Written evidence submitted by Birchanger C of E Primary School


I am a headteacher of the above school. We are the main school for a settlement centre, previously an IBIS hotel, for refugees in our village. We have accepted displaced children to our school for two terms and we have a growing understanding of the particular issues surrounding the attendance of this group of children. We are also aware that there are a growing number of hotels being used in this way to house refugees and asylum seekers and consequently I do not expect our position to be unique.

I would like you consider the following:

  1. The parents at our school are largely supportive of school life.
  2. The parents are very protective of their children with whom they have been through a great deal.
  3. The conditions in the hotel mean that illnesses spread more quickly between the community than is the case for our other children.
  4. Parents want to protect their children above all else and as a result are likely to keep children at home for relatively minor complaints.
  5. Visits to doctors or other medical practioners takes longer than for other children as appointments have to be arranged through the hotel staff. Travel to and from these appointments then needs to be arranged with a charity.
  6. The school bus leaves the hotel at 8.30am.
  7. Parents cannot easily walk their children to school.
  8. Generally, parents speak very limited English.
  9. Parents have an extremely limited access to finding and could not pay a fine.
  10. Official or formal paperwork is daunting for families who are likely to ignore it.


February 2023