Into School at The Baytree Centre is a programme that facilitates the transition of newly-arrived girls into the UK education system. The Into School project offers support to girls in our local community who have recently arrived in the UK and have no school place.
Young immigrants and refugees of secondary school age often struggle to find spaces at oversubscribed schools. They are often made to wait for months for a school place, a process which is particularly hard on girls without English language skills. Things are harder for those aged 16+: consultations with school admissions teams show that after 16, girls are unlikely to be offered a place because they cannot achieve good GCSEs. Most girls who approach us report feeling isolated, discouraged or depressed when not in school. Young Women’s Trust research shows that young women stay NEET longer than young men, which has an adverse effect on later earning potential and their mental health and self-esteem.
On the Into School programme, girls participate in ESOL classes Monday to Wednesday. They attend Maths and Sport classes as well as cook and have lunch together on a daily basis. Girls are also matched with a mentor who helps them apply to schools and colleges and follows up the applications with individual schools or the council. The girls take part in fun activities and workshops together to learn more about life in the UK, including day trips to cultural sites across London and important local landmarks. They can also attend a variety of morning and afternoon activities with other women and girls at the Baytree Centre, giving them the opportunity to extend their social networks and practice their language skills.
- Girls are supported and given a structured routine which is pivotal to preventing isolation and depression.
- Girls improve their English language skills, they become familiar with the UK culture, institutions and services, and develop social networks with other young people all of which play and important part in facilitating cultural and social integration.
- They find school places at secondary schools or vocational colleges, depending on age, preventing them from becoming NEET.