This week I wanted to focus on my connections. Initially I reached out to some charities, collectives and my friend Jehanne. This is the information I have gathered so far:

Le Collectif des Migrants de Bordeaux

I have connected with this collective of individuals before for previous projects. I was able to have a telephone conversation with one of the organisers called Caroline. I asked her a series of questions on the phone. She did not have a great deal of time but these are the questions and answers that we discussed.

(the interview was conducted in French and I have translated my questions and her responses into English)

Moi : Merci beaucoup d’avoir accepté de me parler. J’ai quelques questions concernant la façon dont vous pensez que l’intégration des adolescents migrants et réfugiés qui entrent dans le système éducatif français est gérée à Bordeaux. Ma première question est la suivante : quand vous rencontrez des familles de migrants ou de réfugiés qui viennent d’arriver à Bordeaux. Quelle est leur connaissance du système éducatif français ?

Me: Thank you very much for talking to me. I have a few questions regarding how you feel the integration of the migrant and refugee teenagers coming into the French education system is handled in Bordeaux. My first question is when you encounter migrant or refugee families just arriving in Bordeaux. How much knowledge do they have about the French education system?

Caroline : En général, lorsque les demandeurs d’asile arrivent à Bordeaux, ils ne savent pas où ils peuvent envoyer leurs enfants à l’école et comment le système fonctionne. Ils se préoccupent avant tout de savoir où ils vont vivre avec leur famille et aussi des soins de santé. Les questions relatives à l’éducation sont généralement posées un peu plus tard. Il est peu probable qu’ils aient fait beaucoup de recherches à ce sujet et comptent sur nous pour prendre contact avec les écoles locales.

Caroline: In general, when the asylum seekers arrive in Bordeaux, they do not know anything about where they can send their children to school and how the system works. Their first concerns are where they are going to live with their families and also healthcare. Questions about education are usually asked a bit later on. It is unlikely that they would have done much research on it and rely on us to make contact with the local schools.

Moi : Donc, lorsqu’on leur demande où leurs enfants peuvent aller à l’école, quelles sont les premières mesures que vous prenez ? Quels sont les problèmes que vous rencontrez ?

Me: So when the question is asked about where their children can go to school, what are the first steps that you take? What problems do you encounter?

Caroline : Cela dépend de la situation. En France, l’éducation est obligatoire pour les enfants âgés de 6 à 16 ans. L’inscription des enfants à l’école primaire est beaucoup plus facile. Il suffit d’accompagner les parents ou le parent à la mairie. Là, ils peuvent remplir une demande et inscrire leurs enfants directement à l’école publique locale. Pour l’école secondaire, c’est plus compliqué. Nous devons nous rendre directement à l’école pour faire une demande d’inscription et il est parfois plus difficile d’y entrer car beaucoup d’entre elles sont au maximum de leur capacité. Cela signifie que les enfants peuvent avoir à parcourir un long chemin pour se rendre à l’école si l’école publique locale ne les accepte pas pour une raison quelconque. Cela dépend également du moment où ils font leur demande d’inscription. Si c’est au début de l’année scolaire, c’est beaucoup plus facile que si c’est au milieu de l’année scolaire.

Caroline: This depends on the situation. In France, education is compulsory for children aged 6 – 16. Enrolling children into primary schools is much easier. We simply go with the parents or parent to the town hall. Here they can fill in an application and enrol their children directly for the local public school. For secondary school, it is more complicated. We have to go directly to the school to apply and sometimes it is more difficult to get in as many are at maximum capacity. This means the children might have to travel quite a long way to school if their local public school does not accept them for any reason. It also depends on the time in which they apply. If it is at the beginning of the school year then it is much easier than if it is in the middle of the school year.

Moi : Quels sont les problèmes que rencontrent les enfants migrants et réfugiés pour s’intégrer dans le système scolaire français ? Un soutien leur est-il offert ?

Me: What are the issues that the migrant and refugee children encounter integrating into the mainstream French schooling system? Is there any support offered to them?

Caroline : Ils sont timides et effrayés à l’idée d’entrer dans une nouvelle école et une nouvelle culture. Beaucoup d’entre eux peuvent parler français s’ils viennent de pays africains, ce qui leur permet de comprendre les leçons et de se faire des amis plus facilement. Nous avons aussi beaucoup de gens qui viennent de Syrie, ce qui peut être beaucoup plus difficile à intégrer à l’école à cause de la barrière de la langue. L’aide que les écoles offrent est limitée. En droit français, le code de l’éducation ne contient aucune disposition concernant les enfants réfugiés ou migrants. Cela signifie que les écoles ne sont pas obligées de leur apporter une aide supplémentaire. De nombreuses écoles font de leur mieux pour soutenir ces enfants, mais les ressources sont très limitées et elles ont du mal à soutenir réellement ces enfants.

Caroline: They are shy and frightened entering a new school and culture. Many of them can speak French if they come from African countries so this helps them to understand the lessons and make friends more easily. We also have a lot of people coming from Syria, this can be much more difficult to fit into school because of the language barrier. The help that the schools offer is limited. In French law, there are no provisions in the education code for refugee or migrant children. This means that the schools are not obliged to give them any extra support. Many schools do their best to support these children, however, resources are very limited and they struggle to really support these children.

Moi : Selon vous, de quel type de soutien ces enfants ont-ils besoin pour s’intégrer avec succès dans le système scolaire français ?

Me: In your opinion, what kind of support do these children need in order to successfully integrate into the French schooling system?

Caroline : Certains de ces enfants viennent de zones de guerre, ils sont extrêmement traumatisés de venir de milieux dangereux et parfois abusifs. Cela signifie qu’ils peuvent être très renfermés et se sentir complètement séparés des enfants Borderlais de la classe moyenne, qui portent de jolies baskets et des vêtements élégants. Les plus jeunes ont plus de facilité à se rattraper et à s’intégrer. Les adolescents ont tendance à avoir très peu de soutien et sont souvent plus affectés par ce qu’ils ont vécu dans leur passé et aussi par le voyage qu’ils ont entrepris en venant à Bordeaux. À mon avis, ils ont besoin d’horaires d’apprentissage flexibles. Un soutien scolaire supplémentaire de la part des membres du personnel, une aide active pour s’intégrer et se faire des amis, ils doivent s’intégrer dans un environnement où les enfants borderlais les comprennent et sympathisent avec eux. J’estime également qu’ils ont besoin d’un soutien affectif important, notamment d’un thérapeute scolaire ou d’un conseiller.

Caroline: Some of these children come from war zones, they are extremely traumatised from coming from dangerous and sometimes abusive environments. This means they can be very withdrawn and feel completely separated from the middle class Borderlais children wearing nice trainers and smart clothes. They can also be from varying academic backgrounds. Younger children find it easier to catch up and fit in. Teenagers tend to have very little support and are often more affected by what they have experienced in their past and also on the voyage undertaken coming to Bordeaux. In my opinion, they need flexible learning schedules. Extra academic support from members of staff, active help fitting in and making friends, they have to put into an environment where the Bordelais children understand and sympathise with them. I would also that they need large amounts of emotional support including a school therapist or councillor as a point of call.

Second Contact:

AIME – Accueil et Insertion des Migrants et des Exilés à l’université

AIME – Reception and Insertion of Migrants and Exiles at the University

Email that I originally sent:

Bonjour,
Je suis un étudiant en master de graphisme anglais. Je travaille sur le développement d’une plateforme interactive que les écoles de Bordeaux peuvent utiliser pour aider le processus d’intégration des adolescents migrants et réfugiés. La plateforme permettra aux adolescents migrants et réfugiés de traduire le contenu de l’école, d’être connectés au soutien du personnel et de se faire des amis plus facilement grâce à des ateliers supervisés et à un système de pairing d’amis. 
Je sais que votre organisation ne travaille pas principalement avec les enfants, mais je me demandais si vous pouviez me dire quel type de soutien serait, selon vous, utile pour les adolescents qui entrent dans le système scolaire français et si vous avez d’autres informations à ce sujet ? Savez-vous quelles écoles de Bordeaux sont les plus susceptibles d’accepter des enfants migrants et réfugiés ? 
Je vous suis très reconnaissant de toute information que vous pourriez me donner pour m’aider à mettre au point une méthode permettant d’aider ces adolescents à bénéficier d’un meilleur soutien dans les écoles. 
Je vous remercie d’avance.
Bien cordialement, 
Alice Neve     

In English:

Hello,
I am an English graphic design MA student. I am working on the development of an interactive platform that schools in Bordeaux can use to help the integration process of migrant and refugee teenagers. The platform will allow migrant and refugee adolescents to translate school content, be connected to staff support and make friends more easily through supervised workshops and a buddy system.
I know that your organization does not work primarily with children, but I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of support you think would be useful for adolescents entering the French school system and if you have any other information about this? Do you know which schools in Bordeaux are most likely to accept migrant and refugee children?
I am very grateful for any information you could give me to help me develop a method to help these adolescents receive better support in schools.
Thank you in advance.
With kind regards,
Alice Neve

Response from Isabelle Rigoni

Bonjour Alice,

Au nom de l’association AIME, je vous remercie pour l’intérêt que vous portez à nos activités. Toutefois, comme vous l’avez souligné, nous ne travaillons pas directement avec des jeunes scolarisés, notre public étant en reprise d’études supérieures.
A titre personnel et professionnel, travaillant en tant que sociologue sur l’éducation et la scolarisation des élèves migrants allophones, votre projet m’intéresse tout particulièrement. Un certain nombre d’établissements de l’académie ont des dispositifs UPE2A (dans lesquels les « élèves allophones nouvellement arrivés » reçoivent des cours de français pour une partie de leur temps scolaire) dans les écoles élémentaires et les collèges : vous pouvez consulter ces informations et la liste des dispositifs ici : https://blogacabdx.ac-bordeaux.fr/casnav/les-structures-daccueil/Cependant, la plupart des établissements scolaires reçoivent des élèves migrants, même lorsqu’il n’y a pas de dispositif adapté. Les élèves sont alors dans les classes dites « ordinaires » pendant tout le temps scolaire, parfois sans soutien linguistique. Pour eux et pour leurs familes, mais aussi pour les personnels des équipes éducatives, votre projet de plateforme serait certainement particulièrement intéressant.Le mieux serait de contacter le CASNAV de Bordeaux pour leur faire part de votre projet (https://blogacabdx.ac-bordeaux.fr/casnav/quest-ce-que-le-casnav/). Vous pouvez contacter sa coordinatrice Cécile Prévost de ma part : cecile.prevost@ac-bordeaux.fr
Je vous remercie de me tenir au courant des avancées de votre beau projet.

Bien cordialement,
Isabelle Rigoni

(membre du bureau de l’association AIME)
Maître de conférences en sociologie, INSHEA, Grhapes / Université Paris Lumières (UPL)Chargée d’enseignements dans les universités de Bordeaux (UB), de Poitiers et à Sciences Po BordeauxCo-responsable du DU EDUMIM et du MFIN Education et migrationChercheure associée au Centre Emile Durkheim (UMR-CNRS, Bordeaux) / MIGRINTER (UMR-CNRS, Poitiers)

(in English) Hello Alice,

On behalf of the AIME association, I would like to thank you for your interest in our activities. However, as you pointed out, we do not work directly with young people in school, as our audience is returning to higher education.

On a personal and professional level, working as a sociologist on the education and schooling of allophone migrant students, I am particularly interested in your project. A certain number of establishments of the academy have UPE2A schemes (in which “newly arrived allophone pupils” receive French lessons for part of their school time) in elementary and middle schools: you can consult this information and the list of schemes here: https://blogacabdx.ac-bordeaux.fr/casnav/les-structures-daccueil/
However, most schools receive migrant students, even when there are no suitable facilities. The students are then in so-called “ordinary” classes for the whole school year, sometimes without language support. For them and their families, but also for the staff of the educational teams, your platform project would certainly be particularly interesting.
It would be best to contact the CASNAV of Bordeaux to let them know about your project (https://blogacabdx.ac-bordeaux.fr/casnav/quest-ce-que-le-casnav/). You can contact its coordinator Cécile Prévost for me: cecile.prevost@ac-bordeaux.fr.

Thank you for keeping me informed of the progress of your beautiful project.
I look forward to hearing from you,

Isabelle Rigoni (member of the board of the association AIME)

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, INSHEA, Grhapes / University Paris Lumières (UPL)
Lecturer at the Universities of Bordeaux (UB), Poitiers and Sciences Po Bordeaux
Co-responsible for DU EDUMIM and MFIN Education and Migration
Associate researcher at the Centre Emile Durkheim (UMR-CNRS, Bordeaux) / MIGRINTER (UMR-CNRS, Poitiers)

Contact Three

Jéanne Pidoux

Jéanne is a friend of mine. She runs a boutique in Bordeaux and she was the first boutique in Bordeaux that sold my lingerie brand when it was still up and running. Once I closed down the brand, we stayed in contact as she loves to speak English with me and we are good friends. I have always known that she is an active member of the community when it comes to helping migrant and refugee children integrate into her child’s school and also into the community. She in on the parent’s school board and runs workshops and fund-raising activities to support the children. She takes time out of her evenings and weekends to visit the families of these children and help them to find jobs, housing and learn the language.

I have no been able to find a time to catch up with Jéanne recently due to the covid lockdown and our busy schedules but I am working on finding a time to speak to her about what she thinks about how the French schooling system is dealing with integrating and supporting migrant and refugee children.

This week

This week I would like to research into other people that I could contact relevant to my project but perhaps cast the net a bit wider and have a look outside of Bordeaux.

Professor Tsuneo Akaha

https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/events/opening-heart-and-purse-migrants-bordeaux-france-presentation-professor-tsuneo-akaha-04-25

“Professor Tsuneo Akaha has taught courses on migration-related topics at the Institute for decades, and during that time his academic area has been focused on the Americas and East Asia. Last spring, Akaha decided to expand his geographical focus to Europe and the Middle East through a sabbatical in Bordeaux, France. His experience in France led to some surprising comparisons to his native Japan.”

 Eva Gudbergsdottir

https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/communique/who-are-we

“As international migration continues to show its global impact, it has triggered political backlash against traditionally liberal migration policies in many European countries, including France. Professor Akaha spent his sabbatical in Bordeaux, France in the fall of 2018, conducting research on migrant integration. He will share his preliminary findings from the interviews, including some harrowing and heart-warming stories of refugees and asylum-seekers. What is it like to be a Northern African or Middle Eastern migrant in the country characterized by the coexistence between ethnic identities and expectations of cultural assimilation? What happens when public services fall short of the needs of growing numbers of asylum-seekers, who are legally prohibited from working? What happens when migrant women and their children face health and educational challenges? What explains the seeming housing segregation of ethnic migrants? What happens when the housing needs of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers far exceed the available state-subsidized housing? Professor Akaha addresses these questions on the basis of his interviews with 35 migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers as well as civil society and government providers of social and/or professional services to them.”

https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/events/opening-heart-and-purse-migrants-bordeaux-france-presentation-professor-tsuneo-akaha-04-25

Migrant Children’s Project by Coram

https://www.coram.org.uk/how-we-do-it/upholding-childrens-rights/migrant-childrens-project

The Migrant Children’s Project (MCP) promotes the rights of all refugee and migrant children, young people and families. We work to ensure that they receive adequate protection and support and that there are routes to permanent status for young people. This year 1260 children, young people and support workers were advised through free advice and outreach programmes. Workshops on the UK asylum and immigration systems were attended by more than 300 young people, enabling them to feel more confident and more in control of the process affecting their lives. 

Coran Website

How Coram helps migrant children and young people

The strength of the MCP is its comprehensive approach to changing indivduals lives and ensuring the best outcomes for migrant children.

We help migrant children in the following ways:

  • free advice service offering free and confidential advice on the rights of migrant children and young people, including children who are separated from their families and those in families
  • Resources and information aimed at informing professionals on how to support children access their rights and services 
  • An e-newsletter for professionals with the latest news and information relating to migrant children,
  • Training aimed at helping non-immigration professionals understand the rights and entitlements of migrant children and young people at Coram Children’s Legal Centre
  • Training co-delivered by our Youth Rights Trainers
  • Policy and research combining specialist technical knowledge about the domestic and international law with evidence from frontline work to ensure children’s rights are embedded in law and practice”

The Bell Foundation

https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/eal-programme/guidance/diversity-of-learners-who-use-english-as-an-additional-language/new-arrivals/

The term ‘new arrivals’ is used to describe children who are international migrants, including refugees, asylum seekers, children of people working or studying in England and economic migrants from overseas. This definition implies that they are newly arrived from outside the United Kingdom rather than new to a school from another area of Britain. It is important to welcome them and support them with admission procedures that enable children and young people to rapidly settle in, become accustomed to schooling in England and make good progress.

Induction programmes for new arrivals:

“The support offered by schools to their new arrivals is likely to be more effective if they have an EAL induction programme in place. Such programmes plan the support offered to new arrivals in the initial period at the school, from just before the admission to school to the first few weeks. The Foundation suggests considering the PAWS (Prepare – Alert – Welcome – Support)”

Another person I would like to contact

Laura is a developer that works for the company that I work for. Her job is to integrate the designs of the UX and UI designers into the website. She is very skilled at this and I know that she will be able to help me with my site map. This will be my next point of call.