The Healing Classrooms programme aims to support schools and educators to develop inclusive and nurturing learning spaces for refugee and asylum-seeking students. We've put together a bundle of resources to help schools create a welcoming environment for new students.

Welcoming new students

The Initial Meet-Up With Caregivers form has key information to support students and their families from their very first day. 

This information can then be shared with key staff who will work with each student and provide individual insights based on any needs they may have. 

The Education Welcome Pack is a resource created by REUK and Bell foundation for parents of children new to the UK. It's available in English, Dari, Pashto and Ukrainian and is the perfect way to share information about English schools.

If you have students from Afghanistan or Ukraine, these country specific Teacher Briefings will give you a well-rounded understanding of the circumstances and challenges that the students and their families may face as they adapt to their new school.

Creating a buddy programme

One way to support refugee students is to buddy them up with other students who are good roles models and show empathy towards others. 

The Being a Buddy Application Form is essential to ensure only students who are truly interested will apply. This means you will have a supply of buddies that will offer good quality support to the students joining your school.   

The Being a Buddy Training Slides can be used to train students to welcome refugee and asylum-seeking students to your school. 

 Students work through the Being a Buddy Booklet for 3 sessions with a member of staff and will have tasks to complete before their next session.  

A happy girl with a bird and flower
A supportive environment is especially crucial for children who have been displaced as their difficult journeys can noticeably impact their mental health.
Photo: Hannah Jacobs and Pal TV for the IRC

Student activity ideas 

The Social Emotional Learning Lesson Plan Bank contains daily and weekly lesson plans that can be used by educators to support social-emotional learning.

The Social Emotional Learning Games Bank contains over 60 games designed to help all students develop their social and emotional skills in new and fun ways. The games are great for all students but particularly those who may have experienced some form of trauma. 

This wonderful All About Me boardgame activity from Twinkl can be used to encourage students to get to know each other. It can also be used for support staff to build relationships with students who newly arrive in the UK.  

New Class Bingo is a great collaborative learning activity that will provide opportunities for children to get to know their classmates through lively conversation. Children new to the UK can be buddied up with a peer or navigate the room by themselves if they are confident.  

Student resource booklets

The All About Me Booklet is a useful resource for teachers and young students in EYFS and KS1 to get to know each other and share some important information. 

The New Starter Welcome Activity Booklet can be used to assist students in KS2 with important vocabulary. 

A child sits in classroom with other students raising hands
“When the head teacher just came and took me to my class, I became a little bit shy.” 7-year-old Mudasir arrived in the UK from Afghanistan in 2021. Watch our animation to hear from refugee children about the experience of starting school in the UK for the first time.
Photo: Hannah Jacobs and Pal TV for the IRC

Further training opportunities

The Healing Classrooms programme aims to support schools and educators to develop inclusive and nurturing learning spaces for refugee and asylum-seeking students. 

Sign up to these EAL webinars from the Bell Foundation to ensure suitable support, provision and access to lessons and activities are in place for children newly arriving in the UK.   

Savvy staffroom support 

Traumatic experiences and adversity can affect children from all sections of society and backgrounds. This poster is a quick read and visual reminder of how toxic stress can impact the brain and affect learning. 

This set of A5 resource cards provides mindfulness activities that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be printed, laminated and displayed in the classroom to serve as a prompt and helpful reminder for staff in school to use with learners. These activities can be used with the whole class as a brain break or 1-1 with a child who is dysregulated and in need of support. 

More about Healing Classrooms