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Record number of schools take part in Day of Welcome

Norfolk’s Day of Welcome – when pupils and staff get to explore the issues around forced migration and why people flee their homes – has spread across the UK, with a record 550 schools taking part this year.

Multiply the number of schools by the number of pupils and you get an idea of the thousands of children who this programme has reached.

Each year, the Day of Welcome kicks off Refugee Week with a jam-packed resource pack that schools can choose activities from, including webinars with refugee authors, assemblies and lesson plans.

At Coltishall Primary School, KS2 classes joined the Day of Welcome webinars ‘The Waiting Place’ and ‘When Stars are Scattered’. Theirย Reception and Year 1 classes had a fabulous time watching the video ‘Home’. After watching the video, they discussed the concept of what a home is to them. Jolie Morton, the Schools of Sanctuary lead there said: “Participating in a Day of Welcome gave everybody the time to reinforce our message of welcome and nurture; everybody is welcome here. Additionally, it gave pupils the opportunity to learn about diversity and the hardships that others have faced throughout their lives. Before becoming a School of Sanctuary, a lot of our children were not aware of the particularly taxing journeys refugees and asylum seekers make. I know that the ‘Waiting Place’ webinar was particularly eye-opening for our Year 3 and 4 pupils.”

Norfolk’s Day of Welcome was the brainchild of Jake Rose-Brown, who leads Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary and Dr Jeannette Baxter, Research Lead in the School of Humanities at Anglia Ruskin University, who help fund the project. This year the programme had schools participating from across the UK, including in Wales, Manchester and Birmingham. The goal is to build on the day’s success, reaching more and more schools each year.