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, schools need to compile a portfolio of evidence. The whole process takes around one academic year. The process of working towards the Award should enable students at the school to gain a better understanding of issues of identity, diversity, equality and community.
Currently there are Schools of Sanctuary groups in Bradford, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle. If there is no group in your area, you can contact one of these groups for ideas about how to set up your own group.