Glebelands recognised as a 'School of Sanctuary'

Published on 17 June 2016

CHILDREN at a Leicester primary school have been helping to welcome refugees and asylum seekers to the city – and now their kindness and understanding is to be recognised.

On Monday (20 June), representatives of local charity Leicester City of Sanctuary will present a certificate to the children at Glebelands Primary School, thanking them for their support and celebrating their status as pupils at Leicester’s first ‘School of Sanctuary’.

Class teacher at Glebelands Primary, Ruth Sinhal, said: “We are delighted to be named Leicester’s first ‘School of Sanctuary’ – and we’re very proud of our children, who understand how important it is to help, and welcome, people who are seeking safety and sanctuary.

“The school has collected food and toiletries for the British Red Cross, who distribute these items to refugees in our city, and we collected around 300 teddy bears, which were given to refugee children in Leicester. 

“We are grateful to the Red Cross, who have worked closely with us to teach the pupils about issues related to migration and asylum, and to the City of Sanctuary, who have taken staff training sessions, so the whole school is on board with the ethos of ‘welcome’.”

Pete Hobson, the chair of trustees for Leicester City of Sanctuary, said: “Children are very often natural welcomers of people from other places or cultures, in a way we adults can forget or lose sight of.

“It is a real pleasure for us to recognise Glebelands School as the first School of Sanctuary in our city. We hope that the school will be an example that many others will be eager to follow.”

Joining staff and pupils for the presentation will be deputy city mayor Cllr Rory Palmer and assistant city mayor for children, young people and schools, Cllr Sarah Russell.

Cllr Palmer said: “Children at the school have shown their support for local refugees and asylum seekers by making up welcome boxes for them, writing them letters and cards, and collecting their loose change for Leicester City of Sanctuary.

“They’ve shown that they understand that everyone needs a safe place to call home – and their acts of kindness have been greatly appreciated by those who seek sanctuary in our city.”

The presentation will take place during school assembly on Monday morning. As part of the ceremony, the children will sing the school song and display the colourful collage they have created with the help of City of Sanctuary volunteers and a refugee artist.

After assembly, the children will begin five days of special activities to mark Refugee Week.

As part of their learning, the children will look at the importance of shelters and communication, hear the story of a child refugee from Afghanistan, and learn about the food and songs of countries such as Syria and Somalia.

Glebelands Primary is the first – and only – school in Leicestershire to be awarded School of Sanctuary status. The national scheme recognises schools that help their students, staff and wider community understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary.

More information is available at cityofsanctuary.org