How the Sanctuary in Schools Model Works

Sanctuary in Schools offers a roadmap for creating a school culture that focuses not only on restoring hope and passion for learning in the students, but in teachers and school leaders as well.

In a safe and supportive school, risk from harm is minimised, diversity is valued and the school community feels respected,

Sanctuary in Schools uses shared knowledge of theory, shared language, shared values and specific shared practices to create safer, healthier learning environments by:

  • developing an understanding in all members of the school community of the impact of adverse experiences on a student’s behaviour and academic performance as well as the lasting, long-term physical and emotional effects of chronic stress
  • addressing the needs of students who have experienced adversity, building emotion regulation skills, restoring enthusiasm for learning, and building character and citizenship skills using strategies informed by neuroscience
  • expanding the capacity of the school staff – professional and non-professional – to respond effectively to the needs of students in ways that can positively transform behavioural, academic and school/community outcomes
  • facilitating the connection between parents and teachers to foster a true partnership that benefits the student and family
  • meeting milestones in school employee’s professional learning and development, aligned with AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, as well as helping to implement Child Safe Standards and the National Safe Schools Framework to promote a safe learning and working environment.

Sanctuary Elements of School and Classroom practice

Many education models address the individual and group needs of vulnerable or challenging students and provide strategies for their management. The Sanctuary in Schools model is unique in that it instructs school leaders and teachers about how to promote the social and emotional development of students and staff members and also, how to create safer, more effective schools.  

The Sanctuary Pillars create a school culture of safety and wellbeing through shared knowledge, commitments, language and practice. Read more about how the Sanctuary Pillars work in schools here. 

Professor John Hattie’s influential 2008 study analysing factors which improve student learning, found that positive teacher-student interaction is the most important factor in effective teaching. In his book, Visible Learning for Teachers (2012), Hattie signposts what good teachers do:

 “My role, as teacher, is to evaluate the effect I have on my students. It is to ‘know the impact’, it is to understand this impact, and it is to act on this knowing and understanding. It requires that teachers gather defensible and dependable evidence from many sources, and hold collaborative discussions with colleagues and students about this evidence, this making the effect of their teaching visible to themselves and others.”

Through Sanctuary In Schools, the four Sanctuary Pillars are translated into the Elements of School and Classroom Practice.  These elements “make visible” what the school does to support teachers in their professional learning and performance development, as well as what a proficient teacher does to ensure that each student flourishes, intentionally integrating the theory, values, language and tools of Sanctuary into the workings of the school and classroom, through the following elements:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Classroom Management
  • School and Classroom Relationships
  • Curriculum Integration
  • Social and Emotional Progress Monitoring
  • School and Classroom Environment
  • Sanctuary in Schools Practice Tools