Academy awarded school of sanctuary status

The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) has been celebrated for its diligent efforts to offer a safe haven for pupils- including refugees and asylum seekers.

The Academy, where pupils speak 40 different languages, has become the first secondary school in the city to be  awarded School of Sanctuary status.

A school of sanctuary is a school that is committed to providing a safe space for those seeking sanctuary. This can be those whose lives were in danger in their own country, students with troubles at home or anyone just looking for a space to feel safe.

ASFA is dedicated to creating awareness of the refugee crisis and helping pupils to understand why people become refugees and why refugees and asylum seekers need protection.

The Academy is not just a sanctuary to refugees, but to any pupils who have troubles at home or are just looking for a place to feel safe.

New pupils seeking sanctuary are welcomed to the school through a tailored induction process where they are provided with PE kits and uniforms and assigned to a common language buddy.

Staff and students are provided with language acquisition support in order to help with the transition.

Many efforts have been put into place to ensure that all pupils are made to feel part of the school community and the school prides itself on its links with Alder Hey, Asylum Link and its ongoing work with the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS).

This term, Arabic and Polish classes were added to the school’s enrichment programme and these languages are also available to be taken as GCSE subjects.

Serena Cubbin, deputy head of school, says: “At St. Francis of Assisi, we are dedicated to living out our Christian mission, providing high quality education to all of our students and this begins with creating a safe space for all.

“To be recognised as a School of Sanctuary is testament to the Academy’s inclusive environment where all students are made to feel welcome regardless of their background.”