A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that benefits everybody, including anyone in its community who is seeking sanctuary. By pledging to become a School of Sanctuary, our school St Nathy’s will be part of a grassroots network and growing movement across Ireland and the UK.
The Schools of Sanctuary programme is a collaboration between University of Galway Access Centre, the Places of Sanctuary Ireland and University of Galway Access linked schools.
The practice of Sanctuary is as natural as breathing in St Nathy’s College, Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon. The SoSI monitoring team- Karen Dervan, Tikambechi Mwalughali (Sanctuary Scholar, TUS) Cathy Joyce (BRIDGE Project, Galway City Partnership) and Darren Casserley (CKI, University of Galway)- felt this as soon as they arrived on May 18th. The school (and town) has long supported families from the local Emergency Reception Orientation Centre in the town. The myriad ways in which St Nathy’s facilitates students’ often acute English language needs is truly inspiring, with every teacher embracing technological innovations to do so.
(the portfolio’s account of this technology is a must see!)
The understanding, compassion and detail of care for the most vulnerable students extends into everything the school does and this was clear in the smiles of all of the students we met. Some of the students have only been in Ireland for a short time but their sense of being safe and included in the school was palpable. A beautiful mural in the main entrance corridor of the school shows visitors that the school embraces diversity in the school- diversities of interests, talents and nationalities- and how they all live and flourish alongside each other.
The school’s EAL room is a place of sanctuary for the students, who are so cared for, and there is an impressive and growing multilingual library there. EAL teachers Ms Peyton and Ms Brunker have themselves lead the sanctuary journey in the school, supported with a full heart by the principal Fr Martin Henry.
Their care and love for their students is truly inspirational.