Below we outline the work
done in some schools to prepare for the arrival of refugee children; to support their
integration into the normal work of the schools; and the strategies used to tackle any
bullying and racist incidents.
Research suggests that the majority of refugee children
do indeed experience some racist name-calling at school or in the community:
said to me, Why dont you go back to your own
country, and that really hurt me"
(Spotlight 74, SCRE 1999)
However, despite the recent well-publicised attacks against adults, we have found no
evidence of widespread, violent bullying of refugee children in the schools we have
visited. This might be because good preparation, involving all members of school
communities, has meant that the challenge of integrating children from different cultures
has been an enriching, rather than a disrupting, experience. Or it could be that teachers
and pupils are anxious to play down any problems.
Recent attention has been focused on the plight of refugees in a few areas of Glasgow
(Glasgow City Council has developed an extensive support network - see back page). But any
school in Scotland could be faced at any time with the challenge of integrating one or
more children who have arrived from a distant land - possibly traumatised by their
experiences, probably with little or no English and potentially vulnerable to racism and
bullying. This challenge will be most easily met by those schools that already have well
developed anti-bullying and anti-racist policies.
Wherever they have come from, whatever their religion, ethnicity or language, all
children have a right to be educated in an atmosphere free from fear and intimidation.