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School of Sanctuary

At Willow Park, we have achieved School of Sanctuary Status. This involves training and professional development for all staff, promoting and valuing home language use in school, ensuring our newly arrived pupils can access the learning and provision that they need to be successful, developing our New Arrivals policy and embedding our EAL policy across the school, ensuring parents are able to access information and  know where to ask for help and consulting with parents to find out what we could do better.

We encourage children to use their whole language repertoire for learning. Our children discuss lesson content with other speakers of their home language where possible, and translate key vocabulary where appropriate. We have bilingual story books in all our classrooms and we talk to parents about the importance of home language development and their role in it. Many of our staff are bilingual, and we have in-house interpreters who speak Arabic, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Macedonian and Swedish. We also have a team of Young Interpreters who are happy to show new children around the school and support their peers.

Our School Of Sanctuary pledge

We support the ‘City of Sanctuary’ vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. We endorse the City of Sanctuary Charter, and agree to act in accordance with City of Sanctuary values and apply the network principles within our work (as far as our specific context enables us to). We recognise the contribution of refugees and people seeking sanctuary to British society. Sanctuary seekers are welcomed, included and supported within our organisation.

We expect our branches or local groups (if any) to support their local City of Sanctuary group if one exists, and will facilitate contact between them and their local City of Sanctuary group. We are willing for our organisation’s name to be added to a list of supporters of City of Sanctuary, linked to our website. We are also willing to be contacted by City of Sanctuary with further ideas for how we can turn our support into practical action and to discuss ways we might work together to promote the vision further.