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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.

Ready to get started?

Sign the pledge and become an FE College of Sanctuary