"I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Matthew 25:35
School of Sanctuary
As a school, we are working towards becoming a School of Sanctuary.
So, 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.
As a Catholic school, we are called to put our faith into practice and by becoming a School of Sanctuary, we will be doing exactly that. We will be a school that helps its students, staff and wider community understand what it means to need sanctuary and 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. The number of schools doing this has now exceeded 350!
The principles of a school of sanctuary are:
- Learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary and be actively involved in awareness raising (e.g. specific lessons, visits, taking part in nationwide activities, celebrating Refugee Week and providing training and education for staff).
- 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).
What has happened so far at St. James’?
- An initial training session for all staff (June 2022) on sanctuary and asylum issues e.g. why asylum seekers come here, the journeys they make, how they are treated upon reaching mainland Europe and then the problems they face in this country.
- Further staff training about the government’s Rwanda scheme and the national day of action (September 2022)
- Resources collated and made available on the staff shared area from organisations such as Amnesty International, British Red Cross and Oxfam.
- Books are an integral part of educating our children about the wonderful diversity in our world, as well as the helping us to understand and empathise with those seeking asylum. The thoughtful and moving texts used in each year group can be found in the 'Sharing Stories' section below.
- Taking part in a range of activities for refugee week (June 2022), including assemblies for all children
- Visit to Years 4 and 5 from ‘Stories of hope and home’ (July 2022)
- Child-led assembly from Yr5 children to share the things they learnt from SoH&H (July 2022)
- All of Year 4 attended the ‘Refugee – what do you know about me?’ performance by SoH&H and the Welsh National Opera (July 2022)
- Day of action 23.09.22. (‘Fill the skies with hope’)
- Using the school Twitter page to help educate the wider school community and to share the things we are doing
- #showyourheart campaign February 2023
- Caritas ambassadors visit to St. Chad's Sanctuary, followed by whole school fundraising Spring/Summer 2023
- Year 4 visit to Birmingham Rep. to see 'In The Shadow of the Trees' - a performance by Stories of Hope and Home.