What is a Further Education College of Sanctuary?
Colleges are the first places young people seeking safety land on arriving in a new place and have a tangible impact on their current experiences and future journeys. As central institutions in a community, they are also well placed to make a difference locally and raise awareness. As centres of learning they can lead by example, offer support and education to people seeking sanctuary, and contribute to a culture of welcome in their town or city.
An FE College of Sanctuary is…
- a college that works hard to ease and enable access to and progression in education for those who have been forced to flee
- a college that recognises how students seeking sanctuary enrich their communities by bringing new skills, knowledges and more to their college campus
- a college that is committed to fostering a culture of safety, respect, understanding and belonging for newly arrived students on campus
- a college that educates the whole college community about the experiences and realities of people who have been forced to flee to foster empathy and understanding
- a college that plays an active role in building a culture of welcome by connecting with and supporting local refugee organisations, collaborating with other institutions to raise awareness and advocate for a kinder approach towards those seeking safety.
Please note: for our purposes, our Colleges of Sanctuary Stream refers to Further Education (FE) Colleges due to the specific complexities of post-19 education for people seeking sanctuary. Sixth form colleges would be under Schools of Sanctuary.
Why become a College of Sanctuary?
Becoming an FE College of Sanctuary is a way to recognise and celebrate all the ways your college goes above and beyond to welcome and support new arrivals and build a culture of welcome. It is also a tool to help your college critically review its provision and practice, build staff expertise and further refine and improve the way in which your college supports new arrivals.
Becoming a College of Sanctuary brings a wealth of benefits to an institution, its students, staff and the local community.
Some of these include:
- Establishing a culture of welcome, safety and respect for people seeking sanctuary has a positive impact on the experiences of other members of the college community
- Building professional expertise amongst staff to better understand the experiences of people seeking safety and meet the needs of students seeking safety
- Proactively recognising and valuing the ways in which students seeking sanctuary enhance your college
- Overcoming common barriers and challenges to equal opportunities to ensure students seeking safety have opportunities to access and progress in education
- Being a part of and networking with a dynamic group of colleges working to improve the culture of sanctuary in education and in society generally and with whom you can share practice, ideas and resources
- Establishing relationships and collaborations with other organisations, institutions and people working with people seeking safety in your local area and beyond
- Participating in an inspiring and meaningful movement of welcome across the UK that works to promote a kinder and more compassionate approach towards people seeking sanctuary
- The notion of sanctuary fits with the values and strategic plans of most colleges; it contributes towards progress in inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.
- Taking a practical, public step towards inclusion, and countering discourses of xenophobia and racism both within and outside college life.
- Creating a campus which is more inclusive and diverse and empathetic.