Doncaster schools take in dozens of Ukrainian refugee pupils

Schools in Doncaster have offered dozens of places to children fleeing the Ukraine conflict, new data shows.

The UK Government currently operates resettlement schemes for refugees and migrants leaving Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong – many of whom are families with children.

Figures from the Department for Education show at least 32 Ukrainian pupils have been offered school places in Doncaster as of May 27 – the latest available data.

The figures also show that 44 offers have been given to pupils settled from Afghanistan and eight to children from Hong Kong.

At least 32 Ukrainian pupils have been offered school places in Doncaster

The Government estimated 11,400 applications have been made for Ukrainian child refugees nationally up to May 27, of which nearly 10,000 had been given offers – including around 500 in Yorkshire and The Humber.

A further 5,400 Afghan and 8,000 Hong Kong pupils have been offered places in English schools, according to estimates.

The figures were compiled through a survey given to local authorities, with 77 per cent of councils responding.

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Separate data from the Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show 168 refugees had been given visas in Doncaster under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme as of July 5, 121 of which have arrived in the UK.

This is up from four weeks ago, when there were 96 arrivals from 151 offers.

The Association of School and College Leaders, which represents school heads, said that while refugee pupils have been warmly welcomed by schools, there is more work to be done to support them.

Geoff Barton, the organisation's general secretary said: “The main challenges are the language barrier and supporting the children with the trauma they have experienced.

“We are concerned about the availability of wider specialist support for their mental health and wellbeing which schools can draw upon.

“Our impression is that this is patchy and that schools are largely doing this on their own without any additional resources.”

Save the Children, a children's charity, agreed that more help is needed for Ukrainian pupils.

Dan Paskins, director of UK impact, said: “We are calling for more skilled caseworkers to speed up applications to come to the UK and to help if placements break down, and for more specialist mental health support for children and families."

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Dominic Brown, editor.