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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. It is a space for those whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space they can feel safe.

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.

Why become a School of Sanctuary?

We are proud to be working towards becoming accredited as a School of 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.

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 both as subject teachers and as pastoral tutors in the delivery of an excellent curriculum which supports this ethos.
  • Student Leadership group 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 the website and Egglescliffe Edge on a regular basis.
  • We are also developing ways to engage the wider community which we serve. We work with other schools in Stockton as well as the wider Tees Valley.

Find out more about School of Sanctuary by visiting the Tees Valley of Sanctuary website: https://tees-valley.cityofsanctuary.org

Learn

Governors’ senior leadership and Staff

All governors and the senior leadership team 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. The presentations also included the local situation of our borough of Stockton and why the borough has a relatively large number of people seeking sanctuary. The governors and SLT were supportive of why the school – relatively well healed – high achieving, needed to develop this work. The school is committed to preparing our students now about the real world in which they live, and being better informed citizens.  Having the support of governors and senior leaders is valuable in working towards the award.

Staff

Presentations about the award have been given at staff meetings.  PowerPoints and handouts covered why people become refugees, where they come from, why some come to Stockton and why they need protection.

A staff CPD group was set up and met five times in the year of working for the award. They had training in issues related to refugees and people seeking asylum. Representatives from charities who support refugees: Justice First, Red Cross and the local food bank gave presentations about their work. The group heard the testimony of a refugee – the issues he faced both as a person seeking sanctuary and also after being granted the right to remain.

Resources relevant to all departments was sourced and these have been shared on the internal staff website- SharePoint. Some are general resources from charities including the Red Cross, Amnesty International, BBC film clips which provided the basis for lessons and gave staff more detailed knowledge – facts and figures, case studies and testimonies. Other resources on asylum and refugee issues are subject specific and web folders for each area of the curriculum contain relevant sources staff can use of their lessons. This means that hard pressed staff do not have to spend hours searching for teaching materials.

Students: curriculum

Across the curriculum students learn about why people seek sanctuary (asylum), the traumas they face and the ongoing problems once they arrive in a country of safety. They learn about negative stereotypes, challenge myths and learn about why people seek sanctuary, where they come from and why they may arrive in Britain. Refugees visit the school to share their testimony with students in lessons and also in assemblies.  Resources have been developed, are shared for all subjects to use and the library has a range of books for students from year 7 to 13 of refugee stories or written by refugees. Subject which have developed very detailed schemes of work, lesson plans and resources about sanctuary and refugee issues so far include Drama, English, Mathematics and PHSE. We anticipate more departments developing and adapting their schemes in the following terms.

Displays around the school are now more representative of our wider community, for example a MFL display celebrates Arabic language and culture which several of our students can speak. A useful resource to develop basic phrases of languages from around the world is language of the month: www.newburyparkschool.net/langofmonth/index.html

A display about Syria and the refugee crisis was produced for history and politics area by a year 12 student.  Whilst Black history Month was celebrated by many departments and the library. The librarian at school has fully supported the school of sanctuary award by purchasing over £300 of new stock to reflect refugee stories and poetry both about the issue and written by refugees. Likewise great displays have been done by the librarian for refugee week.

Assembly
Bob Marley
Track Lists
Books

There is a school of sanctuary display in student services which is changed each term.  The displays in 2016-17 have been: ‘What is a school of sanctuary?’ ‘Myths and myth busters’, ‘What have refugees ever done for us?’ Having a school of sanctuary display in a high traffic area keep the focus on the award, and  promotes the issues around school of sanctuary with students, staff and visitors. For examples of these displays.

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