WONDER Foundation Shadows the Baytree Centre: Impact of the Into School Programme on Young Migrant Girls

Mentoring for women

WONDER’s Research Project Manager Shadows Baytree’s Into School Programme Manager on World Book Day 

In March 2023, on World Book Day, WONDER’s Research Project Manager Conzuelo Rivas shadowed Eva, the Into School Programme Manager at the Baytree Centre.  

How WONDER Foundation is Using Shadowing as a Research Technique 

Shadowing is a technique commonly used in research, which allows the researcher to follow and observe an individual to learn from their skills and experience. Often, shadowing combines observation and interviews with participants to gain a first-hand understanding of the context.

Conzuelo shadowed Eva to gain a deeper understanding of the goals and impact of the Into School Programme, as well as the emotions and thoughts of the young people supported by the Baytree Centre. Obtaining first-hand perspectives from youth workers is essential. Additionally, this activity allows WONDER to explore ways to enhance youth work, which is a crucial component of young people’s emotional and social development. At WONDER, we are dedicated to seeking practices that will make a positive impact on the lives of girls.

The insights gathered by Conzeulo will feed into WONDER’s upcoming projects: (1) the maximising the potential of youth work through parent engagement research project funded by Sir Halley Stewart Trust, and (2) the voices for all project to support newly arrived migrant girls in access to education funded by the ROSA foundation.  

Impact of Into School on Emotional, Academic, and Social Development of Out-of-School Girls 

The Into School Programme supports newly arrived secondary school girls in transitioning into the UK education system. It provides educational and social activities, mentoring, and extracurricular activities while they await school placements. Having operated for over fifteen years, it remains an essential service in Brixton’s local community.

The programme offers a range of support services, including ESOL (English classes), social activities, preparation classes for school or college, assistance with school applications, mentoring, and curriculum-integrated maths and digital skills. Additionally, the Baytree Centre offers outings in and around London, optional after-school EAL classes, and various optional after-school activities through their youth services.

These activities have a significant impact on the emotional, academic and social development of girls who are out of school. 

Findings from Shadowing Eva at the Baytree Centre in Brixton 

Some of Conzuelo’s key takeaways from this shadowing exercise included the challenges faced by newly arrived teenage girls, how they feel challenged in what they are learning, and how the Baytree Centre and other youth work practices can support them on this journey

Conzuelo reflected on the importance of knowing how to navigate the relationships both among the girls, and with their own parents and carers. She shared that, “if we are going to study parent engagement, we need to know about the youth work environment to recommend new interventions”.  

Enhancing Youth Work Impact: Securing Better Education and Legal Rights for Immigrant Parents and Children 

Maximising the Potential of Youth Work: Investing in Young People, Empowering Parents, Inspiring Youth Workers 

Closing the educational achievement gap for migrants is challenging, but evidence indicates that parent and family engagement is a promising strategy for making a difference.

Navigating the school application system can be difficult for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who are new to the country and have limited English and digital skills. Even with support, young migrants of secondary school age can end up waiting months for a place and feel isolated and discouraged. 

The maximising youth work through parent engagement research project aims to highlight the importance of engaging migrant and displaced parents in youth work organisations in London. The project seeks to provide evidence on this engagement’s impact, propose policy options to expand engagement opportunities for all carers and parents, and contribute to the broader goal of enhancing the social integration of both migrant and host communities in London.

The findings from Conzuelo’s shadowing activity within this context will inform the objectives of the study, namely, the first stage of the project: making a diagnosis of the current situation of migrant and displaced parents’ engagement with young students in London and the possibilities of youth workers to engage with them.  

The Voices for All Project to Support Newly Arrived Migrant Girls in Access to Education 

In July 2023, WONDER launched our ‘Invisible or Ignored’ report which brought attention to the barriers migrant teenage girls face in securing school placements in the UK. The research uncovered issues such as digital exclusion, language barriers, and the challenges encountered by refugees and asylum-seeking children.  

Building on this research, WONDER seeks to advocate for more inclusive and accessible school application systems by raising awareness about the obstacles migrants face to accessing education among local authorities and MPs. The data collected by Conzuelo gives voice to these migrant teenage girls so that they are active participants in the telling of their experiences. 

These insights will be used in an effort to improve the future and the legal rights of immigrant parents and their children, so that they can secure a better education and a better future.  

Corporate volunteering in London Team building

Corporate Volunteering at WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation hosts a variety of corporate volunteering days throughout the year, partnering with organisations and businesses that support our mission and goals.