Lujain 14, a pupil at Clydebank High School
Lujain 14, a pupil at Clydebank High School

Transitioning through education

For refugee and asylum-seeking young people in the UK

All children have the right to education, which is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This right isn’t lost when children are forced to flee their home countries.

Our new report, Education transitions for refugee and asylum-seeking young people in the UK highlights that despite their right, refugee and asylum-seeking children and young people continue to face numerous obstacles when progressing through the UK education system.

The report also shows that even with challenges in lack of support, poor mental health, and poverty, young refugees’ resilience and personal drive – as well as persistent support and welcoming environments – mean they can progress through education.

“My whole journey was about finding the information that wasn’t given to me and then... making my own way into university.”

What are we calling for?

We’re calling on the government to revisit access to home fees and other restrictive immigration rules that limit young refugees’ access to further and higher education.

We’re also asking colleges and universities to improve their support for young refugees by investing in staff training, providing clear and publicly available guidance, and exercising flexibility and compassion in the admissions process.

About the report

This report was written by our partner Refugee Education UK (formerly Refugee Support Network) and draws on the experiences of more than 500 young refugees in the UK.

Building on our earlier report, Education for refugee and asylum seeking children: Access and equality in England, Scotland and Wales, this research specifically examines progression to further education (FE) and higher education (HE) in the UK. The study:

  • Addresses the gap in relevant research
  • Builds on existing evidence
  • Examines the factors that hinder and support refugee and asylum-seeking young people’s education progression in the UK

Advice sheets

In addition to the report, the research has been used to develop four practitioner advice sheets. The advice sheets offer institutions and individuals practical solutions to the challenges faced by young refugees during the transition through to further education (FE) and higher education (HE). Access them here.

Discover more

World Refugee Day: An open letter from young people

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Download our Youth Advocacy Toolkit

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