School of Sanctuary Award

We are delighted to announce that Abbey Grange has been awarded the prestigious School of Sanctuary status. This recognition is given to schools that foster a culture of welcome and safety for people seeking sanctuary, including asylum seekers and refugee families. A School of Sanctuary educates the entire school community about the experiences and realities of those who have been forced to flee their homes, thereby fostering empathy and understanding. Furthermore, such schools play an active role in building a welcoming culture.

The inspection team that visited Abbey Grange described their visit as "a really special time" and felt privileged to hear directly from the students. Their feedback highlighted several key aspects: "student-led assemblies are inspiring," and "culture day is bold, brave, joyful, inspiring, and wonderful." The team also recognised that Abbey Grange has several experts by experience within their community who are warmly welcomed and supported. They were particularly impressed by students who are intentional welcomers and those who volunteer with sanctuary seekers in Leeds.

One student's experience of joining Abbey Grange captures the essence of our welcoming culture:

“I came to the UK five months ago from Zimbabwe. When I first came, I spent some time in the Hub with Miss Ayed. I passed all of my tests! On my first day at school, everyone greeted me, and I attended all my lessons with Angelos for two weeks. He was really kind, helpful, and friendly. I then met some other friends in my classes, and they introduced me to my teachers. I feel really welcomed here and spent lots of time in the Galeena with Miss Pickles, trying to catch up with the other students. Now, I am just like a normal student. I hope to stay at Abbey Grange for 6th form. I thank everyone for welcoming me.” - Kudzai, Year 11.

Abbey Grange Academy also had the honour of hosting Rev'd Dr Inderjit Bhogal OBE, the founder of the City of Sanctuary movement for an afternoon. Dr Bhogal, who has dedicated his life to building cultures of welcome, hospitality, and safety for all, shared his own experiences of seeking sanctuary with our students and emphasised the importance of hospitality over hostility - a message we aim to instil in all of our students.

We are thrilled that the warm and inclusive environment at Abbey Grange has been formally recognised. We look forward to continuing our journey as a School of Sanctuary.

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