Pupils’ work welcomes refugees

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A group of pupils from Crossley Heath school have been working hard to find ways of making refugees and asylum seekers feel more welcome and included in Calderdale.

During this term the year 11, 12 and 13 pupils devised and taught a Citizenship lesson on the issue to each year 9 class.

Citizenship leader Mrs Emma Martin said: “The students did really well in creating lessons that held pupils’ interest and tackled some of the myths around asylum seekers and refugees. We will be able to use these lessons in future years.”

Other initiatives in school have been devised with help from Nia Jackson-Owens, the administrator from St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax.

Students have raised nearly £200 for the centre through a Sponge the Teacher event in the summer, a bake sale, and a stall at the Christmas Market where Umaimah Mahmood used her skills to decorate people’s palms with henna designs.

The money go towards St Augustine’s current appeal to raise £20,000.

Students have also set up a collection point for out-grown un-badged school uniform items, to be donated for children from the centre whose parents are struggling to afford uniform for local schools.

Nia said: “Having school uniform can go a long way to helping a refugee student feel a part of their new school. It really helps if parents only need to buy the badged items.”

From January, pupils are hoping to extend a welcome to children aged 14-18 from families who use St Augustine’s to join them in after-school badminton sessions in their state-of-the-art sports hall facilities.

PE teacher Mrs Kathryn Baldwin said: “This will be a lovely opportunity to welcome children into our school community who do not find it easy to access sporting facilities.

“I hope some friendships can be forged between the visitors and Crossley Heath students.”

All these actions will help towards Crossley Heath becoming a School of Sanctuary, helping to foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for everyone throughout Calderdale.