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Steps to becoming a School of Sanctuary


Sign the City of Sanctuary organisational pledge to affirm your commitment to the vision of welcome for all in your school and in the UK more widely. This takes less than two minutes and is one of the eight minimum criteria to become a School of Sanctuary.  Whilst the School of Sanctuary award is completely free, we ask that, if possible, your school offers a donation to support the sustainability of the programme. If your schools is able to donate annually this will make a big difference in helping us to plan for the future.


On signing the pledge, you will be contacted in the following weeks to be connected with your Local Lead or main contact. This will be the person who oversees your appraisal process and can offer support and signpost to different opportunities. You should note that different areas manage the appraisal process slightly differently – get in touch plenty of time in advance to learn about the local arrangements. 
You should also register for the School of Sanctuary newsletter, the regular mailing list and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest events and resources.


Review what your school already has in place or has done to date to meet the award criteria (consider using the Schools of Sanctuary self-assessment tool to help you reflect on relevant areas of practice and be inspired by looking at the case studies) and make an action plan using the resource pack and website for inspiration.


Submit an application and supporting evidence portfolio to your Local Lead or Schools of Sanctuary contact*. You can use this application guide to help you and have a look at the example applications on our website. They will follow up to organise an assessment visit or meeting where you should showcase your work and include opportunities for the assessors to discuss SoS with the leadership, pupils and teachers.
Please note: we do not accept spontaneous application submissions. 


Once awarded, share the news on the school website, social media and through local news outlets. Invite local dignitaries to the award celebration and explain why being a School of Sanctuary is important to you. Continue to engage and share your activities in preparation for reaccreditation after three years.

*Please note that in many local areas, Local Leads have established application deadlines to best manage their time. Depending on when you get in touch, you might need to wait until the next deadline to submit your application – we recommend discussing a timeframe for application submission at least a month in advance with your Local Lead.

If there is no Local Lead in your area and your application will be overseen by the CoS UK team, there are two opportunities to submit your application per academic year. Get in touch to learn more.

If you are based in Ireland, please visit the Schools of Sanctuary Ireland website for details of their processes and award scheme.