Children who arrive in Europe as immigrants or who have immigrant parents face a variety of barriers to success in European school systems. Many of these challenges existed before the 2015–16 European migration crisis. Yet the arrival during 2015-16 of more than 750,000 children with diverse linguistic backgrounds, experiences with formal education, and needs for psychosocial support brought fresh urgency to debates about how to best adapt European education systems to support the integration success of migrant-background children and families. While many policymakers have pledged their support to the principle of mainstreaming—the idea that public services should be evaluated and adjusted to ensure they are able to serve diverse populations—implementation across EU countries, localities, and individual schools remains uneven.
This report examines the steps European education systems are taking (or might take) to give all students an equitable shot at academic and future labor-market success. It also considers the role schools are increasingly playing in efforts to support the integration of new and longstanding immigrant communities. From ensuring that all school staff are equipped to support diverse classrooms to improving governance structures to prepare for future demographic and social changes, the authors highlight key lessons learned in the education and adjacent policy fields.