Newly arrived students: from prior learning and welcome classes to mainstream courses in North-Rhine-Westphalia

Brussels –A SIRIUS members’ delegation visited in mid-July North-Rhine-Westphalia to explore how the educational system of this Bundesland is providing education to newly arrived students (NAS), with a focus on the transition from the welcome classes to the mainstream classes. The peer learning activity was organised in the frame of the SIRIUS Network fourth course of actions, dedicated to the exploration of the most interesting policies and practices for migrants’ education in Europe.

In North-Rhine-Westphalia, 25% of the population has a migration background (4.3 million people approximately). In 2017, the Bundesland hosted 2 461 625 pupils overall, 35.5% of which (869 218) with migration background: 236 608 are refugees (fled themselves), 500 948 speak a different language than German at home and 824 886 have at least one parent who was not born in Germany.

The first study visit intersected the national workshop on Educational integration of refugees and newly arrived children and young people in Germany.  The Healing Classrooms program by the International Rescue Committee was presented. The program trains teachers to acquire special techniques that help the students coping with the stress of the displacement and of the asylum seeking process. The program, free of charge for participants, aims at helping the teachers in fostering the social, emotional, linguistic skills of the learners, so that they can express their full potential in society.

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