Matt Tehan, the Head of St Chad’s Catholic Primary School in Birmingham, was the first person to respond in 2014 when we sent letters out to local schools about becoming a School of Sanctuary. Their activities already fulfilled many of the criteria for the award, including supporting many of their Eritrean families, and they added to this by taking part in drama workshops about “Refugee Boy” with Birmingham Rep and inviting speakers into the school. Their Sanctuary Award was presented in July 2014, and today we were delighted to present them with an updated award to acknowledge their ongoing commitment over the past five years to supporting asylum-seekers and refugees in many ways, including through their involvement with the welcome centre run jointly by St Chad’s Catholic Cathedral and the Salvation Army, by getting involved with Refugee Council campaigns, and being included in a graphic book about a Syrian family.
For over a year they were the only School of Sanctuary in Birmingham but they used their connections to encourage other Catholic primary schools to become involved in our network. Their local cluster has just re-vamped its curriculum, and this term’s focus is “The Dignity of the Human Being” – an obvious area to include thinking about refugees and everybody who is seeking a place of safety.