Ukrainian refugee children fleeing war may have to wait four weeks to get place at Northampton schools, says council

The Home Office has said it should take up to 15 days to get Ukrainian refugee children into schools

By Logan MacLeod
Friday, 29th April 2022, 2:00 pm

Refugees are coming over to the UK and Northampton as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which allows individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the country to bring Ukrainians to safety.

As part of that scheme, a Home Office spokesperson said, Ukrainian refugee children should be given a school place within 15 days of arriving, which is the responsibility of the local authority.

However, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) provided a comment saying that it is currently facing a 'large increase' in applications, with some possibly taking up to a month to process.

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The council has said Ukrainian refugee children may have to wait up to four weeks to get a place at a school in the county

A council spokeswoman said: “The council is currently facing a large increase in the number of in-year school applications, both from Ukraine and elsewhere, meaning that they may take around four weeks to process. However, some children are receiving a school allocation much sooner.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure that children are in education as soon as possible and staff at schools in West Northamptonshire are being extremely helpful.

"Each application is dealt on its own merit and in accordance with the school admissions law, we cannot comment on individual cases.”

This newspaper has so far received one complaint from a sponsor who was told it may take eight weeks for his refugee child to get a place at a school. However, after the Chron got in touch with the council, the man said his child had now secured an allocation.

According to The Good Schools Guide, refugee children have the same right to schooling as any other child. In fact, it’s a legal requirement for them to be in education until they are 18.

Ukrainians arriving in the UK under the scheme will be granted three years leave to remain, with entitlement to work, and access benefits and public services.

Secretary of State Michael Gove, who is responsible for the scheme, said: "The courage shown by the Ukrainian people in the face of devastation caused by the invasion of their great country is nothing short of remarkable.

"The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of helping others in their hour of need and our new Homes for Ukraine scheme offers a lifeline to those who have been forced to flee.”

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