John Smeaton Academy set to welcome 12 students who have fled from Afghanistan

Twelve students from Afghanistan, who have sought sanctuary in Leeds, will be starting at John Smeaton school over the next few weeks.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:45 am

The students, of differing ages, fled their homes and lives after the collapse of the country to The Taliban following the withdrawal of western troops earlier this year.

An induction for the new students will be held at the school, which has recently been acquired by the GORSE Academies Trust, on Friday and they will join classes as soon as possible in a managed way.

Leanne Griffiths, executive principal of 11 to 16 education for the Trust said John Smeaton was “thrilled” to be playing a role in supporting the new students.

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Leanne Griffiths, principal of 11-16 education at GORSE Academies Trust.

She said: “We were contacted by the local authority, they recognised the transformation that has taken place, and approached us to see if we could help and we were only too happy to assist.

“Our students are very caring and have recently been collecting donations of stationary for an appeal that we have been running for our Afghan children.

“I believe their English is limited and we need to make sure we are working with parents and carers, and the local authority, to ensure that we welcome them appropriately into the school community and in a way that is the highest standard possible.”

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The John Smeaton Academy.

Ms Griffiths said: “There are challenges but we have a lot of experience across the trust, a large number of schools have a huge area of different languages.

“It is a wonderful thing for John Smeaton students to be at the heart of students who have suffered, clearly great adversity in the past, with that caring nature of John Smeaton students, I know that there will be a really warm welcome here.”

Earlier this month, John Smeaton launched its first charity campaign of the academic year and from Monday October 11 until yesterday, in support of the AAE students donated educational resources to those in need in Afghanistan.

They included pens and pencils, pencil cases, rulers, felt tips and colouring pencils, sharpeners, rubbers, glue sticks, notebooks, mathematical stationary kits and post-it notes.

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