Schools of Sanctuary

John Smeaton Academy is proud to share that we have been awarded the School of Sanctuary accolade.

What does it mean to be a part of Schools of Sanctuary?

Schools of Sanctuary ‘are a national network of over 300 primary and secondary schools all committed to creating a culture of welcome and inclusion for refugees and people seeking asylum’. More information about the Schools of Sanctuary organisation can be found on their website:

Why is John Smeaton Academy a School of Sanctuary?

  • We were the first Secondary school in Leeds to welcome 12 Afghan refugee students in October 2021. Read all about it by clicking on this link:
  • Since then, we have successfully welcomed, inducted and integrated into our school community over 40 pupils from a refugee background. This number is increasing each week as more secondary-aged students, who are seeking refuge, arrive in the local area.
  • We feel passionately about ensuring our school is a ‘sanctuary’ for all young people – especially those who have experienced the trauma of war, the upheaval of moving to a new country with limited belongings and may be experiencing grief and/or displacement from their parents/carers and families.
  • We provide educational opportunities for our student body to empathise and learn more about the experiences of refugees. We prioritise combating negative stereotypes and provide our students with enriching experiences where they can actively support the refugee community.
  • Our refugee students are not only immersed into a full mainstream curriculum offer but they also have access to EAL intervention to support their acquisition and development of their English speaking, reading and writing skills.
  • John Smeaton Academy’s support of refugee pupils was recognised in a recent national BBC News report. You can find clips of both the pre-recorded segment and the BBC News live interview by clicking on the following links: and