Protective and Mediating Factors
Research shows that if one or more of these factors is in place, children have a better chance of coping with their new situation and achieving their full potential.
- Supportive parents or other carers who are coping well with their situation
- Belief systems (moral, religious, political) which can explain, guide and support
- Social supports within and beyond the family - friends, neighbours, teachers, peers, etc.
- Access to the wider community
- Sense of structure and meaning, and being able to make sense of their situation
- Educational environment that provides structure, normality and positive experiences
- Positive self-esteem
In order to best support their refugee pupils, schools will want to use the following principles:
- Treating each family individually, and identifying which risk and protective factors apply
- Use pro-active and preventative strategies, rather than responding when greater difficulties arise
- Enhancing personal, family and community resources, i.e. offering support to families on a wide range of issues
- Responding to needs in systematic and co-ordinated ways. Strategies for the welcome and support of refugee children and their families should be embedded in normal practice, rather than as a 'bolt-on' extra.
Experience has shown that changes made for refugees benefit the whole school population.
Adapted from 'In Safe Hands: a resource and training pack to support work with young refugee children' (2001) Published by Save the Children and The Refugee Council.
Adapted from work by the Newham Refugee Education Team.