Richmond Park School celebrates becoming a School of Sanctuary during Refugee Week 2022

RICHMOND Park School in Carmarthen is the first school in Carmarthenshire to achieve School of Sanctuary status.

The school has been recognised for all its good work in creating a culture of welcome and safety for people seeking sanctuary, including asylum seeking and refugee families.

It joins a national network of over 300 primary and secondary schools all committed to

to supporting the thousands of young people seeking sanctuary in the UK, raising awareness of the issues facing people in asylum, challenging misconceptions and building social cohesion.

Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language Cllr Glynog Davies and Director of Education and Children’s Services Gareth Morgans visited the school during Refugee Week 2022 to celebrate the achievement.

Cllr Davies said: “People have been responding to the ongoing refugee crisis in towns and villages across Wales, setting up schemes which offer support and welcome. Over the past few years, we have welcomed new arrivals from Syria, Afghanistan and now the Ukraine underlining the importance of initiatives such as School of Sanctuary.

“Schools play a crucial role in helping young people to make sense of the world, to become responsible citizens and to create positive change in their communities.

“Richmond Park have done a wonderful job in achieving this award and have set the bar high. We hope many other schools in Carmarthenshire will also begin their journeys towards this prestigious award.”

The awarding panel was impressed with how brilliantly and articulately the children from Richmond Park spoke about their school, their experiences of being new arrivals and all the wonderful things they do to welcome and include everyone.

The school’s Cymuned Croeso student council is made up of students who have transitioned to the school who help to shape the school’s policy around welcoming newcomers; and Richmond Park’s sanctuary barn – known as Noddfa Iaith – offers a designated area of sanctuary, a place for quiet reflection filled with messages of positivity.

The panel were also impressed by how the school is promoting multilingualism through the use of Giglets/Flash Academy, Online FlipGrid creating a multilingual exchange space throughout Carmarthenshire, multilingual staff, and students trained as interpreters.

Schools of Sanctuary co-ordinator Megan Greenwood said: “As the first school in Carmarthenshire to go through the process, we have been particularly impressed with how self-driven the school has been and its efforts and activities are all the more impressive and innovative.

“We feel that the school has taken opportunities to properly engage with the whole school community and has evidenced various novel efforts and activities that reflect best practice in building sanctuary in school.”