From education to employment

Eastleigh College awarded College of Sanctuary status

Eastleigh College have become the first further education college in Hampshire to obtain College of Sanctuary status, for their commitment to welcoming and nurturing those who have fled from war.

In a successful follow-up to their signing of the City of Sanctuary pledge this spring, this new status formally recognises Eastleigh College’s efforts to foster a warm, safe and inclusive culture for refugees. The past year has seen particular mass displacement in Afghanistan and Ukraine and the College have made it a priority to ensure such ones are smoothly integrated into College life, with full support throughout their learning journey.

Pete Joddrell, Deputy Principal at Eastleigh College, said:

“I am delighted that the College has been recognised for the support it gives sanctuary-seeking learners. The review process was very thorough and in-depth so we are naturally thrilled to have been awarded this status.

One of the benefits of being part of the growing numbers of colleges awarded this status is the sharing of good practice and the potential to collaborate in the future. We are proud of the impact the College has on learners, allowing them to flourish and develop both their language and confidence and ultimately support them into employment or further education.”

Julie Wharton presented the College with their College of Sanctuary certificate. She commented:

“It was a pleasure to present this award today on behalf of Cities of Sanctuary UK. Having a college that is welcoming and enables each new arrival to feel safe is invaluable to support new students to settle and become effective learners. Through this national award, your good practice is recognised and celebrated, and other institutions will take your lead and be encouraged to provide more inclusive education and support.”

Paul Stannard, Vice Principal for Quality and Assurance at Eastleigh College, said:

“Receiving this new status is a breakthrough moment for refugees and asylum seekers in Hampshire, showcasing our College as a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for such ones to thrive as they adjust to life in the UK. This accreditation recognises our ongoing commitment to supporting those who have been forcibly displaced and ensuring they have the tools and resources they will need through each stage of their educational journey with us.”

Tracey McAdam, Head of The Learner Hub at Eastleigh College, said:

“We are thrilled to be awarded College of Sanctuary status. We are very proud of the welcome, safety and inclusion we offer to all our learners.”

For refugees and those who have been displaced, further education colleges are often where they begin their education in the UK, with specialist provisions like ESOL and SLUKY helping them to gain the skills to create a life and future in this country.

The past year has also seen strong advancement to the College’s values-based approach as they have obtained Investors in Diversity (IiD) status, reflecting their embodiment of FREDIE (Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement) values.

Both Eastleigh College and the College of Sanctuary team have the ambition of using this new development as a springboard to help foster a regional network of FE Colleges across Southern England.

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