Syrian refugee crisis: schools in England open their doors to displaced children

Schools around the country have vowed to open their doors to refugee children.

A number of boarding schools have said they will offer free places to displaced pupils. And Sebastien Chapleau, headteacher at La Fontaine Academy, a primary school in south-east London, has also said he will welcome them.

“The world we live in is plagued with trauma, and the Syrian refugee crisis is increasingly becoming one of the worst humanitarian events in modern history,” he said.

“Headteachers have a chance to make history today. We all have an opportunity to improve the circumstances of refugee children by welcoming them into our schools. Standing by, it is clear, will simply not do.”

Meanwhile, Saint Felix School, a boarding school in Suffolk, has offered two free places to teenage refugees. Boundary Oak School in Hampshire has done the same.

It is estimated that if all the boarding schools in the independent sector agreed to offer places to two refugees, up to 1,000 vulnerable and desperate children could be given the chance of a new life in the UK.

Hazel Kellett, headteacher of Boundary Oak School, which offers boarding and day schooling for boys and girls aged 2 to 13, said: “Like many other boarding schools, we are perfectly set up to not only be able to provide a great education, but also a safe haven, food and clothing in a place where the Syrian children will be well cared for and supported emotionally.

“Most will have had a devastating journey to get to us, many will have been orphaned and we will give them a place to call home. As a private school, Boundary Oak feels compelled to offer our experience, facilities and pastoral care to help these children. It would be wrong for us not to.”

Robin Fletcher, national director of the Boarding Schools’ Association, has said that he would support any school providing places to orphaned Syrian refugees. “We know educating the next generation is key to the future success of any country,” he said.

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