Our Narratives: The Education of Separated Migrant Young People

Our Narratives: The Education of Separated Migrant Young People | Ellie Ott

Ellie Ott’s Fellowship allowed her to work with partners to make meaning out of the educational aspirations and experiences of separated migrant young people in England and concomitantly adapt practice and policy to improve these experiences. Working with the Oxford Orientation Programme, a bespoke four-week educational programme for newly arrived unaccompanied asylum seeking young people aged 13-17, she collected a series of in-depth interviews with young people on their educational aspirations and experiences.

She further explained that, ‘as the knowledge exchange aimed to be participatory in nature, I was also driven by and explored the young people’s interests, including providing arts materials and holding two photo workshops with a local photographer. This culminated in a photo exhibition that launched at Linacre College during World Refugee Week. Both young people, originally from Vietnam and Eritrea, attended the launch and were proud to see their breathtaking photographs on display.’ The event was well received at Linacre College and on Twitter.

Dr Ott has also been attending programme group meetings for five educational projects for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with different local authorities across England and working with the National Association of Virtual School Heads to collate resources, shift narratives, and exchange expertise. She organised a series of four blogs about separated migrant young people and presented to practitioners and researchers at major forums in England about education, policy, and research about this group of young people.

The Fellowship also enabled reflection about separated child migrants internationally. Dr Ott presented at conferences and at a special meeting on ‘Unaccompanied Minors: Policy and Practice in European Countries’, representing UK research at the Université de Lille. She said, “The presentations and discussions were rich, including thinking about how we label this group of young people, their aspirations, and how we research in order to acknowledge balances of power.”

The knowledge exchange experience and reflections are feeding into a large 3-year ESRC grant on the concept of care for separated child migrants that launched in May 2019, on which Ellie Ott is a co- Investigator. More information on the Children Caring on the Move study can be found here.

Knowledge Exchange Fellowships Brochure

Our Narratives: The Education of Unaccompanied Migrant Young People