Pupils have spent this last week immersed in activities linked to Refugee Week, learning about the upcoming ‘Walk With Amal’, raising money through a sponsored walk and deepening their understanding of the issues.
The overarching theme for our week is ‘Welcome the Stranger’. This week coincides with our school ‘Parish Week’ where we focus on what it means for our children to be part of a wider Parish and global community, and the roles and responsibilities that come with that.
Each class took part in their own sponsored walk around our school/church grounds. We have collectively covered the distance from Calais to Erdington, to give the children a sense of a journey that the children can hopefully relate to. We asked for Sponsorship, in aid of Refugee Action, and have raised just short of £300. The children also made banners displaying the theme of ‘Welcome’ and ‘Walk with me’ that they carried as they walked.
We had a fantastic visit from Vanwy Arif, a local poet, who led a session with children as part of a competition. Children from across KS2 wrote some really thought provoking and compassionate poems.
We have also linked the week to the theme of vocations. Deacon Owen, from the vocations office, spent time talking to each class. For us it is really important that our children value the role of ‘service to others’ and are encouraged to be active participants in society, as social activists and to give a voice to the marginalised.
Additionally, some classes created artwork linked to the 36,000 humans project, which we feel is really important – our children appreciate that these statistics are people with hopes, dreams and valuable lives, and it is an outrage that people are having to risk their lives to seek refuge.
Our Chaplaincy Team had a fabulous session with Steph and Temitayo from Stories of Hope and Home. This team of children have all then shared this with their classes and children have created orange hearts that we shall be sending to our Home Secretary, telling her #WhoWeAre and asking her to #LiftTheBan. The children thought really deeply about their values, and how the current legislation does not reflect this!
Our week concluded with each class taking part in a prayer service exploring the themes of the week and allow children time to reflect on all they have learned throughout the week, and to pray that by working together we can create a safe and welcoming community.
Our local arts and faith groups came together in a local café on Friday evening to share poetry and music and dance. We had planned to take part but unfortunately, due to restrictions we were not able to take part in person, however some of our poetry was shared at the online event.
Finally, we are really delighted that we have been officially awarded ‘School of Sanctuary’ status – but this is not the end of our journey!