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School of Sanctuary

What is a School of Sanctuary?

  • A school, nursery or sixth-form that fosters a culture of welcome and safety for people seeking sanctuary, including asylum seeking and refugee families.
  • A school that educates the whole school community about the experiences and realities of people who have been forced to flee to foster empathy and understanding.
  • A school that plays an active role in building a culture of welcome by connecting with and supporting local refugee organisations, collaborating with other institutions to raise awareness and advocate for a kinder approach towards those seeking safety.


In June 2023, St John's Primary & Nursery School were very proud to be re-accredited as a School of Sanctuary, after submitting evidence of the work we do in school and our ethos of inclusion, tolerance and acceptance of all. A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a welcoming and safe place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. This could be people who have troubles at home, whose lives were in danger in their own country or who are just looking for a place of safety.


Here is the feedback received from our appraisal:


“Congratulations on an impressive submission. Thank you for facilitating such a helpful and interesting visit to your school. It was wonderful to meet with staff and pupils. The tour of the school provided a wealth of evidence that you are truly a School of Sanctuary.


You shared a very detailed overview of your curriculum and how the children across the age range learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary. You also ensure that children learn about individuals who are role models that have been refugees and asylum seekers.


It is clear to see that the school values the wealth of languages spoken in the settings. There are examples of a range of languages on display throughout the school and the displays reflect a wide range of diverse communities. You have clearly engaged with a wide range of materials to support your curriculum (including Refugee Week resources). 


It was an absolute pleasure to meet with your Learning Ambassadors as well as an individual pupil with lived experience of moving to Southampton and learning English as an additional language. You facilitated this interview well and the use of Google translate was very helpful.


Thank you so much for agreeing to support other settings with your excellent practice. It was an absolute pleasure to spend the morning with you. This is a very well-deserved re-accreditation.”


-Julie Wharton, June 2023