According to reports, Ukrainian students at British private schools have been distraught by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of their nation, while Russian students are “terrified” of being shunned by their friends.
Some British private schools are dealing with the impact of the invasion on their international students, with Russian and Ukrainian students sharing classrooms.
According to a census conducted by the Independent Schools Council in 2021, there were 2,327 Russian students enrolled in its member schools. Sixty-six percent of these youngsters had parents who lived in another country. There was no mention of the number of Ukrainian students.
On Friday mornings, the headteacher of one private school went through the breakfast hall, worried for the wellbeing of the students.
I was told that the Ukrainian students were “very upset,” while the Russian students were “terrified” because no one would talk to them.
The invasion has been described as “fearful” by British and other nationality students at the institution.
Barnaby Lenon, the former headmaster of Harrow School and the chair of the Independent School Council, told i: “Whenever there’s a problem in another country, what our schools are thinking about principally is pastoral care for those children.
“It’s very important to ensure that those children are receiving the best possible care, especially if they’re worrying about their own parents,” he said.
“It’s not always easy for the schools to get accurate information, but nevertheless they have to try to do that.”
Andrew Lewer, the Conservative MP who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Independent Education, said: “Independent schools with Russian pupils will often have Ukranian pupils as well and will be working to support them in this horrifying time.”
Simon Hyde, the general secretary of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference group of private schools: said: “Heads in HMC schools are concerned about the welfare of all students, but particularly at this time those from Ukraine and the region, as well as those with family and friends working in the area.”
“Additional pastoral support will be provided as necessary,” he added.
Robin Fletcher, the chief executive of the Boarding Schools Association, said: “BSA member schools continue to provide excellent pastoral care and support for over 24,000 students from across the world, including Russia, Ukraine and surrounding areas.
“Clearly this is a very difficult time and we are communicating with the Government to get clarity on areas such as visas, travel arrangements and sanctions.”