Schools of sanctuary
A school of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being 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.
For more information www.cityofsanctuary.org/schools/resources
We were one of the first schools in the city to receive this award and we continue to promote and support the City of Sanctuary movement in Leeds.
At Lawnswood we are committed to ensuring our students learn what it means to be seeking sanctuary. We have excellent schemes of work in various subject areas that address these themes and give our students the opportunity to explore and develop their ideas. We have developed drama schemes on evacuation, health and social care on diversity and human rights as well as English, Geography and History topics that educate our pupils about the plight of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Furthermore, tutor periods and assemblies are given over for presentations and talks to further address these issues. We have purchased specific books and have a good collection of literature in our library to educate students about sanctuary.
Our student led Culture and Diversity Forum continually work on projects to promote inclusion and understanding throughout the school. Our Asylum Seeker and Refugee pupils have created videos, assemblies and programmes of activities to dispel myths and remove any prejudice.
We are a welcoming and inclusive school with an established welcome and induction policy that enables quick integration and informs all staff of student needs. Families and students are supported through translated materials, welcome meetings, an EAL base, buddies and EAL mentors.
Celebrating the many different backgrounds and cultures of the pupils at our school is a key part of the ethos of our school. Displays and regular events such as International Lunches and tea and biscuits from around the world enable students to both share their own culture and learn about others.
We have fundraised for local and national refugee and asylum seeker charities for over 10 years and regularly hold events to raise awareness and money.
We are constantly developing ways to share the School of Sanctuary vision with the wider community. Friends of Lawnswood parent group meet twice termly for a coffee morning with our families who have recently arrived in the country. We have a uniform and donation email tree set up to support new families in need of items. Our governors are fully supportive and take an active role in the work we do and we update our parents about our work in our termly newsletter.
We are proud of our good practice surrounding EAL and inclusion and regularly work with other high schools to share our ideas and resources. Visitors regularly come from other schools, cities and countries to learn about how we welcome new international arrivals. We are an established School of Sanctuary and a champion for their work supporting other High Schools in achieving the award by sharing our work and giving advice.
Pupils from our Culture and Diversity Forum often visit other schools which do not the diversity of pupils that we have at Lawnswood and deliver workshops to share their culture. As part of this programme these are some of the activities that have been delivered: Story sharing, cooking, dancing, writing, language workshops, a day in the life of a muslim, the Hajj experience, art, assemblies, Q&A.