Landsberg District: The welcome group goes to school

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Of: Susan Greiner

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The welcome groups are intended to allow schoolchildren who have fled Ukraine to “slip” into the German school system. What exactly they want and what they can offer is still unclear. © Henning Kaiser / dpa / symbol image

District – After the Easter holidays, welcome groups in schools could begin. Schoolchildren who have fled Ukraine should be able to more easily fit into the local school system with them. It is not yet clear exactly how this school integration will take place: “So far, this has been a dynamic concept,” says the director of the school board, Steffen Heussner. The Ministry of Education provides the framework. Practice will show then.

The framework established by the Ministry of Education is broad: the educational host groups aim to promote normality, stability and security, summarizes the Minister of Education Dr. Michele Piazolo together. There should be a regulated daily life, with fixed contacts. Heussner adds the criteria “fixed content” and in any case also “inclusion in regular classes” to make “arrival at school” possible. “The goal of linking the regular classroom and the welcome group is definitely a good foundation for the concept.” It remains to be seen what will result in concrete terms for the next school year.

“Schools inform the school authority of Ukrainian students who are registered with them,” says Heussner. This is the number to work with. So far, about 50 students have attended regular district school classes, mostly in elementary schools, for example at the plane and hospital school. Of course, this only works up to a certain number of students, Heussner points out, in some cases the limit has already been reached. “A welcome group makes sense for ten or more Ukrainian students.” However, there is no hard number limit here. Five students could probably “keep up quite well in normal classes”, and if there were more, an “additional worker” for this class might be considered. So far, there have been around 70 other reports for desired school attendance.

It doesn’t matter what kind of school the participants in the respective host groups come from: “The pedagogical concept depends on age,” says Heussner. They are therefore not ‘parallel lessons’, but should accompany regular lessons. Heussner thinks about two or three days a week. If the lessons in a regular class are already working, you don’t want to tear students out of this fixed group.

As for the leaders of the host groups, the director of the school board is “on the right track”. Several graduate people who speak Russian and / or Ukrainian have already come forward. Preliminary talks are already underway and one is in “intensive contact” with eight people. They look for employees who have time for this task on a regular basis, ideally every morning. A pedagogical background would be “ideal”: He doesn’t want to alienate anyone, Heussner says, but unfortunately starting from scratch doesn’t work. Perhaps some supervisors could also be used, three to four hours a week.

Heussner reports that the school office is currently very busy. “It takes an incredible amount of coordination, and it’s a lot of work.” She then asks people who want to support them to be patient.

nursery schools

However, many of the refugees are also looking for childcare options for their children who are not yet of school age. And this is where things get particularly tight: “So far there have been well over 100 enrollments failing to find a place in kindergarten in the new school year,” says district press office spokesman Wolfgang Müller. “The capabilities are limited.” Basically, of course, refugees with residency status – including all registered refugees from Ukraine – are entitled to an asylum place for their youngest children. “So far, only five children from Ukraine have been admitted to kindergartens.” However, 130 children under the age of six are already registered.

“Currently, district offices throughout Bavaria are in contact with the Ministry of Social Affairs,” says Müller. Because in addition to the staff, the premises are also missing. Now, in consultation with the ministry, they want to explore to what extent the regulations could be loosened: for example, if it was previously not allowed to use a room under the regulations because the bathroom was too far away. It will also check whether the staff key can be increased. “But it is very difficult because these professions are already heavily overworked. And Corona certainly did not help alleviate the situation, “stresses Müller. Another possible adjustment screw is the necessary qualification. Perhaps exceptions can be made here.” But we as a district office cannot change the framework conditions. “

The district has therefore tried so far to offer “low-threshold care” by volunteers in its accommodation facilities. It works, for example, in house 14 in Penzing. The playroom is a place of health care. It remains to be seen to what extent this can also be achieved in the second house on the air base.

The city of Landsberg wants to offer refugees care places “quickly and without bureaucracy”, says press spokeswoman Susanne Flügel. Along with the district office, one is currently looking for premises and staff.

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