School of Sanctuary
We were very proud to be awarded our School of Sanctuary Award in March 2023.
Our journey began in Autumn 2021 when we joined with other schools in the Tolkien Cluster of schools in finding out more and making plans.
As a Catholic school, whose mission encourages us to reach out to others and work together in the name of Christ Jesus, we see this award as part of our calling from God. It enables us to put what we learn through the Catholic School Pupil Profile and Catholic Social Teaching in to action.
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 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. It is a school that is proud to be a place of safety and inclusion for all.
The Schools of Sanctuary Award is given by the City of Sanctuary movement to schools that have consistently put the sanctuary principles into practice. These principles are:
- Learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary and be actively involved in awareness raising (eg talks and training for students and staff, celebrating Refugee Week).
- Take positive action to make welcoming and inclusion part of the values of your school, to support sanctuary seekers and refugees, and to include them in your activities (eg displays, school procedures, fundraising).
- Share your vision and achievements with parents and governors, your cluster, and the wider Schools of Sanctuary network (eg post lesson plans online, take part in events).
To gain the Award, we compiled a portfolio of evidence which reflected our commitment to learning more about what it means to welcome someone into our community especially if they have had a difficult time as a refugee. The process of working towards the Award enabled students at the school to gain a better understanding of issues such as identity, diversity, equality and community.
So far, we have engaged in a variety of activities that have raised awareness in our school community about what being a School of Sanctuary involves and what life is like for refugees. Pupils have produced displays of work in the parish church to raise the profile of the initiative and their work for World Book Day in Spring 2022 was focussed on texts about refugees and their experiences. Parents have been invited in to school and learnt more about the School of Sanctuary Award in a special assembly led by Year 6 pupils.
In addition to this, some of our pupils formed part of a human chain in March 2022 in response to the orange heart campaign, which represents compassion for people fleeing war and persecution. Inspired by the refugee nation flag, and the colours of a lifebelt, the heart symbolises hope and kindness.
We are incredibly proud of the work created by some of our older pupils which was displayed in an art gallery in Birmingham during Refugee Week 2022. Pupils designed and painted skittles, each one representing the journey and experiences of a refugee.