Educating the Younger Generation of Polish Female Refugees in Postwar Britain: Secondary Grammar Schools for Girls— the Challenges of Resettlement

Agata Błaszczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the education of young Polish female refugees in postwar Britain, and the implications of the establishment of the Committee for the Education of Poles, a body brought into being on April 1, 1947, as a consequence of the passage of the Polish Resettlement Bill in March 1947 (the first ever British legislation dealing with mass immigration). It examines the newly introduced grammar schools for girls, the challenges raised for these new educational establishments, and the strategies introduced by the British authorities in order to cope with the growing numbers of Polish adolescents entering the country after World War II. Based on archival records and supported by oral interviews, the sample case studies presented herein highlight one way in which the young Polish community was rehabilitated in exile at the start of their path towards civic integration. They highlight the key importance of education to that pathway. The studies presented here provide an insight into the experiences of, and challenges faced by, young Polish women during the Process of their education and resettlement. Thanks to extant school reports, it has been possible to ascertain not only the practical and financial problems that impacted the schools presented in the paper, which operated under the auspices of the Committee for the Education of Poles, but also their slow, but steady improvement over time. The paper provides clear evidence that it was thanks to the Committee that a significant proportion of the younger generation of Poles managed to acquire the qualifications needed to secure their first jobs and ultimately a career in industry or business and so play a useful part in the economic life of Great Britain and her overseas territories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-85
Number of pages21
JournalThe Polish Review
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

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