Conference Agenda

RN10_05a: Education and migration (1)
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Jannick Demanet, Ghent University
Location: UP.3.210
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road


The Complexities of Policy Landscape, Psychosocial Well-being and Academic Achievement of Young Unaccompanied Refugees in the UK

Harsha Nishadi Wilkinson

Independent researcher, United Kingdom

Objective:The paper discusses the impact of government policy and legislation on the psychosocial well-being and educational progress of unaccompanied refugee children and young people in the UK. It argues the importance of stability at the post-migration stage in preventing their psychological and social problems.

Research design: The paper is based on the findings of an exploratory study on educational interventions for young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. The design consisted of two elements: a systematic review of educational and vocational interventions and a qualitative field study.

Method: The main study comprised in-depth semi-structured interviews to gather data from thirty-eight professionals and academics, and fifteen male and female young unaccompanied asylum seekers in England and Scotland. The analysis was based on the constant comparative method.

Results: The study demonstrates the negative impact of government policy and legislation on these young people’s psychosocial well-being. As a result, they are less likely to make educational progress and achieve their full potential.

Conclusion: The findings urge more specific and robust investigation about the issue. Given the scarcity of literature available, further exploration will help make well- informed policy decisions and develop effective psychosocial interventions for unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children and young people.

Understanding Learning through the Lens of Acculturation and school Belonging: Life Histories of Syrian Refugee Students in the UK.

Jumana A. Al-Waeli

Institute of Education- UCL, United Kingdom

During their attempts to adapt to a different culture, Syrian refugee students, residing in the United Kingdom, demonstrate various strategies of acculturation with respect to two major issues– cultural maintenance and contact and participation.

Literature has demonstrated that acculturation might be a voluntary process when immigrant groups and individuals are granted the choice to determine their preferable acculturation orientations. However, this is only the case in multicultural societies with policies that equally support cultural maintenance; contact and participation in the new cultures (Berry, 1990). Integration Policies and the wider cultures' attitudes towards immigrants are major factors that determine whether strategies of acculturation are chosen by the acculturing groups and individuals, or are being imposed upon them (Bourhis et al., 1997; Berry, 1992).

Nevertheless, there is a significant difference between the process of acculturation of immigrants and that of refugees, considering the rising hostility towards the latter, the trauma associated with the refugees’ experiences of fleeing conflicts and prosecution, displacement, the process of asylum seeking and resettlement in new societies. Refugees have frequently expressed the stress of being segregated and refused among their new settlement societies (Phillimore, 2011); refugee students have also expressed such concerns when it comes to adapting to schools' environment and the schooling process (Régner and Loose, 2006).

By employing life histories, and through giving voice to the participants to tell their own experiences, this research aims to investigate whether the acculturation orientations, adopted or imposed upon a group of Syrian secondary school students in the UK, have any impact on their sense of belonging to school, and how these trajectories of acculturation and belonging, shape the experiences and outcomes of Learning.

Stuck In The "In-Between”? High-achieving Roma And The Costs Of Social Mobility.

Judit Durst1,2, Ábel Bereményi3

1HAS, Institute for Minority Studies; 2UCL, United Kingdom; 3UAB, Spain

This paper focuses on the experience of social mobility through successful academic trajectories among college educated Roma in Spain and Hungary. Survey data that link high academic achievement and social advancement through socio-economic characteristics tend to silence another set of indicators that is related to subjective well-being. In this article we offer a comparative analysis of dilemmas that Roma people, both in Spain and in Hungary experience throughout their trajectory of upward educational mobility, towards their community of origin and the mainstream social milieu that encompasses them. While range and pace of social mobility are proved to be key factors related to the capacity to manage adverse personal experiences of habitus dislocation (Bourdieu 1998); social, policy and institutional arrangement of protecting factors can also contribute to mitigate painful personal “costs” of changing class. This paper systematically interrogates the most salient individual costs of inter-generational upward mobility of different speed, with a big range compared to the parents’ social standing. We explore 'costs' or 'hidden prices' of mobility by analyzing related factors such as dislocated habitus, choice of studies, access mostly to segmented labour market positions, and the situation of partner selection and family formation. Our study followed a purposive sampling approach. Data from 20-20 graduate Roma (from the two respective countries) were collected through in-depth interviews. They were analysed with the grounded theory method, conducting repeated processes of initial coding towards a theory coding. Results from a comparative perspective show that while socially mobile Roma people have to face a similar set of dilemmas and 'costs' in both contexts, the intensity and potential effects on these costs on individuals are fundamentally different across countries.

Muslim Home Schoolers InThe UK: Narratives Of Risk And Radicalisation

Martin Myers1, Kalwant Bhopal2

1University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom; 2University of Birmingham

This paper examines the experiences of Muslim families who choose to home school their children drawing upon a larger project exploring a diverse range of home schoolers. The work of Ulrich Beck (1992, 2006) is used to discuss how ‘risk’ is understood for Muslim homeschoolers often by conflating global fears of Islamification within local settings such as schools. Home schooling in the UK is subject to very low thresholds of regulation and this has increasingly led to concerns about child safeguarding and educational outcomes. There has been a noticeable trend however, for identifications of home schooled children being ‘at risk’, to seemingly reflect preconceptions about ethnicity, class or religious affiliation (Bhopal and Myers, 2018) Often Ethnic minority and poorer homeschoolers, are more readily identified as putting their children ‘at risk’ than their white, middle class counterparts. Muslim homeschoolers have been singled out by the schools inspectorate OFSTED as putting their children ‘at risk’ by using the lax regulation of home schooling as ‘cover’ for radicalising children. This has emerged against wider political and media discourses in which Muslims are portrayed as promoting narrow, religious curriculums out of step with mainstream society. Our findings suggest that many Muslim homeschoolers, like other BME families, use it as a strategy avoid racism within schools. A vicious circle emerges in which Muslim children encounter racism and bullying at school because of their religious background, causing families to withdraw children from school, which feeds further narratives in which Muslim communities are demonised.