Admiral Lord Nelson School leads the way in creating a welcoming culture after Portsmouth's first school of sanctuary.
PUPILS and staff are celebrating after becoming the city’s first school of sanctuary.
Admiral Lord Nelson School (ALNS) in Copnor has led the way for schools in Portsmouth to prove they have a welcoming and inclusive culture after achieving the status from the national City of Sanctuary movement.
The Portsmouth City of Sanctuary (COS) movement was launched in June and aims to connect projects and services across the city to offer support to vulnerable groups in the community.
Portsmouth Football Club, the British Red Cross, ArtReach and the University of Portsmouth are among more than 100 organisations involved.
Director of performance at ALNS Julia Wisbey was determined to gain the achievement which she says took no concentrated effort due to the school already having a commitment to being a safe place for everyone.
Ms Wisbey said: ‘To achieve this status it was more about reflection for us and it is amazing that we have now got the certificate.
‘When I read the criteria for becoming a school of sanctuary I thought that a lot of the values already aligned with how we operate in the school and how important it is to teach and learn about inclusivity.’
A group of drama students took part in the launch of Portsmouth City of Sanctuary and Shamila Dhana from the Red Cross also visits the school to teach pupils about refugees and asylum seekers alongside their education of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Student Lawrence Coqueral was one of the students involved in the refugee performance.
The 14-year-old said: ‘It is really important to be a school of sanctuary because it our builds our reputation of being a welcoming school and a safe place to learn no matter who you are or where you come from.’
Malcolm Little from the Red Cross presented headteacher Nys Hardingham with the certificate at a small gathering this week.
Ms Hardingham said: ‘It is an amazing achievement to be the first school of sanctuary for Portsmouth and be ambassadorial for the movement. I think it is so important for our school not to be inward and just try to improve our students but to look outward to our communities and see how we can help them and how to make sure our students are part of improving their regional, national and global communities.’
Malcolm added: ‘Having the first school of sanctuary in Portsmouth just shows how far we have come since the launch and it is important that youngsters are on board with this movement as they are the ones who will grow up and share their ideas with their families and further afield.’
For more information on Portsmouth City of Sanctuary visit portsmouth.cityofsanctuary.org/