The article confronts comparative research outcomes on factors that helped or hindered the educational success of immigrant youth and second generation in the past decades in several European countries with the institutional responses of European educational systems to the challenges of integrating a substantial number of refugee and other newly arrived children since 2014. Especially studies on the second generation – mostly the offspring of labour migrants – have revealed substantial differences in the long-term effects of specific institutional arrangements in the different systems that can – and should – serve as lessons for the potentially detrimental effects of the ways schools and school systems have reacted to the new influx of immigrant children. In the light of the lessons that could be learned from previous experiences with immigrant children and children of immigrants the article analyses in which way the current responses of different European educational systems to the presence of refugee and other immigrant children reflect these lessons, but also do justice to the particular challenges and specific situations of refugee youth that generally place them at an even higher disadvantage than other migrants. On the other hand, some of the ad-hoc measures for refugee pupils may have the potential of becoming permanent features of the respective educational systems.

DOI: 10.1186/s40878-019-0129-3
ISSN: 2214-594X