Calais child migrants: More than 750 brought to UK

Calais child migrants: More than 750 brought to UK

Data from councils shows they have processed 200 minors in the last month, with schools having to find them places.

 

More than 750 children have been brought to the UK under the Government’s transfer scheme from the migrant camp.

A scheme to move unaccompanied children from the so-called Jungle was launched in October after criticism of the government's efforts to provide refuge.

 

Councillor David Simmonds, deputy chairman of the Local Government Association, said schools may be unprepared for the number of new arrivals.

 

Many have been reunited with family members already in the UK, Immigration minister Robert Goodwill said.

He also insisted the transfers had not ended and more children would arrive from Europe "in the coming months".

 

Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham, said: ‘The influx poses a major challenge. 

'Schools will be expected to bring them up to speed in English education, in most cases, not knowing their story, what they are capable of, or even their age.

‘They will make it even more difficult for schools to balance books.’

‘The Government should have organised transitional classes.’

One school, Southfields Academy in Wandsworth, South London, specialises in teaching migrant pupils and will take 22 children from the Calais camp.

The school has an ‘international group’ which usually has about 150 children supported across five classes, with pupils grouped on their grasp of English, not age.

Unaccompanied children have been brought to Britain either under the Dublin Regulation because of family links, or under the Dubs amendment that requires the Government to give refuge to youngsters stranded in Europe.

 

Others, without family ties, have arrived under the "Dubs amendment" rules which allow particularly vulnerable children - such as girls and those under 13 - refuge in the UK.

 

The Home Office said the transfers were being carried out as part of a planned process in conjunction with French authorities and all the children taken from the camp to children centres in France had been interviewed by UK officials.

A total number of those brought to the UK as a result of the operation is expected to be published once all the transfers are concluded.

Mr Goodwill said: "We have been working with the French authorities to bring children eligible to come here under the Dublin Regulation or the Immigration Act since the clearance of the Calais camp in October.

"More than 750 children have arrived so far. Many have been reunited with family members already in the UK, while others are being cared for by local authorities across the UK.

 

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘We work closely with local authorities to ensure that schools and those responsible for the care of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children receive the support and guidance they need.’


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