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  • Writer's pictureNatasha at Jacari

Bristol Schools of Sanctuary Celebration

Group of school students receiving School of Sanctuary certificate from dignitory

We were delighted to attend the Bristol Annual Schools of Sanctuary Celebration last week.

It was a particularly special event for us at Jacari, because one of our partner schools, Montpelier High School, was receiving a School of Sanctuary Award, an award to recognise ‘good practice in fostering a culture of welcome, belonging and solidarity for those seeking safety’. In achieving School of Sanctuary status, Montpelier High School joins several other schools in the city, along with three Jacari Bristol partner schools: City Academy, Easton CofE Academy, and Fairfield High School.

At the event, some Montpelier High School pupils who are involved in the Jacari peer tutoring programme* performed speeches and a song, both in English and in their home languages, sharing details of their own journeys - physical, emotional, and linguistic.

Sixth form student giving a speech at school of sanctuary event

Their personal stories were deeply moving, and one in particular was a poignant reminder of the trauma experienced by children forced to seek sanctuary.

Something that resonated for us was how often Jacari peer tuition was mentioned. In particular, one tutee spoke of how much taking part had helped her, and a sixth-former spoke of how she herself had struggled when starting school in England, new to English, and how that experience had motivated her to become a Jacari volunteer. She described the strong connection she has developed with her tutee and added, “I see a reflection of myself in her”. There were many tears in the audience!

“It was the best ever reward to hear their stories and why they enjoy Jacari", said Jacari Coordinator, Aggie, who has achieved so much running our peer tutoring project in four Bristol schools this year. Well done Aggie, and well done all at Montpelier High School.

*Jacari’s peer tutoring project involves sixth-form students in secondary schools volunteering to support younger pupils, most of whom are newly arrived and need extra support with learning English and adjusting to their new school. It is now in its second year, and after a pilot at Montpelier High School, has expanded to four Bristol schools. Plans are afoot for further expansion, including in Oxford.

Group of school students and staff
Jacari peer tutors, tutees, teacher and Coordinator

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