School of Sanctuary
Our school is a safe and welcoming place for everyone, and we are very proud to have been recognised as a School of Sanctuary. We are committed to helping our students, staff and wider school community to understanding what it means to be seeking sanctuary and to extend a welcome to everyone as equal, valued members of our community.
What is a School of Sanctuary?
Schools of Sanctuary is part of a national City of Sanctuary movement (of which Norwich is a part of) that holds the vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and a place that is proud to offer sanctuary to asylum seekers and refugees that are fleeing violence and persecution.
The School of Sanctuary initiative celebrates the good practice of schools that welcome sanctuary seekers into their communities and that are committed to fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all. Hellesdon High School has been part of the Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary network since 2018, and there are over 300 Schools of Sanctuary in the UK & Ireland.
- To create a culture of welcome for everyone, and to foster a sense of empathy amongst all members of our school community, towards those seeking sanctuary.
- To promote the voices and to celebrate the contributions that seeking sanctuary have made to our society.
- To build understanding of refugee migration and of the experiences of displaced people, in order to help combat stereotypes relating to refugees and asylum seekers.
SoS Projects & Events
Refugee Week & A Day of Welcome
Every June, our school community comes together to celebrate Refugee Week and Norfolk's own solidarity event A Day of Welcome. In addition to specially themed learning resources, students and staff participate in a variety of events - in the past, these have included: non-school uniform days, special film screenings, art workshops, music concerts, bake sales and special assemblies.
Year 10 Performance at the Norwich City of Sanctuary's Annual Celebration
Year 10 Drama students performed a moving piece of performance art, which told the story of a refugee's difficult journey from Syria to Journey for Remembrance Assembly in 2019. A recording of their rehearsals was shown to the Norwich City of Sanctuary team, and the students were subsequently asked to perform at the Annual Celebration at the Norwich Arts Centre. Click here to read more about this project.
Student Welcome Video
A Level Sixth Form students worked together with Key Stage 3 Language students to record, edit and produce a short video, to celebrate receiving our School of Sanctuary award in 2019. The film features a number of students sharing our message of 'Welcome' in various languages, and can be found at the top of this page, or by clicking here.
Norfolk Welcomes - A Patchwork of Strangers
In 2019, Year 9 Textiles students were involved in a collaborative art project with Avenue Junior School. Students worked with fabrics and materials to design and create individual squares that were inspired by stories of refuge and sanctuary, shared by two guest speakers. The squares came together to form a wonderful, large-scale wall hanging that went on to be exhibited in various locations across the city, including Cinema City Norwich, The Octagon Chapel and the University of East Anglia.
The project was filmed by school staff and a short film was produced, in collaboration with BBC Voices, to help us share the creative process with the wider community. You can watch the short-film here.
Our school community participates in a variety of fundraising events, to help raise money for local teams that support refugees and asylum seekers in Norwich. In the past these have included:
- In 2017, the whole school participated in a Sponsored Walk at Blickling Hall, which raised £1,400 for the Bishop of Norwich's Refugee Appeal.
- Annual Bake Sales and other fundraising events during Refugee Week have helped to raise money for vital items, such as mattresses, for Syrian families resettling in Norwich.
- A Winter Clothes Appeal, run by the British Red Cross, in which students and staff contributed 4 large bags full of winter clothing items.
- Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary website - find out more about our county's network of schools, explore learning resources, and find out what schools in Norfolk are doing to share our message of welcome.
- Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary on Twitter - Follow @NorwichSOS on twitter and keep up to date with our network's latest events and announcements.
- Norwich City of Sanctuary website - learn about the wider City of Sanctuary movement in Norwich, and all the other streams that sit alongside Schools of Sanctuary (e.g. Cafes of Sanctuary, the City of Sanctuary Arts Stream, Universities of Sanctuary etc...)
- UNHCR Stats - check out the latest data gathered on global refugee migration.