By Amanda Clements
At the end of last year, Amanda Clements, Curriculum Developer for our Refugees as Rebuilders Programme attended the Hub for European Refugee Education (HERE), a two-day Conference in Nottingham, which brought together researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and third-sector organisations to engage in critical conversations on refugee education. The event focused on Refugee Education from a European context, with particular focus on considering Language and Wellbeing, Equality and Inclusion, Online and Remote Education and children and adults. Amanda shared her key learnings and insights from the event.
Amanda Clements: “The session on Equality and Inclusion was particularly compelling as it emphasised the importance of avoiding exceptionalism when developing educational programmes to ensure a move beyond stereotypes, as so often occurs, to ensure refugees are seen as they should be, for their worth. It highlighted the need for more teachers with refugee backgrounds and how this could help to develop a counter narrative that can work towards a paradigm shift in approaches to Refugee Education.”
Amanda’s statement, which emphasises the need to make refugee learning programmes an element of mainstream systems, was discussed in a later session by Frederick Smets, Education Officer at UNHCR. He addressed the need for refugee education to be delivered effectively in existing school systems and suggested that, for this to happen and have a positive impact, more teacher training is needed. This is in addition to the development of long-term strategies to approach inclusion, well-being and mental health, as opposed to short-term courses which are currently being offered.
A session at the Hub for European Refugee Education Conference
IofC UK provide learning solutions for Refugees that enable personal growth
Speaking about the session on online and remote education, Amanda added: “IofC UK hope to create an e-learning offering of our Refugees as Re-builders Programme soon and so this session was a reminder of the ever-changing nature of support requirements, and how this demands holistic responses, essential for long term, multi-dimensional and accessible learning, with focus on social, material, emotional, informational, developmental, and psychological factors.”
Since attending the conference, Amanda has been invited by Dr. Wayne Veck, an academic based in the Department of Education and Childhood Studies at Winchester University, to attend a series of meetings on campus which aims to bring together people who want to raise awareness of issues relating to inclusive, refugee education. As part of this, our RRB programme has been invited to run a workshop to showcase our offering.
For more information regarding Amanda’s learnings from this event please contact her via Amanda.Clements@iofc.org. For more information regarding the RRB Programme, and how to get involved in our courses, click here.