Refugee Week at Northbourne Park School

On Monday 18th June, pupils at Northbourne Park School have been marking Refugee Week by learning about the reasons for the refugee crisis in Europe, watching films featuring stories of refugees and creating ‘Welcome’ cards.

Liz Hayes, Head of Geography and Religious Studies said:

“Our pupils have been really engaged and interested.  I often found they have seen news items about refugees, but not understood the wider picture.  It has been useful for them to have the opportunity to ask questions and dispel some of the myths around this topic.”

Year 7 pupils wrote 20-word poems, to mark the 20 year birthday of Refugee Week, inspired by a photograph of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar.

One pupil commented, “It’s impossible to imagine how scared they must feel.”

Pupils also looked at the perilous journeys of refugees escaping war zones.  They discussed the challenging task of choosing what to take with them, giving them a deeper understanding of experiencing such an ordeal.

Thank you, Northbourne Park School for your positive news story and for raising awareness about the plight of others. As your pupil said, ‘It is impossible to imagine how scared they must feel’ but it is important that we try to empathise with others. To empathise is to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and to try to understand the situation they are in and how we would feel if it were us in that same circumstance. It is much easier said than done at times.

It is exemplary to be raising a topic, which can be controversial in mainstream media, with our young people so that they may learn how to fact find, empathise and learn what is real and what is ‘fake news.’ Thank you for sharing their views. Who knows, it may have inspired someone to work in a field to improve the situation in the future; Humanitarian Aid; Civil Rights Law; Doctors Without Boarders… the possibilities are endless.

What is Refugee Week?

Courtesy of

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

Refugee Week started in 1998 as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers. An established part of the UK’s cultural calendar, Refugee Week is now one of the leading national initiatives working to counter this negative climate, defending the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.

The aims of Refugee Week are:

  • To encourage a diverse range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public in order to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility
  • To showcase the talent and expertise that refugees bring with them to the UK
  • To explore new and creative ways of addressing the relevant issues and reach beyond the refugee sector
  • To provide information which educates and raises awareness of the reality of refugee experiences

Our ultimate aim is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration, enabling refugees to live in safety and continue making a valuable contribution.

Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, with events held by a wide range of arts, voluntary, faith and refugee community organisations, schools, student groups and more. Past events have included arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings, theatre and dance performances, concerts, football tournaments and public talks, as well as creative and educational activities in schools.

Through Refugee Week we aim to provide an important opportunity for asylum seekers and refugees to be seen, listened to and valued.