At Balshaw’s Church of England High School we are proud to be an inclusive community that values diversity, providing outstanding education for all children irrespective of their race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation knowing that they will succeed in our school as each child is unique in God’s eyes. Every child is treated as an individual and given the nurture, care and many forms of support they need pastorally, socially, emotionally and academically to thrive and fulfil their own potential.

Our Christian values and school motto “Non Sibi Sed Allis”: Not for self but for others, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to ensuring that all children in our school are nurtured for their talents, abilities and personalities. We are committed to ensuring that all staff, children and members of our school community understand the struggles and challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers. We aim to welcome families of all backgrounds into our community and provide a place of sanctuary for any families who have had to flee their homes for many different reasons.

It is for this reason we are applying for a 'Schools of Sanctuary' status, as we believe their values encompass our own Gospel Values of Love, Patience, Respect, Tolerance, Forgiveness and Trust in our caring school environment and we want to ensure all of our school community welcome everyone and provide a 'sanctuary' for many.

What is a School of Sanctuary?

Schools of Sanctuary” is an initiative to celebrate the good practice of schools who foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for all, especially asylum seeking and refugee families. The aim is to create a safe environment that includes everybody in a school, regardless of people’s background, ethnicity, faith or gender. Currently there are more than 380 primary and secondary schools all committed to supporting the thousands of young people seeking sanctuary in the UK and raising awareness of the issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers.

Driven by teachers, school staff, parents, governors and community groups, the Schools of Sanctuary network supports the thousands of young people seeking sanctuary in the UK, raising awareness of the issues facing people in the asylum system, challenging misconceptions and building social cohesion. 

Why become a School of Sanctuary?

At Balshaw’s Church of England High School, we are proud to be starting our journey now in working towards becoming an accredited School of Sanctuary. We are committed to 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 and being a safe and welcoming place for those seeking sanctuary. Our broad and balanced curriculum ensures that there are opportunities to learn, understand and act on important topics such as migration, slavery, human rights, diversity, inclusion and refuge.

To achieve the award we are working towards the following criteria: 

  • Learn: Teaching our children, staff and wider school community about what it means to be seeking sanctuary, both in general, and specifically and the issues around forced migration.
  • Embed: committed to embedding concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within the school that benefits all members of our school community. We will take steps to ensure this progress remains sustainable.
  • Share: sharing our vision, our milestones and achievements with the local community and beyond and developing and sharing good practice with other schools

A lot of what we need to do to achieve Sanctuary status is already being done and is a natural part of our school ethos, work and values. In the next year our “Schools of Sanctuary” work will focus on demonstrating and highlighting all that we do in school in order to raise the profile of our work.

Further reading and resources