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Six newly awarded Schools of Sanctuary in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry (with four more possible schools in early September)

The Schools of Sanctuary programme is an award scheme being piloted in the Urban Villages areas of Belfast and Derry/ Londonderry with support from the Northern Ireland Executive’s Urban Villages Initiative, the Belfast City of Sanctuary Group and the Education Authority’s Intercultural Education Service areas. So popular and valued this scheme has become that some new schools awarded are now beyond Urban Village Initiative areas.
Working with the wonderful Intercultural Service of the Education Authority is always such a pleasure. This year has been particularly challenging for EA and for the schools. Usually schools would have 8 months to prepare for an inspection by teams of monitors from Belfast City of Sanctuary, but due to Covid 19, schools had a very short time in which to ensure that they complied with the strict criteria for the award. Another four schools are currently working towards presenting their portfolios which show various aspects of a school and that each one is a welcoming place for pupils and their families, where every child feels safe, where they are fully accepted and included. These schools become beacons in the community as places where cultural diversity is valued and celebrated.
The schools which have so far been awarded School of Sanctuary are –
Ashfield Boys’ High School
Botanic Primary School
Wheatfield Primary School
Dundonald Primary School
Euston Street Primary School
and in Derry/Londonderry –
Holy Child Primary School
There are now 48 Schools of Sanctuary in Northern Ireland, mostly in Belfast.
There will be an award celebration in Belfast City Hall during Good Relations Week. Last year, we had to resign ourselves to an award celebration via Webinar; we hope that we can all be present for the presentation of awards in Belfast City Hall.