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Sanctuary over the holidays

Halesowen College has been worked with the City of Sanctuary networks since 2017 and were first awarded as an FE College of Sanctuary in December 2019: only the second college in the country at the time to achieve this award.  Halesowen College were successfully re-accredited in July 2023. Most recently,  Halesowen College has been working to further develop their wrap around care for students seeking sanctuary – even in the holidays.

Halesowen College has long had a range of enrichment groups including Chess, Warhammer, Craft and Lego groups, open to all college students. Increasingly these groups are becoming popular amongst ESOL students, many of whom are refugees or seeking asylum. These groups act as meaningful opportunities for students to connect with students across the college, whilst offer ESOL students the time to practice their English in an authentic and fun way. There are also additional activities including ESOL Reading Buddies, ESOL Football and Ramadan Football tournament. 

Last year, Halesowen College decided to expand this wrap around provision to the holidays too. In August, they ran a 4-week ESOL Summer Programme which included a variety of activities including Sport, Craft, Cooking on a Budget, Careers/employability sessions and time in the Animal Care Unit. Students were provided with a day travel pass so they could get to college and lunch was offered each day they were on site.  20 ESOL students attended the ESOL Summer Programme, and they were celebrated with an award ceremony during the final session, attended by the College Principal and Chair of Governors. 

Halesowen repeated the holiday programme for these students at the end of the first term and students were invited in on 28th December and 4th January to take part in activities. College staff volunteered to support these events.

Staff at Halesowen believe college should be a place where every student feels safe – and this is often particularly important in the holidays for students seeking sanctuary. They look forward to continuing their holiday activities in 2024.