Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 4(8), pp. 1863 - 1873
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040816
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Polish Immigrant Children in the UK: Catholic Education and Other Aspects of "Migration Luck"

Alicja R. Sadownik 1,*, Piotr Mikiewicz 2
1 Centre for Educational Research, Bergen University College, Norway
2 Poland Lower Silesian Centre for Educational Innovations, Institute of Education, Department of Sociology of Education and Educational Policy, University of Lower Silesia, Poland


After 2005, approximately two million Poles emigrated, choosing mostly Britain as their destination. Quantitative reports [1] paint a picture of the typical Polish immigrant as a person between the ages of 31-39, who, with a vocational (or equivalent) education, is active on the labor market. This paper reports on a qualitative study of six typical Polish families in Nottingham and of the staff from two Catholic schools that the Polish children attend. The study aimed to reconstruct the typical, long-term adaption and integration strategies as seen from the perspective of the children's participation in education. The data comprise 12 overt interviews with Polish mothers/fathers/workers (six interviews) in Nottingham and with school staff (head teacher, special needs coordinator, teacher assistants) in two Catholic primary and secondary schools in Nottingham in the period of 2009-2013. Our results reveal the unusual "luck" experienced by the Polish children. This "luck" refers to the Catholic educational trajectories that are accidentally accessed thanks to the children having Catholic baptismal certificates in a non-Catholic country. These educational trajectories, in consideration of the parents' social status, would never have been experienced by these children in Poland. We call it luck, because, again, in consideration of the parents' cultural capital, it was not part of the wider immigration plan.

Integration through Education, Immigrant Education, Social Mobility

Cite this paper
Alicja R. Sadownik , Piotr Mikiewicz . "Polish Immigrant Children in the UK: Catholic Education and Other Aspects of "Migration Luck"." Universal Journal of Educational Research 4.8 (2016) 1863 - 1873. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040816.