Approach & Values
Article 26 has been working to break down barriers to higher education for people who have sought asylum in the UK since 2005. The project evolved out of Save the Children's 'Brighter Futures' project, a national, youth-led advocacy group for people seeking asylum. Brighter Futures began to campaign for access to Higher Education when a number of the groups' members, nearing the end of their school education, realised that they were unable to go to university, despite huge academic potential. Brighter Futures campaigned successfully to persuade a number of different universities in the North West to create opportunities to study at their institutions. The group's work was integral to laying the foundations for the development of the Aricle 26 project.
In the early stage of the campaign it became apparent that both students and universities needed support to negotiate a new relationship between Higher Education Institutions and the complexities of the asylum process. Article 26 was set up in 2010 to meet the needs of both universities and students from an asylum seeking background and became a project of the Helena Kennedy Foundation. The charity has a long track historyin supporting people to overcome significant social and economic barriers to succeed in Higher Education.
People seeking asylum are a particularly vulnerable group. Many have experienced traumatic events in their countries of origin and en route to the UK, which often results in their education being severely disrupted. English may not be their first language and when people arrive in the UK, they must navigate their way through multiple unfamiliar systems (including the education system), manage their immigration case and survive on a very low or no income in the context of increasing hostility towards migrants.
People who have have sought asylum and reached the stage of being offered a place at university have already overcome substantial barriers and demonstrated significant strength, resilience and commitment to their studies. Support is required to overcome the final hurdles; no access to student finance and prohibitively expensive university tuition fees, in order to access and succeed in Higher Education.
Article 26 has continued to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of both students and universities in a rapidly changing policy landscape. Our approach is grounded in the day to day realities of both the immigration and Higher Education system. In the past year Article 26 has handed over greater control to partner universities and each individual institution is now responsible for recruiting students for Article 26 bursaries but with continued advice, guidance and support from the project. This allows universities to tailor bursaries and support to their institution, whilst Article 26 concentrates on coordinating and building the network of partner universities.