The Officer informed the panel that that there has been a lot of challenges including age disputes. Some of the schools have rejected some of the children as they needed to be aged assessed. They have had to outsource to Sutton to deal with the backlog.
They try to match the young people with the foster carers, as part of the young people's confusion is not knowing where they belong.
The young person's representative Gloria thanked them for coming and introduced them to speak.
A and A
Aged 17 and 18 years old from Albania. They read a poem together to the panel about their experiences of being unaccompanied minors in this country. They explained that they did not knowhow' to live in a multicultural society when they arrived and felt that they were living in limbo. Even though they were trying to show a brave face, they were struggling hard to find their way. They were studying at John Ruskin and also at Croydon College. They had completed their level 1 NVQ and are currently studying level 2. Their aim was to complete the level 3 qualification. They confirmed that they had had good health assessments and checks.
M is 19 years old and has been in care so far for one and a half years. He is currently attending college. He has been very happy since coming in the UK from Pakistan although it was difficult to begin with. He is enjoying his studies and is keeping in touch with his mother who is still in Pakistan.
T & H
Both came to the UK from Vietnam with no English at all. They are good friends and do everything together. They are currently studying hair and beauty at Croydon College. They feel that they have a lot of opportunities here and they have a good environment. In the future H wants to be a salon manager.
Panel members complimented the young people about the way they had expressed themselves and about the progress they had made with their spoken English in such a limited timescale.
The officer in charge of virtual schools, Lisa Fenarolli, explained to the panel that the Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers usually found themselves in a challenging position. They work on a six week rolling programme before the child starts school, teaching them how school timetables work, what is expected of them, etc.
RESOLVED to note young people's contributions to the meeting