Community Sponsorship Awards – Queen’s College Taunton

14 May 2020

They were nominated in the Young Champion category of the Community Sponsorship Awards after welcoming children from two families of Syrian refugees into the school.

One family of three Syrian children joined Queen’s – an independent school in Taunton’s Trull Road – in September, 2017, and another family of two joined 12 months later.

Head Teacher, Dr Lorraine Earps, said: “When we were first approached by Charis in Summer 2016 and asked if we might be able to support the education of the children from a Syrian refugee family they were bringing into Taunton under the Government’s Community Sponsorship Programme, we immediately knew that this was something our community would wish to support.

“We had all seen the pictures of the news of the terrible events in Syria and, as a Methodist Foundation School, this was something which fell within our remit of helping the most vulnerable in society.

“Every year we provide means tested financial support to around a quarter of our families locally with a significant number of local children from disadvantaged backgrounds receiving a complete Queen’s education at no cost.

“Supporting the displaced children from an area of conflict simply extended our educational mission into a more global context one which was entirely fitting with the work of the Methodist Church.

“When, a year later, we were asked to support another family of children, we were delighted to extend our support.

“We are a community which values highly inclusivity and diversity and it is a real testament to our pupils that they have welcomed with open arms all the refugee children who are now thriving  within our wonderful community.

The awards were run by Sponsor Refugees, part of the Citizens UK organisation, and the ceremony took place at Canada House in Trafalgar Square.

Head Girl, Sophia Edwards, is pictured with other nominees, ‘Dr Who’ actor Peter Capaldi and BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond.

Sophia said afterwards: “I was so proud to attend this event on behalf of the school.“It was recognition of all the efforts of students, staff, governors and parents and showed what a welcoming and inclusive community we are.”

The ceremony was also attended by Sophia’s father, Mr Mark Edwards, who is Chair of Governors at Queen’s.