One of the UK’s top independent schools groups, which owns and manages seven outstanding preparatory schools across the UK, is offering free places to Ukrainian children displaced by the war in their home country.
Founded in 2016, Forfar Education, which has a strong family ethos at its heart, currently owns and manages several of the UK’s leading prep schools. These include Cameron Vale in Chelsea, Horris Hill in Newbury, The Gleddings in Halifax, Brackenfield School in Harrogate, Park School in Bournemouth, Argyle House School in Sunderland and Prenton Preparatory School on The Wirral. The group has opened its arms to Ukrainian children in urgent need of nurturing and safe spaces to learn.
The first schools to have Ukrainian children join their classes are Brackenfield, Prenton and Park School, which are all proud to be part of the wider humanitarian effort to allow displaced children a semblance of home when they enter a friendly and supportive classroom environment.
CEO of the Forfar Group John Forsyth said he felt their schools have a moral duty to support Ukrainian families as they settle into UK life. He said: “Recent data from the Department for Education highlighted that 1 in 10 children that have fled to the UK from Ukraine hadn’t yet enrolled in a school and that UK state schools may not have the necessary space and facilities to safely accommodate all the children requiring education, so independent schools have been encouraged to give spaces to those in need.”
“Forfar had taken the decision to offer free places to Ukrainian children fleeing conflict at the time the war broke out, so we’re proud to be leading the way for other independent schools considering doing the same.”
Forfar has offered places in all of their schools, with no limit on the number of spaces available.
Brackenfield School in Harrogate has already welcomed one child who is settling in well, and another one is set to join in September. The staff gives them extra support to make sure they feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment and have a fair opportunity to thrive.
Joe Masterson, Headteacher at Brackenfield, said: “We are privileged to welcome these extremely brave and resilient children into our school community and are doing all we can to ensure our new pupils are as much a part of school life as every other child. Everyone deserves an education in a safe and caring space and we’re proud to be hosting Ukrainian children in our school and making them part of the Brackenfield family.”
“It’s a valuable and important learning opportunity for our other students as well. They can learn and ask first-hand about Ukrainian culture, gain a better understanding of the world around us and see with their own eyes that giving a helping hand makes everyone stronger.”
It’s believed that 2.5 million children have fled Ukraine since the start of the war, many leaving everything behind and being displaced for months before arriving in a safe country.
John Forsyth added: “It’s important to show solidarity in times of crisis. We believe everyone has the right to a good and safe education, which is why we have opened our doors to those who need it most exactly when they need our help.”
“Our schools pride themselves on helping the communities in which they were founded, organising regular charity events as well as taking opportunities to learn about our neighbours. We want our children to grow into responsible adults therefore it is vital that they learn to take care of people in need and to put into practice the skills and values we instil in them from their first day in our classrooms – curiosity, consideration, patience, confidence and most importantly, kindness.”