Swindon City of Sanctuary celebrates success of its first School of Sanctuary Award

By Jessica Durston - 19 January 2023

CharityEducation

Local charity, Swindon City of Sanctuary, is thrilled to be celebrating the success of its first school to be joining the UK’s Schools of Sanctuary Network.

The charity, which is part of the national City of Sanctuary movement, says it seeks to build a culture of welcome, inclusion and safety for all in Swindon, especially people seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.
 
Through the national scheme of Sanctuary Awards, Swindon City of Sanctuary aims to bring people and organisations together, raises awareness of issues facing people seeking sanctuary, to challenge misconceptions and celebrate Swindon’s cultural diversity.

At the end of last November, the charity announced Peatmoor Primary School as Swindon’s first nationally accredited School of Sanctuary.

Swindon Borough Council’s Director of Education, Annette Perrington, said: “It is very exciting to be able to announce that Peatmoor Primary School has been awarded the School of Sanctuary Award.”

To gain the award, staff and young people at Peatmoor Primary - who now join a growing network of almost 400 Schools and Colleges of Sanctuary across the UK - had to show good practice in developing and embedding a culture of welcome and inclusion throughout the life of the school and in the curriculum.

The school’s application was then reviewed by a panel of Swindon City of Sanctuary’s trustees and volunteers, and a representative from City of Sanctuary UK.

City of Sanctuary UK Regional Coordinator South-west and North-west, Maryam Taher, said: “I am so pleased to congratulate you all on being the first School of Sanctuary in Swindon and joining the national School of Sanctuary Network. This is a fantastic achievement that has never been more important.”

Peatmoor Primary School’s Headteacher, Mrs Libby Matthews, said: “We are so proud of this award, which recognises the welcome that Peatmoor extends to all.

“The welcome anyone receives at Peatmoor comes from all our pupils and staff, and is very much embedded throughout all that happens. Thank you to Mrs Adams and Mrs Williams, who not only champion and lead on this aspect of school life, but who also gathered together all the evidence

needed which they presented to the panel along with Miss Fishlock and the Year 5 and Year 6 children on our recently formed Welcoming Committee.”

Trustee and Swindon City of Sanctuary’s Volunteer Schools of Sanctuary Lead, Cristina Bennett, added: “Meeting the members of the Welcoming Committee and hearing them express such passion and commitment to the importance of fairness, inclusion and welcome was an absolute pleasure.

“They are clear role models for future School of Sanctuary Ambassadors in other schools in Swindon.”

Peatmoor Primary School will be formally presented with their School of Sanctuary Award at a special assembly at the school on 24 January.

24 January is also the International Day of Education – one of the dates said to be highlighted for celebration on Swindon City of Sanctuary’s soon-to-be launched Year of Welcome calendar.

More about Swindon City of Sanctuary can be found online at https://swindon.cityofsanctuary.org/

More information about Peatmoor Primary School can be found at https://www.peatmoor.org.uk/swindon/primary/peatmoor

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