Extensive evidence indicates that education is an integral part of the settling in process for refugee and asylum-seeking children. Furthermore, it has been suggested that positive teaching practice with refugee pupils should be asset-based and holistic in nature. The present study examines educators’ positive practices with refugee pupils and explores factors that shape these practices. Data were collected through participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 17 class teachers, specialist teachers and teaching assistants at two schools in England. Numerous examples of positive practices were identified, from creating welcoming environments to promoting social–emotional well-being to supporting English language learning. Factors that shaped these practices were identified using an ecological model of educator development. Such factors included educators’ individual pedagogical knowledge about teaching refugee pupils and collective school-level knowledge and practices. Some aspects of the national education system, such as rigid exam-based curricula, were also cited as influential. Overall, this study offers examples of how individual educators and schools managed to enact positive practices with refugee pupils despite an unsupportive national context.

DOI: 10.1002/berj.3818
ISSN: 0141-1926