St. Joseph’s a School of Sanctuary
As a School we have been working closely, in partnership with Swansea, City of Sanctuary and other organisations. A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. This could be people whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space of safety.
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.
The programme began in Yorkshire, England, and there are now Schools of Sanctuary across England, Wales and Ireland.
We are currently working towards achieving School of Sanctuary Status and in doing so, our children have been learning about what it means to be seeking sanctuary. As a school we have taken positive action to embed concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within our school and the wider community, holding meetings with ‘A better Welcome to Swansea’ and our asylum seeking and refugee families and we have been busy share our vision and achievements with others.
Our journey started in 2017 when as part of the Lead Creative Schools initiative funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the Arts Council for Wales our upper KS2 pupils learnt about the immigration of the early Irish settlers to Greenhill. The result of their hard work and labour are the Cathedral and our school that still stand here, in Greenhill today- a testament to the challenges and struggles they faced.
Children have learnt about the challenges current migrants and their families face today through class assemblies, asylum seeking and refugee workshops, anti – racism workshops e.g. ‘Show Racism the Red Card and through developing links with Swansea University Department of Geography and Centre for Migration Policy Research, EYST (Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team) and Swansea City of Sanctuary.
Refugee week is remembered each year in school. Please see the work we have done by looking at our page on CAFOD.
Year 5 learnt about Otis Bolamu’s story when he came in to speak to the children. They learnt how it was too dangerous to return to his Country- The Democratic Republic of Congo. He spoke how he had been removed from Swansea and detained for deportation but how many people had signed a petition for his return to Swansea until his appeal is heard. His story was inspirational and his T-shirt to thank those who helped him has formed part of the school’s Sanctuary Art project- ‘The Road to Belonging.
Refugee week 2019
This year to remember Refugee week we are putting up a collaborative display with Swansea City of Sanctuary in the Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road showcasing our work together and our work within school towards achieving School of Sanctuary status. Please come down and see the valuable work we are doing together to make all in our community feel included and welcome. The display runs from Tuesday 18th June until 2nd July 2019.