Three Cardiff Primary Schools achieve Schools of Sanctuary Award as city celebrates Refugee Week 2022

During Refugee Week 20th – 26th June 2022, Cardiff celebrates three of the city’s primary schools becoming official Schools of Sanctuary.

St Monica’s Church in Wales Primary School in Cathays, Herbert Thompson Primary School in Ely and St David’s Church in Wales Primary School in Pentwyn have committed to creating a culture of welcome and inclusion for refugees and people seeking asylum.

To achieve the award, each school has demonstrated an understanding of what it means for someone to be seeking sanctuary and create a welcoming and caring environment for people in need of help.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “Cardiff has a history steeped in diversity and we proudly welcome people from across the world, helping them to feel equal and valued members of society.

“A School of Sanctuary helps pupils, staff and the wider community to understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary and supports the ongoing commitment to ensuring that school is a welcoming place for all.

“Congratulations to staff, pupils and parents of St Monica’s Church in Wales Primary School, Herbert Thompson and St David’s Church in Wales Primary Schools for their hard work and dedication in achieving this award.

“As a Council, we are encouraging all of our schools to become Schools of Sanctuary as part of Cardiff’s pledge to be a City of Sanctuary, making it a welcoming place of safety for all and offering sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.”

A School of Sanctuary:

  • Is a place that fosters a culture of welcome and safety for people seeking sanctuary, including asylum seeking and refugee families.
  • Educates the whole school community about the human right to sanctuary and identifies practical means for schools to demonstrate that commitment.
  • Builds empathy and intercultural awareness through promoting the voices and contributions of people seeking sanctuary, encouraging an understanding of the experiences of displaced people and helping to combat stereotypes.

Sheena Marsh, Headteacher at Herbert Thompson said: “We are thrilled to be recognised as a School of Sanctuary, demonstrating our commitment to making everyone who comes to our school feel welcome and safe, including refugees and people seeking asylum. As a school, our values of security, respect, diversity, care, determination and achievement are at the heart of all that we do and we want every child in our care to feel loved, important, strong and special. Therefore, we ensure that our curriculum focuses on our values and enables our children to learn about their community, challenge stereotypes and respect others. It is wonderful to be part of such a diverse school community where everyone is valued.”

Claire Cook, Headteacher of and St David’s Church in Wales Primary School said, “We are really proud to have recently received our Schools of Sanctuary award and be presented with this award at the recent Church in Wales Governor’s Event. Thank you to everyone for your continued support in working towards this great award.”

Abi Beacon, Headteacher of St Monica’s Church in Wales Primary School said, “We have always worked hard to help everyone in our diverse school community shine and we are really proud that this has been recognised with this award.”

The Schools of Sanctuary initiative supports Cardiff’s ambition to becoming the UK Committee for UNICEF Child Friendly City, as part ofCardiff’s Child Friendly Strategy.

So far seven schools in Cardiff have achieved School of Sanctuary status and St Monica’s Church in Wales Primary School, Herbert Thompson Primary School and St David’s Church in Wales Primary School join Llanishen High School, Allensbank Primary School, Stacey Primary School, Adamsdown Primary School in holding the award.

Refugee Week is a national festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. The vision of Refugee Week is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely, in inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution. Read more here: