Bradford Schools of Sanctuary (SoS) is part of the fast-growing, national stream of Schools of Sanctuary. If you want to know more, contact the project development worker, Mary Blacka. Telephone: 07415 307389; E-mail: [email protected].

The project is endorsed by the University of Bradford, School of Health Studies.  In 2017/18 Schools of Sanctuary is funded by the Evan Cornish Foundation and via Bradford City Council, the Controlling Migration Fund.

SoS is an awareness-raising project.  We aim to work with schools to increase understanding of why people become refugees, the realities of life as an asylum seeker or refugee and the contributions which new migrants make to the local community.  All Bradford schools – with or without students from asylum seeker / refugee backgrounds – are welcome to join the project.


Students from Oasis Academy Lister Park with the School of Sanctuary certificate

Students from Oasis Academy Lister Park with the School of Sanctuary certificate


School of Sanctuary award for Horton Park Primary School.

Horton Park Primary School received the School of Sanctuary award at the launch of Refugee Week, June 2017.

The evidence portfolio for the award was – unusually – organised by year groups, clearly showing how children, from Reception upwards, progress towards a good understanding of asylum and refugee issues in Year 6.  There were some very imaginative approaches to embedding these issues in the curriculum.

Congratulations, Horton Park!


Though there are other ways to contribute to the project, eg making donations in cash or in-kind, submitting work to the art exhibition or taking part in other Refugee Week activities, some schools may be interested in working towards the Schools of Sanctuary award.

Schools of Sanctuary agree:

  1. To learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary and about the lives of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.
  2. To embed this knowledge and understanding in the curriculum and the daily life of the school.
  3. To share this new knowledge with the school’s wider community.

To gain the School of Sanctuary award, schools need to compile a portfolio of evidence. Whilst there are some simple criteria for the evidence, we recognise that schools will approach this work in their own way. Each portfolio will be different.   Becoming a School of Sanctuary should be a sustainable, whole school effort and as far as possible, should be student-led.

We know that Bradford schools are striving to be welcoming and safe places. The award of School of Sanctuary will recognise and reward this good practice.

Support for schools

Schools working towards the award have support from the the Bradford City of Sanctuary Schools Development Worker and input from the Zephaniah Trust and the British Red Cross.

Zephaniah Trust

Refugee Voices performance

Refugee Voices performance

Refugee Voices is a drama/storytelling project, suitable for students from Year 5 upwards. A professional storyteller works with a group of 10-12 students for a week, to prepare a performance, based on refugees’ stories, told in their own words. Alternatively sessions could be held as an after school club for five weeks.  The work culminates in a performance to other students, teachers, or parents, as arranged with the school.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross, offers up to six two-hour, free sessions on its Anti-Stigma around Migration Programme, for upper juniors and secondary students.  The Youth Education Co-ordinator for West Yorkshire is Abigail Roach.  You can contact her on [email protected].  First Aid training is also available free.


You can find useful resources on the schools page of this web site.  They include the 40 page, illustrated, national School of Sanctuary resource pack .  For a menu of possible activities which can count towards the award please click here Examples of actions.  There is a Book list – mostly fiction – for Early Years to adults.

Bradford Schools and the School of Sanctuary award

Seven schools in Bradford hold the School of Sanctuary award.  They are Carlton Bolling College, Dixons City Academy, Grange Technology College, Horton Grange Primary School, Horton Park Primary School, Oasis Academy Lister Park and St Cuthbert & the First Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School.  More schools will be joining us soon.

All schools in the Bradford district, whatever their form of governance, or location, are invited to join the project.  We really welcome engagement by schools which do not have an ethnically diverse student body.

More information from Mary Blacka on [email protected]