What is a NUI Galway School of Sanctuary?

A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that benefits everybody, including anyone in its community who is seeking sanctuary. It is a school that helps it students, staff, parents and the wider community to understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary, extend a welcome to everyone regardless of their status while promoting pathways into Higher Education.

Schools play a crucial role in helping young people to make sense of the world, to become responsible citizens, to progress in education and to create positive change in their communities. The Schools of Sanctuary programme aims to empower students to cultivate their sense of belonging within education while enhancing their knowledge of pathways into Higher Education.

By pledging to become a School of Sanctuary, the school will be part of a grassroots network and growing movement across the UK and Ireland. The Schools of Sanctuary programme is a collaboration between NUI Galway Access Centre, the Places of Sanctuary Ireland and NUI Galway Access linked schools.

The Schools of Sanctuary programme aims to:

  • Create a culture of welcome for everyone, especially refugees, asylum seekers, Irish Travellers and other sanctuary seekers in addition to promoting pathways into Higher Education.
  • Promote the voices and celebrate the contributions to our society of people who have either sought or are seeking sanctuary

Why become a NUI Galway School of Sanctuary?

Becoming a School of Sanctuary provides schools with a valuable strategic tool for school improvement, and enables them to meet a wide range of statutory and non-statutory obligations. This process can:

  • Create a culture that makes newcomers, especially those from different culture or language groups, feel safe and included more quickly
  • Enhance students’ knowledge of pathways into Higher Education
  • Help meet the school’s commitment to equal opportunities
  • Provide learning opportunities around global issues, human rights, social justice, diversity and interdependence
  • Build a school culture that reduces and intolerance, hate speech and bullying
  • Underpin work on building an inclusive and supportive school community
  • Increase Student Voice and promote active citizenship
  • Engage families and strengthen the school’s role in the local community


Participating Schools for the Academic Year 2019/20

Primary Schools

Scoil Chroí Íosa National School, Galway

Scoil Bhríde National School, Galway

Post Primary Schools

Our Lady’s College Galway

St Marys College, Galway

Schools should contact the Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator sanctuary@nuigalway.ie for further information to discuss the process to becoming a recognised School of Sanctuary.


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