What we have achieved
The Acronym CAM (Children Affected by Migration) is used throughout this guide when referring to children and young people who are refugees, asylum seekers, economic or social migrants or those left behind by family moving to another country.
The organisers of this European Programme in support of children affected by migration (CAM) will be inviting selected schools to share their experience with others in one county or city and to help improve and develop the way CAM are included in schools. The combined contribution of these trial schools will help the programme to have a profound effect on the wellbeing and life chances of the 10.5 million CAM across Europe.
The ICAM programme intends to help any children affected by migration. They and their families may be asylum seekers, refugees, economic or social migrants. They may have been accompanied by their families, travelled alone or been left behind by parents working elsewhere. They may have been fleeing war or other disasters and may have encountered great difficulties on their journeys. They may know that their future is now secure in their new host country or be uncertain how long they will stay.
Because each student’s story and experiences will be different, it is important to recognise their individuality and not to treat CAM as a homogeneous group. Each school may describe their population of CAM differently. However, the task of the programme will be to draw on participants’ experience, extract some common themes and suggest ways of meeting the needs that are identified that will be of general use to schools with CAM.
The purpose of the ICAM Programme
At the heart of this Programme, Including Children Affected by Migration, is the concept of ‘convivencia’ – a Spanish word meaning ‘living together in harmony’ and the knowledge that children do not learn well if they are unhappy, insecure or frightened.
The purpose of the ICAM Programme is to increase the inclusion, and to improve the learning capacity, of CAM by enhancing the climate of convivencia in schools and at home, by raising awareness about children’s rights and the law protecting them, and by providing additional support in school and in the family for their social and emotional learning and general wellbeing.
The Programme will achieve this through the professional development of ICAM school leaders so they can increase the capacity of schools to maintain a safe and secure learning environment and enhance Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).Trained ICAM school leaders will work to improve the learning capacity of all students and provide for the additional SEL needs of those affected by migration, helping them to overcome the disadvantage they face as a result of the separation, trauma and loss they have suffered.
An important feature of ICAM is the integration of parent/carer education with the school based programme in order to provide additional support for those families affected by migration and to encourage on-going SEL for the whole family in the home.
The issues addressed by ICAM
There are 72 million people classified as migrants living in Europe according to the UNODC. Ongoing migration has declined from a peak in the 2015, when more than 644,000 people had arrived in Europe from countries such as Syria, Eritrea and Libya. The total of those arriving in Europe in recent year approaches 2 million. Of these displaced people approximately 8 million are children.
The UNHCR reports that this situation has fuelled a rise in racism, xenophobia, gender-based violence and intolerance all of which will result in the exclusion of children and young people from the education and learning which is their entitlement.
Because they also face trauma from separation and disruption, the ICAM Programme includes the children and young people of European migrant workers left behind in their country of birth. It is estimated that there are a further 2.5 million children left behind by parents migrating for work elsewhere in Europe.
There is strong evidence to show that investment in SEL and the creation of a safe and secure learning environment in school is highly cost effective, and that, through the application to improved life skills and the ability to learn of all children and young people, these initiatives bring major economic benefits in the future, both in terms of productivity and in reduced social welfare/criminal justice costs.
This Programme not only meets key needs of the target group, it also benefits countries as a whole by helping to ensure that it is not only CAM who will become fully integrated and contributory members of society.
The European ICAM partnership
The 7 partners in the ICAM programme, The Northampton Centre for Learning Behaviour (NCfLB) and Achievement for All (AfA) in the UK, Asociación Cívica de Comunicación y Educación Sophia (ACCESOphia) in Spain, ICARO in Italy, the Ispectorate in Ploesti (ISJP) and Terre des Hommes (TdH) in Romania, Eurochild in Brussels together with the Associate Partners in each country include some of the leading international experts in the field of inclusion in schools, the creation of a school climate of convivencia and the needs of CAM. The team includes experts on the effects of evacuation and displacement on families during World War 2 and the programme applies the solutions they have identified in order to prevent similar long term effects from separation and deprivation by meeting the special social and emotional needs of the current generation of CAM.
The partnership has previously worked closely together for 2 years developing and implementing the Daphne 2 Project Action Anti –Bullying (AAB). The experience has forged a close working relationship and a shared passion to improve the inclusion of all children and young people in schools and to uphold their rights to an education free from fear and disruption under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights
Enhancing Social and Emotional Learning and Wellbeing
UNICEF defines SEL as:
A process of acquiring social and emotional values, attitudes, competencies, knowledge and skills that are essential for learning, effectiveness, wellbeing and success in life. These qualities include self-awareness, emotional literacy, resilience, persistence, motivation, empathy, social and relationship skills, effective communication, self-esteem, self-confidence, respect and self-regulation.
Research has shown that promoting students’ emotional health and wellbeing has a positive impact on overall academic achievement and attainment
The ICAM Programme supports schools in developing the social emotional and civic competencies and understanding of democratic values and fundamental rights of all children and young people and other members of the school community by including an enhanced and comprehensive Social and Emotional Learning programme alongside the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools programme, in the formal and informal school curriculum.
A programme of social and emotional learning is seen by UNESCO, UNICEF and an increasing number of national and international childcare agencies as an essential component of the entitlement curriculum. CAM need additional support to help them restore the damage to their social and emotional wellbeing caused by displacement and the trauma of migration.
Included in the ICAM training programme is guidance and instruction to enable school staff to work with and to train parents/carers. Parents/carers will learn how to support and protect CAM and how to reinforce and extend their SEL and wellbeing in partnership with the school.
Improving the whole school climate of convivencia
A report for UNICEF notes that approximately 40% of students worldwide regularly experience violence in schools. Bullying accounts for approximately 80% of violence against them resulting in their exclusion from learning.
Unless schools take specific steps to protect them, CAM are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse – mainly bullying (including cyber-bullying), which is notoriously meted out by children, young people and adults on members of any community who are seen as different in appearance, circumstance, or culture.
The improvement in convivencia in schools is identified as the most effective and positive way to improve inclusion.
To achieve this, ICAM applies the techniques developed by their previous AAB Programme which improves the convivencia in schools by training ICAM school leaders in whole school development of 12 aspects of school organisation shown to have the most direct influence on creating the climate of convivencia. The training, which is cascaded to all staff, includes restorative approaches to conflict resolution.
Visit ICAM project website.
ICAM - Including Children Affected by Migration (CAM)
December 2019 – December 2021