School of Sanctuary
Southampton has a long history of welcoming refugees who have contributed and shaped our society. ‘City of Sanctuary Southampton’ is made up of professionals and volunteers who work together to make Southampton a warm and welcome place for refugees and asylum seekers. ‘City of Sanctuary Southampton’ was formed in 2013 and since then have been engaging in Southampton’s schools, universities, theatres and other organisations to learn and share what it means to be seeking sanctuary and embed and share concepts of welcome.
On 21st May 2021, Bitterne Manor Primary School were very proud to be awarded the ‘School of Sanctuary’ status, 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 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.
As a School of Sanctuary, we help our 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. We are a school that is proud to be a place of safety and inclusion for all.
“Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a school priority and a strength. The cultural heritage of pupils and families is valued. The curriculum uses visits and visitors to encourage all pupils to reflect on different beliefs and cultures. Lessons also give pupils a wide range of opportunities to reflect, for example exploring the concept of a ‘guilty conscience’ through English work or considering the importance of ‘submissions’ in Islam. Parents who spoke to inspectors value the sense of community and harmony that the school creates. The absence of any derogatory or racist language is testament to this.” (OFSTED, 2016)