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Norwich teacher’s call for day of action at schools for refugee crisis

PUBLISHED: 07:58 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:20 19 February 2018

Debbie Dismore, headteacher, surrounded by year five pupils from Avenue Junior School. Photo: Jake Brown

Debbie Dismore, headteacher, surrounded by year five pupils from Avenue Junior School. Photo: Jake Brown

Archant

A teacher in Norwich is calling for schools across the country to join together in a day of action to help children understand the refugee crisis.

Avenue Junior School council members, and teacher Jake Brown, lead in the Norwich Sanctuary of Schools programme, a nationwide initiative to celebrate schools who welcome asylum seekers and refugee families into the school community. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAvenue Junior School council members, and teacher Jake Brown, lead in the Norwich Sanctuary of Schools programme, a nationwide initiative to celebrate schools who welcome asylum seekers and refugee families into the school community. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jake Brown, who works at Avenue Junior School on Milford Road, hopes to see teachers get involved with Norfolk Welcomes, which will see schools run themed assemblies and lessons and collect funds for refugees and asylum seekers.

With 22 schools already on board, Mr Brown hopes more will use the day - on Friday, April 20 - as a chance to focus on Norwich’s history as a city of sanctuary.

He will give headteachers resources to help children make sense of the refugee crisis, alongside lesson plans based on the stories of different newcomers to Norwich - from the Strangers of the 16th century to refugees from the Spanish Civil War.

Mr Brown said: “Norwich and Norfolk have a long history of welcoming newcomers. Using little-known stories from our local area felt like a great way to help children across the county to engage with the refugee experience.

“We’re looking forward to creative and critical responses to a complex issue.”

Information for the day is being collated by a team of citizen researchers, coordinated by Jeanette Baxter of Anglia Ruskin University.

It is part of a national Schools of Sanctuary movement, which was launched in Norfolk early last year.

The goal is to encourage schools to “commit to being safe and welcoming place for everyone”.

Last June, the first Norfolk schools to be granted the sanctuary status were honoured at a ceremony, attended by Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, including those from Avenue Junior.

It forms part of a wider drive to see Norwich recognised as a City of Sanctuary, an initiative which began in Yorkshire.

For more information on the scheme, or to sign up, email Mr Brown on jbrown3erw@nsix.org.uk or call 07563240504.

For more information, click here.

Do you have an education story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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