Last Updated: Thursday, January 05, 2023

Glasgow Girls - Campaigning for the rights of asylum seekers (learner participation)

What is this?

Learn about the Glasgow Girls and their campaign for the fair treatment of asylum seekers.

Who is this for?

Primary, secondary and further education practitioners and learners.

In this video, Amal and Emma, two members of the Glasgow Girls group, talk about what led them to start a campaign for the fair treatment of asylum seekers back in 2005, the impact it had, and what they have learned from campaigning.

Explore this resource


In 2005, seven pupils from Drumchapel High School in Glasgow formed a group to campaign for the release of their friend Agnesa and her family who had been detained in a dawn raid. Pupils at the school signed a petition and the group - who became known as the Glasgow Girls - raised awareness of the poor treatment of asylum seeking families whose rights of appeal had been exhausted.

Through their campaigning, the Glasgow Girls gained support from Jack McConnell, who was then First Minister, and from many MSPs who raised the issue with the Home Office. Agnesa and her family were eventually released. The Glasgow Girls have inspired many people, and two documentaries and a musical telling their story have been produced.


In this video, Amal and Emma, two members of the group, talk about what led them to start the campaign, the impact it had for some asylum seekers, and what they learned from campaigning.

How to use this resource

One aim of this resource is to support open and honest conversations about immigration and to counter some of the misinformation that has spread in recent years, particularly in some sections of the media.

It should be used in the context of a broader anti-racist education programme, and may assist establishments to meet their legal obligations to promote equality and tackle discrimination based on race and religion.

The video also highlights the impact of enabling learners to be heard. The women reflect on the impact using their voice had on achieving positive change and on their own lives. Research has shown that participation can have a positive impact on outcomes for learners.

The importance of having a significant teacher or adult to guide and support young people is emphasised in the video and may lead to consideration of how an establishment enables their learners’ voices to be heard.

This video can be used to support learners to engage in a number of themes including:

  • asylum seekers and refugees
  • myths of migration
  • current affairs and the role of the media
  • children and young people’s rights
  • participation - using your voice to support positive change
  • equality and inclusion

Improvement questions

  • To what extent do we use whole setting approaches or class settings to explore issues related to asylum and immigration?
  • As practitioners do we support young people to question media content and potential bias?
  • How do we encourage and support learners to use their voice to achieve positive change?
  • Do we recognise the impact participation can have on the confidence of learners?