Purpose – In 2015, Scandinavia experienced the arrival of many refugee children. Research has documented a higher prevalence of mental health problems among refugee compared to non-migrant children. Education and schools play an important role in the health and wellbeing of children, especially those who are vulnerable, and equity in education may help combat social and health inequalities. This study investigated educators’ views on the health and wellbeing needs of migrant children in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmö, Sweden, and how schools may address these issues. Methods – We carried out 14 semi-structured interviews with education professionals in both cities and conducted a thematic analysis inspired by the Street Level Bureaucracies theory. Results – Most interviewees recognized NAMR pupils had specific migration-related needs but some expressed being unable to cope with more complex issues due to a lack of vital health and wellbeing services within schools. Recent policies in Denmark further devolved migrant education to municipalities; while in Sweden new policies centralized and standardized procedures. Conclusion – To summarize, educational leaders and staff we interviewed in both countries felt that the lack of resources, professional training, standardized procedures and accountability measurement, together with inflexible systems, inhibited them from providing equitable education, thus possibly reinforcing migration-related health inequalities.

DOI: 10.1080/17482631.2020.1773207
ISSN: 1748-2623