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AFGHANISTAN: Local school places found for refugees

AFGHANISTAN: Local school places found for refugees

Photo by George Makin, Local Democracy Reporter

Around 30 Afghan refugee children are being found school places in Walsall as families settle in the town.

Education bosses said they are working with the Refugee and Migrant Centre  to source places across the borough.

Last week, Walsall Council’s cabinet agreed to increase the offer of support from the original 80 individuals to 120 – with 17 families made up of 78 people already settled in the town.

And Rob Thomas, Walsall Council’s head of access, told an education overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday (September 14) they were looking to find school places near to where the families have been placed.

He also said they would continue to provide the support as more people are placed in the borough as part of the relocation scheme.

He said: “There are around 30 children, predominantly primary aged with one or two secondary and some children are pre-school.

“We are working with the schools in the locality of the allocated housing and we are ensuring we have sufficient school places, working with our partners at the Refugee and Migrant Centre to support the integration and familiarisation of the recently arrived Afghans.

“We are working with those to ensure we have school places available within and we will continue to do that as we get more and more families arriving in Walsall.”

Last week, Walsall Council leader Mike Bird revealed he had received abuse for the policy and hit back by saying the Afghan refugees put their “lives on the line for us”.

He also said: “The message to Government is clear – all local authorities should play their part.

“At the moment only one third have stepped up to the plate and with the support we offer needs to go a monetary package to assist those families with welfare, education and wherever possible housing.”

Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

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