Bede Academy has joined a network of schools across the UK playing an active role in supporting young people from overseas, creating a culture of welcome and inclusion and raising awareness of the issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers.
The academy, part of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, has received a School of Sanctuary Award as part of its School of Sanctuary status.
It recognises the Academy, a school with a Christian ethos that accepts students and staff of all faiths and none, is also a place that seeks to educate the whole school community about the human right to sanctuary and takes practical steps to offer it.
Principal Andrew Thelwell said: “We are very encouraged that Bede Academy has been recognised as a School of Sanctuary and the work we do to not only support those students who come to us as refugees or asylum seekers, but also how the whole ethos of school is one of inclusion and education on the issues affecting these young people.
“The academy seeks to build empathy and intercultural awareness through promoting the voices and contributions of people seeking sanctuary, encourages understanding and helps combat stereotyping.
"All of this is summed up in Jesus’ commandment to ‘love your neighbour’ as we live out our Christian ethos and demonstrate that we want all members of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation to be valued, challenged and inspired.”
The Academy has also been recognised for its arts curriculum in earning a gold Artsmark, the creative quality standard for schools, accredited by Arts Council England.
Adjudicators said of Bede: “It is impressive that, despite the inevitable difficulties created by the pandemic, you have developed your arts provision and pedagogy.
"You have used your partnerships with arts organisations well to provide continual professional development for staff.
"You have recognised the importance of student voice and it is good to see that this has helped to shape curriculum planning.”
Mr Thelwell added: “I congratulate all members of our pastoral and welfare teams, and also all staff involved in creative arts at the academy, for their leadership and work that has rightly been recognised in these two awards.”