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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre
Refugee Access to Early Childhood Education and Care in the UK

Refugee Access to Early Childhood Education and Care in the UK

This report written by Monica Poulter, Dr Brechtje Post and Prof. Ianthi Maria Tsimpli, forms part of the Erasmus+ project Multilingual early childhood education and care for young refugee children (MyREF)

The project, involving educationalists in the Netherlands, UK, Belgium and Norway, looked at how to enhance the quality of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for preschool refugee children by providing tools to educators, child-care professionals and policy makers.

MyREF culminated in a Conference in Leiden on 17 June to investigate how examples of best practice and the resources identified in the project can be used for the professional development of ECEC providers. It is hoped that increased awareness of the barriers which may prevent refugee parents from accessing free provision in the UK will encourage local authorities, with government support, to facilitate access.

In summer 2019, MyREF was followed up by the related research impact project 'Hiraeth' - an experimental programme aimed at developing communication skills, building confidence and fostering a sense of belonging amongst adolescents trying to carve out a new life in an unfamiliar culture having been forced to flee conflict zones including Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Eritrea.

The Museum of Cambridge exhibition ‘Hiraeth: The voices of young refugees and asylum seekers in Cambridgeshire’ runs from 4 Nov – 16 Dec 2019 

For more info about Hiraeth 



What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.