School of Sanctuary awarded to centre in Smethwick

Sandwell Council’s STEPS Centre in Smethwick has been accredited as a School of Sanctuary in recognition of the centre’s support for new arrivals.

STEPS Centre joins a national network of more than 400 primary and secondary schools, nurseries and sixth forms all committed to creating a culture of welcome and inclusion for refugees and people seeking asylum.

The award demonstrates a whole-school approach to support and understand those who may be seeking sanctuary. Sandwell Transition Education Partnership Service demonstrated its track record in fostering a culture of welcome, belonging and solidarity for those seeking safety and is the first school in Sandwell to gain this accreditation.

The STEPS Centre is believed to be the only centre in the country of its kind offering support to new arrivals to the UK by supporting whole families to access the help they need and helping to integrate children into school life and finding them a permanent place in a school.

Councillor Simon Hackett, Cabinet Member for Children, young People and Education received the award on behalf of the STEPS Centre. He said:

“Sandwell is a place with both a strong sense of community and a rich history of migration and we are proud of our work to help new arrivals.

“The School of Sanctuary Award is recognition of all the hard work the team at the STEPS Centre does on a day-to-day basis to help those in need of our support.

“The centre carries out a vital role within our community by supporting families from around the world including Ukraine, Afghan citizens who are eligible for relocation to the UK and more recently Sudanese British citizens.

“We are determined to give those who are seeking sanctuary in Sandwell the support they need to make their home in our borough.”


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