St Paul’s Church of England Primary School was yesterday officially awarded the School of Sanctuary status. The Primary school of 207 pupils, situated in the heart of Gloucester City has become the second school in Gloucester to get the School of Sanctuary award. The school marked the occasion by organising an assembly attended by some parents, teachers and pupils who show cased some of the highlights of the activities they have done as part of their learning on what it means to be seeking sanctuary seekers, safety and welcome. Parents from diverse communities provided nibbles and cakes to share as refreshments.
Speaking during the award ceremony, Mrs Steph Matthews, Headteacher said, “For us it was about being explicit about asylum seekers and refugees to help both children and staff to understand. And this is the beginning of our journey and we want to take the message of welcome and sanctuary seekers into the community as well.”
Mrs Claire Brindley, Assistant Headteacher who leads the Inclusion work within the school spearheaded efforts to help the school achieve the award. Mrs Brindley says the School of Sanctuary presented us with lots of opportunities and benefits for example it creates a sense of safety and inclusion to all members of the school community. And was in line with the school’s vision which is MADE -(Making a Difference to Everyone).
“Our pupils face many barriers to learning, with children and families having a diverse range of needs,” says Mrs Brindley. The school comprises a population of 49% EAL with 24 additional languages spoken from 17 minority ethnic groups, 29% SEN and 40% in receipt of Pupil Premium funding.As part of the process of becoming a School of Sanctuary, staff also got the opportunity to learn through staff meetings about issues surrounding people seeking sanctuary.