The sanctuary is one of the schools’ safe spaces providing a haven of support that promotes positive mental health and well-being for all learners. Applying reflective and restorative skills to promote social justice and responsibility, learners visit our space in order to find closure for the negative things that are occurring for them at a given point in time. The sanctuary is an advocate for all learners, we continuously encourage learners to reach their academic potential and achieve their goals. We do this through positive promotion of personal, behavioural and social growth, essential skills needed for the adult world.
The sanctuary provides therapeutic approaches to addresses the academic and personal development of all learners. Sanctuary provides directed assistance for those learners who are emotionally dysregulated within the Oastlers community. The sanctuary works in partnership with multiple agencies and stakeholders, parents/carers, and community contacts to support learners with their specific needs. This partnership ensures that all learners at Oastlers have the opportunities they need to acquire the knowledge and skills in order to become lifelong learners, emotionally resilient and ultimately responsible contributing citizens in our society.
Learners enter sanctuary with various personal problems. Those problems sometimes overwhelm and become barriers to learning. In response, the sanctuary will use a variety of counselling methods, Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution skills to resolve these problems.
When a learner is referred to the sanctuary for reflective intervention, we will begin the process with a written account created by the learner. This will allow us to gain an understanding of how the learner perceived the situation that had them referred to the sanctuary. Staff may challenge areas of the account where a learner is not taking responsibility for their actions. Reflection helps to discover any triggers that may have escalated the incident. This can help to reduce the chances of repeating something that triggered a negative response. We also talk about who was hurt by the incident and who deserves an apology. Unresolved issues will be dealt with through Restorative Justice. It is important that after this process everyone involved can gain closure, put the incident behind them and have a fresh start. The philosophy is very much in line with our ‘cycle of repair’.
Time in the sanctuary can mitigate the impact of negative factors hampering academic performance and healthy development. The sanctuary is focused on supporting young people to understand the importance of setting goals and achieving them. Counselling can be significant contributor in helping learners embrace and complete challenging tasks with a sense of confidence and self-efficacy.
The sanctuary ensures that learners who are referred leave with successful reintegration back to class and their social group. This means that the sanctuary experience has helped the learner regulate any emotional distress after been able to express their feelings in a safe and secure environment. Over time our learners become familiar with some of techniques that are used in the sanctuary to help them in moment of distress, upset or anger. The sanctuary experience teaches our learners to acquire the skills to use these techniques independently and be able to process situations correctly and self-regulate.
sanctuary has created a space where all of our learners feel they have safe place to communicate their feelings and ask questions that may cause them some embarrassment among their peers. There is a sense of completion in the sanctuary, the cycle is ‘repaired’ and learner understand the notion of forgiveness and are able to move on successfully.