PRIMARY schools in villages near Andover have been welcoming refugees into their communities following the war in Ukraine.

Skylark Federation, comprising both Appleshaw St Peter’s CofE Primary School and Kimpton, Thruxton & Fyfield CofE Primary School, have been quick to embrace Ukrainian refugee children. Since April, they have welcomed four children to their schools with ages ranging from four to 11 years old and they have settled into school life wonderfully well.

Given the recent troubles in Ukraine, staff have been pleased to give these children a safe place to be happy, learn and most importantly, to be children. They hope they will continue to thrive and also that the schools will grow through learning about their culture and even learning a little of the Ukrainian/Russian language.

Not only has the Federation opened its doors to these children but also to their family members. At Appleshaw School, they were fortunate in already having two Ukrainian children in the school and so this has helped the new children to settle. Furthermore, Ukrainian families have forged friendships and now run English lessons in the school hall twice a week. Fundraising efforts are in full swing too with both schools organising a non-uniform day along with a cake sale to raise funds for Ukraine. Children will go to school dressed in the colours of the Ukrainian flag on this special day.

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In addition, Kimpton School hosts a Wraparound Care Club every day after school which offers childcare up until 6pm if required. Children from Appleshaw travel to Kimpton via the school minibus and have the opportunity to experience different clubs including Lego, drama, gymnastics, board games and even line dancing.

A spokesperson for the Federation said: "We hope that one day, the families will be able to return home to Ukraine but meanwhile we are happy to be able to offer them a safe haven and a measure of hope here at Appleshaw and Kimpton."

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