledge that refugees’ relationships with Scotland begin on the first day they arrive, and that integration is about supporting local people to adjust to newcomers as well as supporting newcomers to feel at home. Too much to fit into one title you may say? Indeed. But when we hit on the name ‘New Scots’ we knew that we had captured the essence of what the strategy was trying to achieve. People coming to Scotland to seek sanctuary from danger should be welcomed as Scots. Yet, as newcomers, refugees may need some specialist support to cope with the challenges of adjusting to a new environment.

Refugees seek to lead full and independent lives. Challenges such as learning a new language and culture, and navigating local systems and services from shops and buses to public health services can isolate people. Too many asylum seekers and refugees experience periods of destitution and homelessness when the structures of our society fail to deliver rights effectively. The vision for the first New Scots strategy continues to guide the second strategy; “… a welcoming Scotland where refugees and asylum seekers are able to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive.”

As an academic at Queen Margaret University, I have been especially concerned with the impact of conflict and disaster on individual and community wellbeing. Over and over again I have seen people who have lost so much demonstrating amazing resilience and courage in tackling personal and public challenges to re-establish their lives. As chair of the New Scots strategy core group, it has been a real privilege to work closely with those delivering support and services and implementing a strategy that will change the lives of people living in Scotland. I have been humbled by the energy, vision and personal commitment of many busy people to make things happen!

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Alison Strang introduces the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2018-2022

I am now stepping down from this role following the launch of the second New Scots strategy 2018 -2022, in January 2018. I do believe that one of the most important achievements of New Scots so far has been to create a community of practice in Scotland around asylum and refugee issues. As I travel to other parts of the UK, Europe and further afield, I realise how unusual this is. The New Scots process has become a context in which information is shared, holistic responses are framed, and delivery monitored. Members are well connected to influence the key policy initiatives in their own sectors. Scottish Local Authorities have drawn on these relationships and shared understandings to respond to the challenge of welcoming, housing and supporting Syrian families in the resettlement scheme.

What next? I am excited about the ambition of the second New Scots strategy launched in January 2018. It is framed around four overarching outcomes concerning the nature of our communities; understanding rights and responsibilities; and access to rights and services; and informed strategic planning. At the same time, I see some key challenges to impact.

How can we involve refugees and other community members in the delivery and shaping of New Scots priorities over the next four years? Success depends on those who are living together as a diverse community leading the way in identifying priorities.

How can we ensure that community groups and other third sector organisations do not have to wait to be invited to the table?

How can we build strong trusting relationships between stakeholders across Scotland so that knowledge and good practice can be shared openly?

The diversity of Scotland has increased dramatically over the past 15 years, and our declining population has started to increase again. Experience shows that migrants, including refugees, ultimately will go to the places where they can find work. Are we doing enough to release refugees’ economic potential?

My final reason for thinking that ‘New Scots’ is a great title is because for integration to happen, we all need to become ‘New Scots’. We need to be constantly evolving and renegotiating our identity as a nation to blend the old with the new enabling our culture to be enriched by our diversity.

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New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2018-2022
ESOL, Refugee Integration

National learning event on ESOL and Refugee Integration

On 30 October 2017 Research Scotland and COSLA hosted an event to support English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) practitioners who are working with refugees.

Between January and August 2017 Research Scotland delivered a project to support those involved in the development and delivery of ESOL for adults resettled under the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme.  The work involved a series of four regional engagement events with those involved in design and delivery of ESOL, field work with practitioners and learners, and the development of written guidance to support ESOL design and delivery from key speakers on topics of interest.

The event was opened by COSLA’s Communities and Wellbeing Spokesperson, Cllr Kelly Parry followed by a word from the Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, the then Minister for Immigration.

Click here to see the presentations from the event (Education Scotland)