There is a lot of momentum around the Schools of Sanctuary work in Newcastle and it is brilliant to see lots of schools interested in the work and getting involved.
You can find out more about Schools of Sanctuary and how to get involved, including a whole load of resources to help you on your journey here.
For schools that want to get involved there is timetable of training sessions and events planned for the 2022 spring and summer term to support schools with this and hope to see a number of Schools awarded by the end of the school year. For more information and to register to be part of this please sign up to the EAL and School of Sanctuary Network Meetings on Services to Schools.
Work of the existing schools of sanctuary as well as those working towards their awards have looked at a variety of things as part of the process including looking at their existing curriculum and weaving in themes relating to refugees and forced displacement; looking at the school library and having an area dedicated to books about refugees, asylum seekers and human rights; making resources available to staff e.g. a Schools of Sanctuary Folder; school staff completing the Newcastle City of Sanctuary training module and building in learning about refugees and asylum seekers into staff inductions and ongoing training. There has also been thought given to how the schools support new arrivals with schemes set up such as EAL buddies for new arrivals who have English as an additional language, Language of the Month and Parent English Classes.
Here is a quote from one of the Newcastle schools: “We are thrilled with the award but even more so with the knowledge and understanding we have gained throughout the application process. Our Senior Leadership Team have used this period of reflection to further improve the offer we give to our most vulnerable pupils and have felt encouraged and supported.”
And one of the parents who is from a refugee background on one of the School of Sanctuary schemes that they had seen at the entrance to the school, ‘country welcome boxes’: “It wasn’t important what was in the box, it was important what was in the heart, and these hearts came to say WELCOME!”