The Role of Schools in Resettling Refugees: Case studies from Scotland and South Australia

24th Oct 2017, 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Faculty of Education

This presentation will bring together research from three projects which explore diverse aspects of schooling for students from refugee backgrounds. One project, undertaken during a four month fellowship at the University of Glasgow, explores parent and teacher perceptions of the educational experiences of recently arrived Syrian students in Glasgow schools. The other two projects focus on aspects of secondary schooling for refugee background students in South Australia.

These projects used mixed-methods approaches, with one project exploring school supports for refugee students undertaking their secondary certificate of education and the second project exploring teacher and school abilities to identify and refer student with refugee backgrounds who might be experiencing mental health issues.

Similarities and differences across the Scottish and South Australian contexts will be considered with a consideration of a range of educational practices that shape the schooling experiences of refugee background youth. Aspects that will be explored include the role of EAL staff and language, the preparation of teachers to respond to refugee learners, parent engagement, racialisation and pedagogical and assessment flexibilities.

Profile: Melanie Baak is an Endeavour Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of South Australia and convenor of the Migration and Refugee Research Network. Her research expertise focuses on the varied experiences of people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. In recent research projects she has collaborated with several refugee background communities recently resettled in Australia including South Sudanese, Bhutanese, Burmese and Congolese to explore themes including; belonging, schooling and education, employment, identity, home, place, transition, family and gender.

Her recently published book is ‘Negotiating Belongings: stories of forced migration of Dinka women from South Sudan’ (Sense, 2016). Mel was awarded an Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellowship to visit the University of Glasgow for 4 months in 2017 during which time she will research schools as sites of resettlement for Syrian refugees in  Glasgow.

Further information is available here