Home Children and Young People Kirkby Primary School achieves School of Sanctuary status
Pupils from St Joseph the Worker Primary School with their painted egg at Liverpool ONE

Kirkby Primary School achieves School of Sanctuary status

by Emily Maguire

St Joseph the Worker Catholic Primary is the latest school in the borough to be named as a School of Sanctuary by demonstrating that they are a school of inclusion and a safe haven to those in need.

Schools of Sanctuary are a national network of more than 400 primary and secondary schools, nurseries and sixth forms across the UK, all committed to creating a culture of welcome and inclusion for refugees and people seeking asylum.

Driven by teachers, school staff, parents, governors and community groups, this network supports the thousands of young people seeking sanctuary in the UK, raises awareness of the issue facing people in the asylum system, challenges misconceptions and builds social cohesion.

In order to be awarded the ‘Schools of Sanctuary’ status, the school has been through an assessment process which demonstrated that they have implemented three key principles:-

  • Learn – schools help their students, staff and the wider community to learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary and the issues surrounding forced migration
  • Embed – schools are committed to creating a safe and inclusive culture of welcome that benefits everybody, including anyone in their community seeking sanctuary
  • Share – schools share their values and activities with their local communities.

The school has adapted their teaching methods and embedded learning into the curriculum to ensure that students understand what it is like to be a refugee, including why they have to flee their home country in order to feel safe and the importance of providing a warm and inclusive welcome here in Knowsley. The messages are tailored to different year groups.

The whole school took part in a series of events around Eurovision, including participation in the Pysanka Project, painting a large Ukrainian themed egg in collaboration with a Ukrainian pupil and his mother who helped the children to design the egg with using symbols relevant to Ukraine.

Pupils also participated in ‘Refugee Week’ creating messages on hearts for asylum seekers and refugees which were then put on display at the local library and creating a special display which can be viewed on the school website here.

All staff took part in training that was delivered by the charity SHARe Knowsley, who work with refugees and asylum seekers in Knowsley, and the school has worked with pupils, their families and the wider community to provide a welcoming and safe environment.

Jude Ryan, Head Teacher at St Joseph the Worker Catholic Primary School said:

“We are delighted to have achieved the School of Sanctuary award. Our pupils, their families and our staff have really got behind the initiative to embed this culture of inclusion and safety into our school and we are all incredibly proud of this achievement.”

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said:

“This is an outstanding achievement by the staff and pupils at St. Joseph the Worker who have recognised the overwhelming challenges faced by those seeking asylum in our country and have committed to providing a safe, welcoming space for them to learn and grow. I am extremely proud of the school and the substantial effort they have put in to obtaining this award.”