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Education Pembrokeshire West Wales

Pembroke Dock Community School becomes first in county to win sanctuary status

Pembroke Dock Community School

Pembroke Dock Community School is making history this week after becoming the first school in Pembrokeshire to be awarded the National School of Sanctuary Award.

The important accolade been given as a result of the school’s commitment to being a safe and welcoming place for people seeking sanctuary.

It now joins a national network of more than 380 primary and secondary schools, nurseries and sixth forms whose aim is to create a culture of welcome and inclusion.

Pembroke Dock Community School has already welcomed families from war-torn countries including Syria and the Ukraine and is learning about the reasons for migration and displacement as well as the impact this has on families.  It also provides a safe place for children who may be having trouble at home and who need a place where they can feel more secure.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to work closely with our refugee families and we’ve been humbled by their experiences and resilience,” commented the school’s sanctuary lead, Jenny Cottrell.

This was echoed by headteacher Michele Thomas.

“I’m extremely proud of our whole school community, where pupils have learnt about what it means to be seeking sanctuary,” she said.

“We’ve embedded concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion by taking action and helping pupils understand why some people are forcibly displaced.

“To know that our school is enriched by new arrivals, and how we support learners from all backgrounds so that they feel welcome, supported and included is extremely important.”

Meanwhile cabinet member for education and the Welsh language, Cllr Guy Woodham, congratulated the school on its achievement.

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“Pembroke Dock Community School, its staff and pupils should all be extremely proud of the work they’ve done to ensure that not just the children seeking sanctuary but all the children have a place to feel safe and secure.”