Resources for schools

Questions to ask at welcome meetings with families

This is a range of questions which cover a variety of backgrounds that the pupil may have. All of these may not be relevant for each pupil and should be asked when appropriate being aware of the family’s situation. Schools may wish to leave more detailed or sensitive questions for a few weeks to allow the family to settle in and build trust with staff, however safeguarding needs to be prioritised.


Children who have left their home country will be traumatised and may have suffered loss and experienced war. Unlike other children in your setting, you will not know anything else about these children. You will need to establish some fundamental background information with an interpreter.  

  • Who have they arrived with?
  • Who is left at home - what contact do they have?
  • Have they lost anyone in the family?
  • Back at home were they adopted, been in care or any other vulnerabilities (SEND, domestic abuse etc)?
  • If the child is privately fostered refer this to the SPA (unless the arrangement is through a scheme such as Homes for Ukraine).
  • Women and children are vulnerable to trafficking. Does the child/family show signs they may have been trafficked? See NSPCC advice.


  • How is the pupil’s name pronounced? 
  • What name would the child prefer to be called at school, if different?
  • What is the child’s home country?  What country have they arrived from and where did they live (town/ city/ village)?
  • When did the child arrive in the UK? 
  • Did the child arrive in the UK with their parent(s) or siblings or at a different time?
  • If the child came to the UK at a later date than their parent(s), who did the child live with in the country of origin? 
  • Who is the child living with at present?


  • What are the full names of the parents or carers? Female members of the family can often have a different surname to that of males.
  • What are the names of the siblings and their ages and where are they at school?
  • Are there family members still living in the home country or a transit country?
  • Has the family experienced bereavement or other trauma recently, if so what?
  • How will the child travel to school? 
  • Is there anybody in the family who can support the child with homework in English and their home language?
  • Does the child have access to the internet, a computer and a printer at home?
  • Do(es) the parent(s) work?  If that is the case, what are the hours they work?
  • Are the family receiving benefits?  Do they need support with this?

Additional information

  • What is (now in the UK) and what was their profession and place of work in the home country?
  • Do(es) the parent(s) have caring responsibilities for other members of the family? 
  • Do the family have contacts in the local area, such as relatives and friends? Does the child have friends and opportunities to mix with children who speak their language or English?
  • What close contacts do they maintain with family and friends in their home country?


  • Which are the languages used at home and with extended family?
  • Which languages do they watch television in?
  • Which is the most useful written language for the family? 
  • Who in the family can speak, read and write English?  
  • If no one can read and write in English, do they have access to another family member or friend who could be used to interpret and translate information from schools?  Do they use a translation tool online?


  • What age did the child start schooling?
  • Which school year did they complete in their own country?  
  • Which language(s) were they taught in?  
  • Were other languages taught? Which languages can the child read and write in?
  • Did the child study English in the home country? If so, for how many years? How well does the child speak/understand English?
  • Subjects studied and favourite subjects.
  • Did the child use a computer at school? 
  • Did the child have any breaks in education or experience any changes of school?  Did the child have to repeat a year?
  • Were there any educational challenges whilst at school, if so what were they and what support was provided?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What are their aspirations for the future?


  • Does the child have any medical needs?
  • Does the child have any disabilities?
  • Were there any other agencies involved in the child’s care in the previous country? If so, what ones?
  • How are these needs supported at the moment?
  • Does the family talk with the child about recent upsetting or traumatic events?


  • Is the child attending or likely to attend home language classes?
  • Does the child attend a religious school, such as Mosque classes? Are the classes during the week or at weekends?

Bell Foundation information for parents on educational systems in the UK - in many different languages.

Last Modified: 18/10/2022 17:20:45