What is a School of Sanctuary?

A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for those seeking sanctuary. This could be people whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space of safety. A School of Sanctuary is a school that helps its pupils, staff and wider community understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary and to extend a welcome to everyone as equal, valued members of the school community. It is a school that is proud to be a place of safety and inclusion for all.

We are committed to ensuring that our pupils learn and understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary and the difficulties asylum seekers and refugees face. Our curriculum ensures that there are opportunities to learn, understand and take actions around the themes of human rights as well as diversity, inclusion, refugee and migration.

Who is involved in the School of Sanctuary?

Working towards becoming a School of Sanctuary involves the whole school:

  • Governors are fully supportive of our commitment as a school
    community to work towards School of Sanctuary status.
  • Staff are involved in the delivery of an excellent curriculum which supports this ethos.
  • Pupil leadership groups are actively working on initiatives to enable us to be awarded School of Sanctuary status.
  • Parents are informed of the work surrounding the School of Sanctuary accreditation via our website and through our regular Newsletters.

Staff

All staff have had presentations and updates on sanctuary and asylum issues. This has included sharing knowledge of the current world situation of refugees – where people flee from, why they leave and the problems they face.

Resources for all year groups have been shared. Some are general resources from charities including the Red Cross, BBC film clips etc which provided the basis for lessons and gave staff more detailed knowledge – facts and figures, case studies and testimonies. Staff actively became involved by leading both a ‘Refugee Week’ and a ‘Day of Many Colours’ in their classes and this will continue annually.

Pupils

Throughout our curriculum, there are many opportunities for pupils to learn about why people seek sanctuary (asylum), the traumas they face and the ongoing problems once they arrive in a country of safety.

Our class texts and libraries are added to each year and include books from a range of cultures, books that support pupils through difficult times and bilingual books.
Pupil leadership groups such as; School Council, RE Ambassadors and Belonging Buddies, are always thinking of ways to ensure school is a safe and inclusive place for all!

We have a whole school display which reflects the work carried out towards our School of Sanctuary accreditation.

Families

We are so proud of the support our families give to us as a school and our wider community. In December, we held an Advent fundraiser where many toiletry items were donated to the Refugee and Migrant Centre to support them through winter. We are looking forward to thinking of ways we can continue to support this charity through Lent with a particular focus on raising money to buy leisure/ free time activities for refugees housed in hotels in our city.

Dear Lord,

Bless all who seek refuge on our earth. Meet their needs for safety and for home. Move the hearts of your people to show them welcome. Cause wars to cease and bring justice to the nations so that no one will need to flee again.

Amen