Education Policy Institute invites Liverpool head to discuss and empower asylum-seeking pupils

A headteacher of a Liverpool secondary school was invited to participate in a roundtable, as part of this year’s Labour Party Conference, to discuss improving refugee and asylum-seeking pupils’ wellbeing and outcomes. 

 Ms Jo Leech, headteacher of The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, was contacted by the Education Policy Institute to sit on a roundtable which brought together policymakers and third sector organisations to consider the current challenges faced by this pupil group. 

The Education Policy Institute is an independent, impartial and evidence-based research institute that aims to promote high quality education outcomes for all children and young people, regardless of social background. 

 The Kensington-based academy, which is part of All Saints Multi Academy Trust, is very proud of its diverse community. As a ‘School of Sanctuary’, it welcomes a number of children who are new to the country, some of whom are asylum seekers or refugees. 50% of students at the academy are learning English as an additional language (EAL). 

 The private roundtable discussed practical solutions on how to share best practice, generate collective action and develop education policy within the framework of ‘safety, belonging, success and celebration’. 

 Ms Leech said: “The Academy of St Francis Assisi is a wonderfully vibrant school, and we are pleased to welcome students from all over the world, particularly those who are seeking sanctuary. There are 60 different languages spoken here and we celebrate each and every one.” 

 During the discussion, Ms Leech shared the ways in which the academy has created a whole school culture of inclusion for refugee and asylum-seeking pupils. She also explained how this has been extended across the trust and into the other schools.  

Ms Leech added: “As headteacher, I understand some of the hardships these students have faced and what challenges and barriers they are up against in the education system. I hope by drawing upon my own experience and knowledge during the roundtable, we can work towards achieving better outcomes for refugee and migrant students around the UK.” 

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