What is a School of Sanctuary?
Schools of Sanctuary is an initiative to celebrate the good practice of schools who foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for all, especially asylum seeking and refugee families. The aim is to create a safe environment that includes everybody in a school, regardless of people’s background, ethnicity, faith or gender. Schools that are committed to welcome and inclusion can apply for an award from the City of Sanctuary movement. Schools of Sanctuary offers a way to educate the whole school community about the human right to sanctuary and engage with sanctuary seekers and families in their local communities.
Why become a School of Sanctuary?
At Brownedge St Mary's, we are proud to be working towards becoming accredited as a School of Sanctuary. We are committed to help our students, 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. We are a school that is proud to be a place of safety and inclusion for all and being a safe and welcoming place for those seeking sanctuary. We are committed to ensuring that our students 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, refuge and migration.
As we work towards the award we will be:
- Learn: learning about what it means to be seeking sanctuary, both in general, and specifically.
- Embed: taking positive action to embed concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within the school including, but not limited to, the pupils, teaching and administrative staff. We will take steps to ensure this progress remains sustainable.
- Share: sharing our vision, achievements, what we have learned, and develop our good practice with other schools, the local community and beyond.
What will we be doing in school to become a School of Sanctuary?
Much of the work for becoming a School of Sanctuary is already done and is naturally embedded into the ethos and work of our school. These coming months are about highlighting and raising the profile of this work. To further promote this work over the coming academic year we will be:
- Leading fundraising and interhouse competitions throughout the year for the charity Mary’s Meals, who support children living in poverty overseas, particularly those in countries experiencing conflict.
- CPD for staff on how to best support asylum seeking and refugee families.
- A Refugee Week including a visit from Escape to Safety group.
- Chaplaincy work including assemblies, Lent Reflection Days, etc.
- Curriculum RE lessons to be delivered to all classes to raise awareness.
Further reading resources
- Amnesty International: www.amnesty.org/en/latest/education/2015/10/8-educational-resources-to-better-understand-the-refugee-crisis/
- BBC animations: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01k7c4q/clips
- Red Cross : www.redcross.org.uk/en/What-we-do/Teaching-resources
- Refugee Council: www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/tellitlikeitis
- The UN Refugee Agency: www.unhcr.org.uk/about-us.html