In Norway, as in other Western countries, the increasing number of refugees in recent years has turned the education of refugee children and young people into a central issue. The challenge countries face is how their education provisions can contribute to young refugees’ successful inclusion into mainstream schools as well as into host societies. The aim of this chapter is to explore the educational and psychosocial challenges concerning inclusion of recently arrived refugee students upon entering upper secondary education in Norway. Moreover, it discusses the fundamental policy principle of inclusive education and its implementation into classroom practice. The chapter draws on data from a qualitative study carried out in Norway, which is based on semi-structured interviews with school staff, teachers and refugee students in five upper secondary schools. The study’s findings frequently point to a policy–practice gap, that is, a discrepancy between national policy principles on inclusive education and their implementations in schools. The study further discloses a particular need for more expertise and skills in how to promote principles of inclusion and belonging in relation to diverse student populations in general and newly resettled refugee students in particular. To improve the capacity of Norwegian school leaders and teachers to become more responsive to the increased linguistic and cultural diversity in schools requires continual professional development as well as the allocation of necessary educational and financial resources.

DOI: 10.4337/9781839106361.00012

ISBN: 9781839106361; 9781839106354