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Things are changing at Schools of Sanctuary…

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been delighted to see ever increasing interest in the role schools can play in building a culture of welcome and more schools than ever join our network.

We currently have 422 awarded Schools of Sanctuary and more than 400 new schools who are working towards the award. At City of Sanctuary UK, we have now accredited, trained and continue to support a network of 54 Local Leads across the UK whilst also working directly with more than 90 schools in areas beyond the areas of these Local Leads. 

This has been an exciting time – but challenging. 

At City of Sanctuary UK, the small charity overseeing the Schools of Sanctuary programme, we have only one full-time Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator (that’s me!). Our current capacity simply can’t keep up with the level of interest and enquiries and sustain all the meetings, training, resources and events we currently offer. 

We remain committed to working with every school interested in promoting sanctuary values, but we need to change the way we work to ensure applying schools receive the support and communication they need and that our award appraisal processes are clear and remain suitably rigorous and meaningful.

We have therefore decided to no longer accept applications from new schools in areas without Local Leads.

We now have Local Leads in over 50 parts of the UK, so there is still a good chance you can move forward – see our list of Local Lead areas here. We are also able to still accept applications from schools in areas without a Local Lead in Wales and Scotland.

If your school is not in one of these areas there are still loads of ways to stay part of our network. All of our resources and events are free and remain accessible to all – so please keep in the loop. By signing the pledge and joining our network we will also let you know if we onboard a new Local Lead in your area.

Want to become a School of Sanctuary in the future?

  1. Sign a supporting organisation pledge to join our network and so we can note interest in your area – this will help us target potential Local Lead partners where there is interest
  2. Review our website to learn more about the process, criteria and see supporting resources to help you plan ahead.
  3. Subscribe to the Schools of Sanctuary Newsletter to keep in the loop about the new application process, current events and opportunities and the latest news. Whilst you may not be able to be awarded as a School of Sanctuary, you can still get involved with all of our events, use our resources and connect with colleagues across the sector – all of which will strengthen your application if/when you submit!

If you are a school in a no Local Lead area that has already signed the pledge* and is working towards – don’t worry! We will continue to support you through this process as we transition to the new model. Have a look at our upcoming application deadlines.

Unlike most award schemes for schools, we are committed to keeping the School of Sanctuary award and all of the supporting resources, webinars and unique opportunities completely free but we need YOUR support to keep going. 

We need every school in our network, (awarded, working towards and even those just using our resources) to chip in and help us safeguard the future of the Schools of Sanctuary programme. Please donate or develop fundraising efforts so that we can continue to support and grow our network of schools that prioritise safety, understanding and kindness for all, especially those forced to flee.

In the meantime, thank you all for your patience, understanding and ongoing support for the Schools of Sanctuary work.

Warm wishes,


Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator

*We will continue to support schools in no Local Lead areas that signed the supporting organisation pledge before the 9th February 2024.