“We support the ‘City of Sanctuary’ vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.
We endorse the City of Sanctuary Charter, and agree to act in accordance with City of Sanctuary values and apply the network principles within our work (as far as our specific context enables us to).
We recognise the contribution of people seeking sanctuary. Sanctuary seekers are welcomed, included and supported within our context. We expect our branches or local groups (if any) to support their local City of Sanctuary group if one exists, and will facilitate contact between them and their local City of Sanctuary group.
Thu 16 Dec 2021
This term, every child at Bitterne Park Primary school took part in walking 1km each (3 laps of our school field). Our significant focus came from Walk with Amal. Did you know she has travelled 8,000 km and through 8 countries! We wanted to partake in the walk to refuge in order to contextualise the length that refugees have travelled to sanctuary.
Here is an insight from Tilly & Jude in year 5:
‘For our sanctuary focus this half term, we are learning about children of the world.
We walked around the field to raise awareness of The Walk. We walked because there are people called refugees who have to walk thousands of miles to find sanctuary – which means a safe place.
It is important to learn about refugees because we need to know what is happening around the world – especially at the moment as we are welcoming refugees into our school and need to understand what is going on.
We need to make sure that we keep talking about this and don’t forget about how important it is. Stopping talking about it isn’t going to make the problem go away. We need to educate ourselves and each other about this in order to help.’
The children have since completed their footprint and we have displayed these around school leading to each key city Amal walked through. Each class has linked into a specific location and can confidently talk about Amal's journey. As a school we would like to ensure we support refugees around the globe and make our school a place of welcome for others.
‘Refugees walk for sanctuary and sanctuary means a safe place. We tried to think about what life would be like if we had to seek shelter.’
‘Refugees are humans and deserve safety and a home like us. Walking 1KM made me feel tired and cold, even with my coat on. I couldn’t imagine walking 8,000 km.’
‘We need to make sure that we keep talking about this and don’t forget about how important it is. Stopping talking about it isn’t going to make the problem go away!’
Our wider partnership school family has also been walking and reflecting upon the journeys those seeking sanctuary face. This has sparked curiosity to find out whether we have collaboratively reached a distance similar to Amal. We discovered that as a partnership that we have covered a distance of 1,377km. This is under a ¼ of Amal’s brave journey.
You can find more about Amal’s walk here: https://www.walkwithamal.org/
Last half term, Bitterne Park Primary School’s school council, worked towards collating a folder of evidence to submit to the City of Sanctuary panel to show that as a school we take positive actions to embed concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion and that we create a welcoming environment students from different cultures.
Our school has always been inclusive, safe and welcoming but we feel that by working towards this award we have deepened our awareness of inclusion amongst all of our staff and children. It is with great pleasure that we can announce that we are now officially recognised as a School of Sanctuary.
The chair and vice chair of the school council attended an award ceremony, at the Civic Centre on the 19th June 2019, to receive our award.
We met the Mayor of Southampton and were invited to look around his office. We are very proud to have achieved this award and it will be displayed in our school foyer for all to see.
We look forward to continue spreading messages of tolerance and respect in our school.