Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will forever change British schools too


The Ukraine crisis is the largest forced movement of people in Europe since World War II. More than 3 million poor souls have become refugees. Some estimate half are children.

Nobody knows how many young people will reach British shores, but it will almost certainly be hundreds of thousands. How will our primary and secondary schools deal with this?

It’s easy to forget that schools are Good puts. They are moral places that exist to fulfill a deeply moral mission. Most of them are also the ones who work there. Some teachers and support staff will tell you it’s “just a job,” but if you dig deep enough you can almost always find someone who does because they care for kids.

The pay and conditions aren’t terrific, but they don’t do it for the money. They are certainly not there for the short working day either. It may sound like an exaggeration, but almost all schools are deeply moral institutions. And we don’t have many of those anymore.

As for the kids, well, they’re kids. Even most teenagers. Norms of behavior vary, and some may seem harsh, but if you’ve spoken to as many students in as many schools as I have, the most striking thing is the lack of cynicism. Of course there are social problems in many schools, but there is also plenty of hope and optimism.

You only have to watch this tearjerker video of an Italian school greeting the first of their new Ukrainian classmates to be reminded of this important fact.

Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced funding for at least 100,000 students and plans to translate a database of recorded lessons into Russian and Ukrainian. There will also be new information for teachers.

However, Zahawi has one big problem – and this is not his fault – is that the education system is almost permanently stretched to capacity. It is rightly designed to maximize taxpayer funding. A CEO of a group of schools (a multi-academy foundation) recently told me how welcoming he expects his schools to be. “The only problem,” he added. “Is that because we just don’t have room for students anymore?”

And that’s before we really think about the tremendous new demands of teaching English as an Additional Language and the support that many students will need after trauma.

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All of this begs the question: What will our overburdened school system do? First and foremost, the heads and teachers will arrange themselves. Wherever possible, school staff will squeeze in more students. They will also try to get even more out of the already overstretched resources.

In addition, once they find a desk, they will do wonderful things with their new students. You will take care of them and take care of them. They will also support and guide their parents. This will be a big challenge for some schools, but they will rise to it.

If the pandemic has taught us anything about British teachers, it is that, in the face of a crisis, they put the whole school community first as a priority. Especially the weakest. With this in mind, they will greet the new guests of our country.

It has now been written too many times to count that Russia’s ruthless decision to invade Ukraine changed Europe forever. There is a good chance that this is also true for the UK schools.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now we are renewing our campaign and launching this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukraine crisis we urge the government to go further and faster to ensure aid is delivered. To learn more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. to sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate, then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/ukraine-students-british-schools-zahawi-b2038815.html Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will forever change British schools too

Caroline Bleakley

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