• Academy of St Francis of Assisi earns ‘sanctuary’ status

The Academy of St Francis of Assisi earns ‘sanctuary’ status

The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) has become the first secondary school in Liverpool to receive ‘School of Sanctuary’ status as reward for its efforts to provide a safe haven for its pupils.
The Kensington-based academy caters for pupils from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, including refugees and asylum-seekers, and more than 40 languages are spoken by the children studying there.
Head of school Tracey Greenough, said: “Creating sanctuary is something that I’m thrilled ASFA has been recognised for. Lots of hard work and commitment has contributed to our School of Sanctuary status.
“We have undertaken to ensure that pupils feel at home at the joint-faith Catholic and Church of England academy.
“Day-to-day life at the academy is underpinned by the Christian values of respect, care, compassion, peace and reconciliation.  With these values in mind, creating an inclusive environment for all of our students is at the top of the agenda”
As well as meeting the parents or care-givers of each pupil on their arrival at the academy, ASFA staff work hard to break down potential communication barriers.
Mrs Greenough said: “More often than not, language barriers can lead to the isolation of pupils who arrive with little to no English skills, even the smallest gestures can ease this transition such as providing every pupil with a bilingual dictionary and offering English booster classes.
“One of our most successful schemes is our language buddy programme which pairs common language pupils together to aid each other with language progression.”
To help promote positive attitudes, the academy encourages its pupils to learn about other languages and cultures, with Polish and Arabic courses offered up to GSCE level.  It also provides a physical haven in the form of a rooftop garden, where pupils can grow and harvest vegetables together.

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About Author: Brian Sinclair