Knowsley Central School in Huyton is the first school in Knowsley to achieve the ‘Schools of Sanctuary’ accolade.
Schools of Sanctuary are a national network of over 380 primary and secondary schools, nurseries and sixth forms, 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.
This learning has been further developed by the pupils taking part in role play and creative writing, as well as cultural days and activities being arranged throughout the year.
Pupils were also asked to list what five items they would take with them if they had to leave their home / country, which generates lots of discussion and understanding around how difficult it must be to leave your belongings behind.
All staff took part in training that was delivered by the charity SHARe Knowsley, who work with refugees and asylum seekers in Knowsley.
The school has worked with pupils, their families and the wider community to provide a welcoming and safe environment.
Daryl McConnell, Head Teacher at Knowsley Central School, said:
“On behalf of everyone at the school, I am delighted that we have secured the Schools of Sanctuary award.
“It highlights our commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for our pupils, their family, our own staff and the wider community.
“We have a range of engaging activities in order to help our pupils to understand the pressures and challenges some of their class mates or people in their own community are facing.
“This is a great achievement to be nationally recognised.”