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LAUNCH: NEW FE College of Sanctuary Package of Support

This academic year we have been delighted by the level of interest in the FE College of Sanctuary Programme and Award Scheme and inspired by the efforts and activities of the colleges that have applied.

Since formally launching the FE College of Sanctuary award in 2021, our network has grown to more than 25 awarded FE Colleges with another 20 more colleges currently working towards the award.

During this time we have seen significant challenges and opportunities in the sector: whilst more colleges than ever are welcoming students seeking sanctuary into their communities, colleges face limited funding for ESOL provision, confusing guidance on acceptable documentation for students from forced migration backgrounds, and the pressure to step up and support students facing the threat of cruel immigration policies. Despite these challenges, students seeking sanctuary continue to emphasize the importance of FE colleges for their sense of safety, wellbeing and ability to achieve their future goals.

More widely, hostile rhetoric and attitudes towards people seeking safety continue to be widespread and volatile and as an influential institution in our communities, FE Colleges of Sanctuary can play a pivotal role in shaping the way students, staff but also their wider local communities receive and welcome new arrivals.

As we enter the third year of the award, feedback from colleges, partners and students have highlighted the need to develop a more comprehensive and clarified support package for applicant colleges. In doing so, we aim to better support applicant colleges to focus on the impact of the award process on staff, students and their community whilst facilitating access to carefully tailored advice and bespoke resources. We hope for this to enhance a college’s journey towards the award and the overall value of their engagement in the FE College of Sanctuary Network.

To sustain this package and to reflect recent inflation, we have raised the cost of the award to £600 for the 3 year duration (£200 per year). This fee is per college – we expect individual colleges within College Groups/Partnerships to submit payment for each institution under review. Whilst we can accept combined applications (please get in touch to discuss further) we expect to see activities and information across each individual institution/setting in line with our place-based approach.

NEW Applicant Package of Support

What is on offer?

  • Initial 1:1 meeting to support with audit and action planning
  • Written draft application feedback
  • Pre-application 1:1 advice meeting
  • Access to 2024/25 Applicant Padlet of Resources, Signposting, Case Studies and Advice
  • Regular contact and communication with expert FE College of Sanctuary Lead
  • Connections to other applicant/ awarded FE Colleges to exchange practice and expertise
  • Connections to local third-sector or sanctuary-connected organisations/institutions (where possible) to build collaborative relationships, share insight and pool resources.

What are the application timelines for 2024/25?

  • Mid-September: Confirm intention to submit application
  • Early October: Initial 1:1
  • Early January: Draft application
  • Late January: Draft feedback and Pre-Application 1:1
  • Late February: Final application
  • March: Receive Application Feedback
  • Late April/Early May: Appraisal Visits/ Meetings 
  • May: Application Decision. If successful, transfer award fee and complete award survey. On receipt, you can announce your award and we will help you plan an award celebration

FE College of Sanctuary Network

In addition to the applicant package of support, for free any FE College in our networks can enjoy the benefit of:

  • Regular online network meetings to share practice and exchange on current issues
  • Half-termly (6 pa) newsletters sharing the latest opportunities, case studies, news and more
  • An extensive website with case studies, news, resources and more
  • Access to our audit tool and resource pack

What should you do now?

Now is also a good point in the year to

  1. Work with a sanctuary committee to audit your current provision and practice and identify areas for improvement.
  2. If your College/Group does not have a sanctuary committee established, consider how you might establish one, or add this work to an existing college management working group. Make sure to involve students with lived experience of forced migration, where possible.
  3. Review your website to ensure it has clear and accurate information targeted at the support and opportunities available for students seeking sanctuary. See our template here.

Any questions? Get in touch!

We look forward to seeing even more inspiring efforts in the new academic year and working as a network to improve access to further education for people seeking sanctuary and their experiences in college.