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 Intercultural Education Service of the Education Authority.
Belfast City of Sanctuary has again this academic year 2018/2019 been working closely with the Education Authority of Northern Ireland to support the next phase of the Schools of Sanctuary program. One crucial part of the preparation was the training of appraisal teams comprising a mix of refugees, asylum seekers and local Belfast COS supporters, who having examined information provided by each of the schools, then conducted monitoring visits to the schools for the purpose of the award of School of Sanctuary status.
It’s been a wonderful experience for our teams in Belfast who have this year (2018/19) awarded the School of Sanctuary Award to 13 new schools, 10 in Belfast and the remaining 3 in Derry/Londonderry. In June 2017, Blythefield Primary School became the first School of Sanctuary in Belfast, and provided great encouragement for those new schools starting the process to become Schools of Sanctuary in 2017/2018 academic year.
The total number of Schools of Sanctuary now stands at 26.
All the following schools are within the areas covered by Northern Ireland Executive’s Urban Villages Initiative
Blythefield Primary School
Malone Integrated College
Donegall Road Primary School
Elmgrove Primary School
Holy Evangelists’ Primary School
St Kieran’s Primary School
Christ the Redeemer Primary School
G00d Shepherd Primary School
Holy Cross Girls Primary School
Sacred Heart Boys Primary School
Fane Street Primary School
St Matthew’s Primary School
Mercy Primary School
St Malachy’s Primary School
Holy Cross Boys’ Primary School
Scoil na Fuiseoige
Belfast Boys Model School
Our Lady’s Girls’ Primary School
Ligoniel Primary School
Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin
And in Derry/Londonderry
Nazareth House Primary School
St Cecilia’s College
Fountain Primary School
Long Tower Primary School
Our teams have experienced a friendly welcome, warmth and hospitality and a spirit of inclusion within the school environment of each of these schools. A common idea that was shared by all these schools was that diversity is something to be proud of and that this type of open-mindedness and inclusive learning will equip children not only for their school years but also beyond the school environment. You can access the route to becoming a School of Sanctuary, see