Bluecoat Beechdale Academy is awarded School of Sanctuary
Tuesday 10th November marked a very special achievement for Bluecoat Beechdale Academy as it was officially awarded School of Sanctuary. It now stands as the second school within the Archway Trust to gain recognition. By becoming School of Sanctuary further awareness is being raised around how we can continue sharing our understanding of individuals who have made challenging journeys; those same journeys that we hear of constantly in the media and that may reflect experiences within our very own community.
Staff and students have worked particularly hard in the months leading up to the final application date in May 2021 to show just how many avenues they have explored to make Beechdale a place of welcome and safety for all its students and families, with a particular focus on refugees and asylum seekers.
To share this day of celebration were not only staff and students, but also members of the community and representatives from City of Sanctuary UK, the organisation that assessed BBA in October 2021 and agreed that the application had been successful. BBC East Midlands, as well as NottsTV, were there to record the celebrations, give testimony to the achievements made and a glimpse at what it means to be a sanctuary seeker at BBA. Also present was Maria Lacovara, EAL Coach and School of Sanctuary Lead who played a significant part throughout the application process, ensuring every detail really did represent a school dedicated to showing compassion, raising awareness and offering opportunities to all regardless of one’s background.
At the heart of the event were the students themselves. These students will remain the absolute focus of all actions that will evolve going forwards. Through recognition as School of Sanctuary, BBA has made a commitment to:
Learn: find out what it means to seek sanctuary, and be actively involved in awareness raising
Embed: take positive action to make welcome and inclusion part of the values of the organisation/ community, to support sanctuary seekers and refugees, and to include them in activities
Share: vision and achievements – let others know about the positive contribution refugees make to our society and the benefits of welcoming culture to everyone.
There is so much that BBA is embracing at the moment that reflects how much staff are committed to their sanctuary seekers and families. This ranges from collective learning sessions scheduled to learn about refugees and asylum seekers; imminent involvement in local charity activity to support young mothers and their children in refugee camps globally; student and staff working groups to build on the ‘sanctuary’ we offer and placing concepts of equality, justice and diversity at the core of subject areas across the curriculum.
We will continue to highlight some of our key moments in the School of Sanctuary experience and hope that you will be eager to share the journey with us!