Ukraine: education resources and support


Update from the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service, April 2022

As you probably know, there are no new arrivals in the city from Ukraine at the moment. There were only a handful of families here before the Russian invasion, so it is unlikely that we’ll see many people arrive in the first ‘wave’.

However, as the government’s scheme to sponsor a Ukrainian family fleeing the war progresses, we will start to see more new arrivals. Portsmouth City Council as a whole is working hard to get preparations in place and there is funding from central government for councils for this plus an additional amount for schools (similar to that available for pupils arriving from Afghanistan in ‘Operation Warm Welcome’); the amount is still currently unspecified, I believe.

However, guidance was recently released to local authorities around the expectation of their role. This information has been reviewed and impacts upon different areas of the council identified. Currently the volume and rate of arrivals is still unclear although PCC hope to have more information about that in due course. The support needed for each sponsor/guest pairing is expected to be significant and wide ranging. The challenge is the pace of delivery. Once more information becomes available, and we get a picture of the scale and complexity of the work, more details can be provided.

We at EMAS are monitoring the situation carefully and are about to start the process of employing a Ukrainian BLA. There will necessarily be a delay for recruitment processes but, by waiting a little, there will be a larger pool of applicants from which to choose and we will also know the scale of the need. In the meantime, we have our existing Russian BLA, Olga Barker, who can support any Russian-speaking pupils and parents – although we will obviously be sensitive in her deployment. She is already doing important work with children across the city, several of whom have parents from both Ukraine and Russia and who are obviously finding the current situation especially challenging. There are over 100 Russian-speaking pupils in our schools but there are reports from neighbouring authorities that the numbers are rising, with families wanting to leave Russia.

In the city, there are also children whose families come from countries bordering either Ukraine or Russia itself and who may also be feeling particularly vulnerable, picking up on any stress that adults in their families might well be experiencing at the moment. We have almost 700 Polish-speaking pupils in Portsmouth, more than 400 Romanians, 100 Hungarian-speakers and over 150 other pupils from other neighbouring countries such as Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. The ongoing conflict will be especially ‘close’ for them.

EMAS are able to provide support and advice to subscribing schools. If you do not currently subscribe and would like to do so please visit the traded services website.