Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New migration brings poses inevitable challenges,

New migration brings poses inevitable challenges, but a healthy dose of imaginative, strategic thinking and action can overcome most.

Leonie McCarthy

Peterborough became a dispersal area under the government’s refugee policy in 2001. It is a city which had seen new communities establish themselves over many years in the past, including East Africans, Pakistani, Poles, Italians and Lithuanians. But over a very short time it found itself hosting 80% of eastern England’s asylum population and receiving over 60 different nationalities at one time. During the same period a sizeable number of Portuguese people arrived in the city in exercise of their European Union free movement rights, followed by people from eastern European after the accession states joined the EU in 2004.

Local services, organisations and residents were not prepared for an influx of so many new communities at once. The public perception of illegal/bogus/benefit grabbers’ was widespread and local officials were often wrongly informed about what the migrants could and could not do. There were incidents of asylum seekers being sent to the Job Centre to claim benefits they were not entitled to receive, and migrant workers directed to the National Asylum Support Service for help. City Council services, health officials and the police did not know who was entitled to what, why people were here, or whether the services they were providing met the needs of the new communities. Tensions between the new arrivals and settled communities began to increase to a point where there were a number of significant disturbances.

To tackle these issues a bid was put into the Home Office under the ‘Invest to Save’ programme and a partnership of police, council and health trusts asked for £2.2m for three years to run nine projects which would work for the smooth integration of new arrivals into the life of Peterborough. The projects included the establishment of aone stop centre, New Link, where new arrivals would come for information or assistance about a variety of matters which concerned them as individuals.  

The centre looked at how new arrivals (and New Link) could contribute to Peterborough’s needs as a growing city. The need for specific advice was used as a point of first contact with the client, and a process of enquiry was initiated which involved questions about what they did in their home country and what skills they have, and to map this against the skills and languages gaps that existed in the city. The intention was to encourage the newly arrived to move out of the ‘picking, plucking, and packing’ work most were engaged in, to work for a better fit for their skills and abilities.  

In addition, the centre encouraged public service organisations to provide information about the way they were runto ensure new migrants were aware of their services, so that people were provided with as much important information as possible on arrival in Peterborough. Early contact also allowed checks to ensure that children were enrolled in school, which anticipated the complaints of some settled residents about noise and commotion on the streets. Migrants would be urged to register with a GP, dissipating the concerns of some health professionals that the health needs of the newly-arrived translated into blocked accident and emergency departments.

The complaints of settled residents that migrants ‘loweredwages’ by working for less than the minimum wage, were dealt with by ensuring they knew about their rights under employment law. The belief that they were all living in overcrowded accommodation was tackled by assisting new arrivals in getting rent books and decent living conditions.

The benefit of having information across the 20-odd questions asked of people on their first visit not only helped collated statistics on things like migrant skills (confirming that many are highly qualified), but also helped equip New Link with evidence that the newcomers were not ‘abusing hospitality’ and this has proven invaluable in busting myths and misconceptions.

Another project is run by a community development officer based at the centre. It tackled the need to engage with the new communities in a more holistic way and be less reliant on dealings with community ‘gatekeepers’,who tended to be those who had resided longest and had the best English. To do this we asked new arrivals if they would they would be interested in getting together with friends to set up a group. This proved to be incredibly successful and 20 groups have been established from amongst the different nationalities. Whilst some participants had taken years to consider getting a group together, others ran with the idea much more quickly. The groups have democratically elected representatives and a new arrival forum has been established where 10 of the groups are represented and discussions take place on issues around integration and access to services in Peterborough. 
Our aim is for this group to feed into the Local Strategic Partnership – the multi-agency forum which brings together the different parts of the public, private, community and voluntary sectors to support one another and work together more effectively.This forum has enabled services to access information and advice on how to best meet the needs of the new migrants. It has assisted the police in recruiting Police Community Support Officers from amongst the new communities, tackling such issues as the best way to advertise and market the role to these communities.  

The community development work has also played a role in engaging the local media with the newly- arrived. Community-based events have involved the press, and, because the groups have received media training, they have been able to convey the right type of messages.

It is the case that there are tensions between communities, in particularly amongst groups coming from regions where there is inter-ethnic and national conflict. When this has happened the projects have been able to involve mediation and to get community leaders to discuss issues and address the need to resolve conflicts.  

Sometimes the authorities in Peterborough have not been sufficiently sensitive to issues which motivate the different communities. An example of this occurred recently when the local Iraqi Kurdish community celebrated the victory of the Iraq national football team in the final of the Asian Cup. The local police who, like most people in Peterborough, did not know of the Iraqi team’s achievement and were unaware of the reason for eruption of celebratory young men onto the streets of the town, acted by booking many of the Kurds for unruly behaviour. The Kurdish men felt they had been discriminated against unfairly and their community leaders brought their complaints to the New Link development worker. He arranged a meeting with the police and they agreed that had they known in advance about the match they would have been less inclined to book people for their celebrations. A mechanism for ensuring this wouldn’t happen again was put in place and peace was resumed between the parties.
Housing conditions in the private rented sector have also generated friction. Residential areas dominated by family homes have seen properties leased out to shared households of young men, with overcrowding being common. The impact on the settled residents in those areas has been very negative. Complaints have been made about mattresses thrown in back yards, bins made overflowing, cars parked on the pavement and drives, houses without curtains in the windows, and unkempt gardens, etc.  

It is vital that a joined up approach be taken by all agencies working on the ground on these very sensitive issues. Overcrowding is an offense which arises because of the activities of unscrupulous landlords and there is a need to identify who they are and enforce the public health laws against them. This can be a lengthy and difficult process. Another way to tackle them is through the use of mediation services, and New Links is currently using one of these to training up individuals from the newly arrived communities to be ‘community facilitators’. Local residents are encouraged to let us know when a problem exists and then a facilitator from the nationality of the people concerned goes to the houses to discuss what the issues are. This enables the settled resident to realise that not all new arrivals from that community are not anti-social neighbours and also help them to see the importance of interaction. The facilitator will have an ‘when in Rome’conversation with the perpetrators of the misdemeanours and will advise them if they need help they may need in settling into Peterborough - letting them know of English classes, or the work of New Link etc.

The experience of new migrant settlement in Peterborough certainly shows that problems do arise when people of different cultural backgrounds first come into contact as neighbours in settled communities. But New Link has shown that we do not need to be overwhelmed by such problems, and that strategic thinking and joined-up actions can make a huge difference to community relations. What is needed are public authorities which in the first instance value the contribution of new migrants in their local area, but are also imaginative enough to anticipate the sort of issues which can generate friction and tension, and put in place structures to deal with it when it happens. New Link is just one such example of how this can happen, but one which very definitely illustrates the potential for success for such a strategy. 

Education for diversity
Pupil Voice
1. All schools should have mechanisms in place to ensure that the pupil voice is heard and acted upon. Schools should consider the use of forums, school councils, pupil questionnaires or other mechanisms for discussions around identity, values and belonging.

2. Headteachers and governing bodies in all schools should ensure they meet the statutory requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment)Act 2000 and use the Community Cohesion Guidelines 2 as a check for their accountability.
3. Within all leadership training, the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) should ensure that training in diversity and citizenship is an essential component. In particular, the revision of the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) should include understanding education for diversity in relation to the curriculum, school ethos, pupil voice and the community.
Education for diversity in the curriculum
4. All ion across years and subjects and ensure that coverage is coherent.
5. Subject associations, in conjunction with QCA (who will be developing case studies and guidelines alongside the revised curriculum), should compile databases of the best resources and develop new resources.
6. More research should be commissioned on how good practice in delivering exciting and innovative education for diversity can be captured and transferred from classroom to classroom and school to school.
Harnessing local context
7. DfES should actively encourage schools to take up the Non‐Statutory National Framework for Religious Education so that the good practice for education for diversity it promotes continues to be spread.
8. Schools should build active links between and across communities, with education for diversity as a focus.
 a.This might range from electronic links (local, national and global), to relationships through other schools (for example as part of a federation), links with businesses, community groups and parents.
 b.These links should be encouraged particularly between predominantly monocultural and multicultural schools.
 c.Such links need to be developed in such a way as to ensure they are sustainable.
 d. Such work between schools must have significant curriculum objectives and be incorporated into courses that pupils are studying. This will help avoid stereotyping and tokenism.
9. In planning for extended school provision, schools should seek to make contact with as wide a range of diverse community groups as possible, including supplementary schools.
Teacher training
10. The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) should evaluate the effectiveness of education for diversity across initial teacher training (ITT) providers.
11.Local authorities should be encouraged to develop lead Advanced Skills Teachers(ASTs) with a specific brief for education for diversity. This should be disseminated across the authority as part of outreach.
12. Schools should be encouraged to use the flexibilities in the teaching and learning responsibility points of the teachers ’ pay structure to promote excellence in education for diversity within the school.
Systems infrastructure
13. The DfES and Ofsted should ensure that schools and inspectors have a clear understanding of the new duty on schools to promote community cohesion, of its implications for schools ’ provision, and of schools ’ accountability through inspection.
14. Through performance management assessments, the training needs of School Improvement Partners (SIPs) should be identified to ensure that all SIPs fully understand the importance of education for diversity. Local authorities should support creative pairings of SIPs and headteachers.
15.The QCA should work closely with awarding bodies to ensure, wherever possible, that education for diversity appears in syllabuses and exam questions. QCA should also seek to embed education for diversity in curriculum subjects and make links to show how education for diversity can be promoted across the curriculum.
16.Consideration should be given to which organisation or organisations should develop the help and support schools need in advancing the education for diversity agenda. In this process, full account needs to be taken of the current position of the National Strategies; and of the importance of support for education for diversity being fully complementary to the wider context of support provided to schools and local authorities.
17.Given that the evidence suggests Citizenship education works best when delivered discretely, we recommend this as the preferred model for schools. We recommend greater definition and support in place of the flexible, ‘light touch’ approach.
18.If demand for Citizenship teachers rises as a result of recommendation 17, we would ask the DfES to review the number of initial teacher training (ITT) places available for Citizenship teachers. In line with other statutory National Curriculum subjects, it is important that continuing professional development (CPD)is not seen as a substitute for ITT.
19.Headteachers and senior management should prioritise whole‐curriculum planning across the school and develop ways of linking Citizenship education effectively with other subjects, with the ethos of the school, and with the community.
20.ITT and CPD should explicitly address and develop clear conceptual understanding, in part by focusing on and strengthening treatment of issues relating to the ‘political literacy’ strand.
21.A full GCSE in Citizenship should be developed, alongside the currently available half GCSE. The full GCSE should comprise a range of topics that link Citizenship to other relevant subjects. We suggest these be developed to include issues of identity and diversity as outlined above, in addition to a number of other options. This would allow for the development of a number of joint GCSEs, for example, a joint Citizenship with History GCSE, a joint Citizenship with Religion GCSE, a joint Citizenship with Geography GCSE.
22.A fourth ‘strand ’ should be explicitly developed, entitled Identity and Diversity:Living Together in the UK. This strand will bring together three conceptual components:
 ∙ Critical thinking about ethnicity, religion and ‘race ’
 ∙ An explicit link to political issues and values
 ∙ The use of contemporary history in teachers ’ pedagogy to illuminate thinking about contemporary issues relating to citizenship
  The following areas should be included:
 ∙ Contextualised understanding that the UK is a ‘multinational ’ state, made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
 ∙ Immigration
 ∙ Commonwealth and the legacy of Empire
 ∙ European Union
 ∙Extending the franchise (e.g. the legacy of slavery, universal suffrage, equal opportunities legislation)
  (ⅰ) Any new changes or additions to Citizenship must be presented clearly and explicitly, with a clear rationale, alongside appropriate support for schools and teachers.
  (ⅱ) There should be explicit links between the Programmes of Study for History and Citizenship education.
  (ⅲ) QCA’s revisions of Programmes of Study at Key Stage 3 should include ‘Identity and Diversity:Living Together in the UK’. In addition, Programmes of Study at Key Stage 4 will need to be revised to account for this fourth strand.
  (ⅳ) The QCA’s Citizenship stakeholder discussions should continue to be supported. Their role should include establishing the structure, content and delivery of this new strand. QCA must ensure that any such discussions include teachers and other experts in the educational fields of History and education for diversity as well as Citizenship.
23. To support this work, we recommend that DfES commission a review of existing resources covering issues that explicitly relate to the new strand (i.e.linking identity /diversity, political and historical contexts). This should tie in with the case studies developed by QCA as part of the curriculum review. A subsequent commission of further additional resources may be required.
Who Do We Think We Are?
24.Our conclusion is that in order to develop the recommended approaches in our report, and to encourage all schools to be involved, there needs to be a focus on whole‐school exploration of identities, diversity and citizenship. We suggest that time dedicated to Who Do We Think We Are? has the potential to excite schools to get involved.
This could include:
 ∙ Whole‐staff (including support staff) involvement in training, preparation and delivery
 ∙ Local authority support
 ∙ Local projects e.g. History, Geography fieldwork
 ∙ Investigations of Who Do We Think We Are?, with a local/national focus
 ∙ The cross‐curricular concept of diversity explored through subject ‘join up’, e.g. collapsed timetables, extensive enrichment activities
 ∙ Links established between schools
 ∙ Cultural celebrations
 ∙ Debates around values, Identities and diversity
 ∙ Accessing a range of resources including museums, archives and libraries
 ∙ A national media focus on Who Do We Think We Are?as a nation

(This document includes the written agenda presentations from the 'International Multi-Cultural Seminar' in Daegu and Gwangju co-hosted by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, British Embassy in Korea, Yeungnam University, and Chonnam National University on November 8 - 9, 2007. 

The International Multi-Cultural Seminar was held to raise awareness of migrants' rights and further their social integration in Korean society, where the number of migrants now exceeds one million. Michael Keith and Leonie McCarthy (Commissioners, British Commission on Integration and Cohesion), and Ji-Hun Lee (Human Rights Solidarity for Women and Migrants) made agenda presentations. Among the participants in the panel discussion were human rights experts from Gyeongsang and Jeolla Province. This document contains only the greetings by the hosting organizations and written agenda presentations by those who made presentations on the main topic.)


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