Providing group learning through workshops can help immeasurably with the partnership between parents/carers and the school. Working together in the sessions will help to strengthen a trusting relationship between school and family based on a shared appreciation of the contribution each makes to the wellbeing of children and the care they share for the growth, development and happiness of the student. This will add to the feeling of security and belonging of CAM families in the school and in the wider community that the school represents.’
The ICAM programme provides a programme of Parent/Carer Group Sessions facilitated by a trained School ICAM Leader aimed to provide a helpful forum for parents/carers whose children have been affected by migration to:
- belong to a group and establish social contacts with other parents/carers, reducing isolation
- develop skills, knowledge and understanding to support their child’s social and emotional development in the home.
- promote their relationship with their child and confidence in meeting their child’s social and emotional needs.
The sessions are in two parts. After the parent group have studied the topic they are joined by their children for family activities to help apply and practise the skills they have learned during the workshop.
Groups are encouraged to carry on meeting as often as they like after the 8 session and to continue learning together with the support of 20 extension workshop sessions for group self-study. For practical reasons these extension sessions do not involve the children.
For families who have experienced the significant difficulties and trauma often associated with migration, attendance at the ICAM sessions may not be sufficient to meet their needs for support. Schools should therefore ensure that they are supporting such families at a number of levels, as outlined in the ICAM Handbook (Section 11.4), and are able to direct them to appropriate sources of individual support as appropriate, both local and national. Where topics covered in the sessions have the potential to arouse strong feelings and evoke painful or traumatic memories (e.g. in the session on ‘Change’) these sections are highlighted in the facilitator notes.