Our School of Sanctuary

Reverse Advent Calendar for Hearts4Refugees
For Advent we are again supporting local refugees with our Reverse Advent Calendar. This will run during the week of 6th December.
Interfaith Week 2021
We had a wonderful celebration of different faiths during Interfaith Week 2021. As part of thinking about COP26 the children made pledges to help the environment and considered how we can work with all faiths to reach our goals. 
As part of a family challenge, many children designed Interfaith Badges promoting faiths working together to combat climate change. Some of our designs were part of an exhibition at Birkenhead Central Library and one design came first place.
We had a wonderful Interfaith Worship which gave us the opportunity to hear stories from other faiths. We are grateful to Piara at the Wirral Deen Centre for helping with this worship.
Continuing our work as a School of Sanctuary 2021/22.
During 2021 and into 2022 we hope to build on what we have achieved. 
In October 2021, as part of our Harvest Festival we collected colouring equipment for local refugees at Hearts 4 Refugees.
We are working closely with Wirral Deen Centre to promote faiths working together to combat climate change. For Interfaith Week 2021 we are taking part in an Interfaith Pledge Display at Birkenhead Library, producing posters and running an Interfaith Badge Competition. Our entries will be judged by some special guests at the Wirral Deen Centre.
What is a School of Sanctuary?
We became a School of Sanctuary in July 2021. At St Andrew's we are proud to be living out our school vision to make our school a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. 
The definition of a School of Sanctuary is given below (taken from the School of Sanctuary website) 

A School of Sanctuary:

  • Is a place that fosters a culture of welcome and safety for people seeking sanctuary, including asylum seeking and refugee families.

  • Educates the whole school community about the human right to sanctuary and identifies practical means for schools to demonstrate that commitment.

  • Builds empathy and intercultural awareness through promoting the voices and contributions of people seeking sanctuary, encouraging an understanding of the experiences of displaced people and helping to combat stereotypes.

As part of our school vision we try hard to bear the Fruit of the Spirit  and do good work so we are pleasing the Lord. Our work towards the School of Sanctuary award means we are showing many of the Fruit of the Spirit and using them to help others.
In 2020/21 we have worked hard to do the following:
Raise awareness of Interfaith relationships.
  • We held our Interfaith Week in November 2020
  • All families were invited to create and Interfaith Welcome Poster and the contributions were amazing. Watch out for these posters appearing around school.
  • Each class contributed some handkerchiefs to our 'Handkerchief of Hope Project' The handkerchiefs when placed together became our whole school welcome banner. Our banner welcomes everyone from any faith or no faith at all and reminds us we are all different, all equal.
  • We have built links with the Wirral Deen Centre.
Raise awareness of the difficult journeys refugees and asylum seekers experience
  • Our pupils found out about what a refugee or asylum seeker is and about some of the ways we can be welcoming to those who are new to our school, Bebington, Wirral and beyond.
  • We built relationships with Heart4Refugees (a local charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Hoylake)
  • Our Reverse Advent Calendar helped us to be compassionate and collect food and toiletry items for the refugees and asylum seekers staying in Hoylake. Our school family were so generous.
  • We considered what we would take with us if we had to leave our homes suddenly, to escape danger.
  • Each class created a Christmas Care Bag to bring joy at Christmas. Each bag contained letters, messages, Christmas cards, a calendar and other items.
Our next steps:
  • Take part in Refugee week in June 2021
  • Find out more about our families and share some of the things we love about our differences.
  • Create welcome packs in our classes to welcome anybody who is new.
We had a collective worship to think about what a School of Sanctuary is. Everyone considered what their place of sanctuary is and what we would need to do to make our school a place of sanctuary for anyone who needs it. Children in Y6 helped to lead the worship and shared their ideas about the meaning of the School of Sanctuary logo, as well as some story characters who can help us understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary such as Paddington Bear and the Three Little Pigs.
All the children had time to reflect on the worship with their teachers. We considered what it means for our school to become a School of Sanctuary.
For Refugee Week 2021 we thought about the words of Martin Luther King "We Cannot Walk Alone". In our classes we are made Welcome Packs to welcome anyone to our class and show them we are friendly and kind.
We collected toiletries and food for the local refugee charity Hearts 4 Refugees as well as working with the Wirral Deen Centre to collect for some of the refugees within their community in Birkenhead.
Each class made a piece of art work to be used at St Peter's in Rock Ferry, which is the new base for Hearts 4 Refugees , to create an environment of sanctuary and welcome for any refugees using the services provided.
Year Six, Five and Four had the opportunity to meet some refugees, hear their stories and ask questions. This was a very special experience for our children and we were so glad to be able to hear about the experiences of refugees and reflect on their journeys.
Our worship during Refugee Week focused on courage and how we can all take comfort in the fact God is with us. We will be focusing on this Bible verse from Joshua,
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord
your God is with you wherever you go.”
We had a special reflection walk on Friday enabling all of our school community to write a postcard reflecting on Refugee Week. As we walked, songs chosen by the children will be played. These songs make us feel safe, happy, or welcome.
Just some of the art heading to St Peter's in Rock Ferry, to make refugees feel welcome as they use the facilities provided by Hearts4 Refugees.
A small sample of some of our Welcome Packs
Our Reflection Walk
"We Cannot Walk Alone"
Helping local refugees...
We collected toiletries and food items for Hearts 4 Refugees and the Wirral Deen Centre during Refugee Week.  The generosity of our school community was overwhelming.
In a week when we are thinking about extending the hand of friendship and walking together, Mrs Clark was really pleased to pop in to the Wirral Deen Centre on Tuesday 15th June to present some art work from our school. The Wirral Deen Centre were hosting a lunch for local refugees supported by local charities. 
The art work presented was created with contributions from our children as they learnt about Islam during the school closures. They looked at Islamic art and used what they learnt to inspire their own tile. This art will now be placed in the Wirral Deen Centre and reminds us all of the special links we have with our Muslim friends.
As part of our work to become a School of Sanctuary, we wanted to learn more about our families. Our Global Connections Questionnaire enabled families to share with us information about their connections around the world. It was really interesting and exciting to find out about languages which are spoken in our families, special celebrations, recipes from different cultures and some of the important links we have to the rest of the world.
As part of Refugee Week, we wanted to share some of the information with a special display. The focus for Refugee Week is "We cannot walk alone." Our families are very important and we wanted to celebrate togetherness. Even though some of our family members are far away, we  know we are never alone.
Families were invited to send a photograph to be added to our world map showing our connections around the world.