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ICON schools

The International Cross of Nails Schools

ICONS is a growing network of primary and secondary schools – of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds – around the world, that have recognised the opportunity for introducing principles of peace, forgiveness, conflict transformation and reconciliation into their school communities.

In our network we have:

  • over 18 international
  • over 18 Secondary
  • over 25 Primary
  • 11 All-through schools

We have ICONS in Germany, Northern Ireland, Austria, Netherlands, South Africa, Israel/Palestine, USA and Hong Kong, as well as our many partner schools in the UK. In joining the ICONS network, schools also become partners with the Community of the Cross of Nails and are welcomed into an even wider family of peace organisations, places of worship, and training and retreat centres all working towards peace and reconciliation in their respective communities.

We believe children and young people can positively impact their school and local community, challenge prejudice, foster peaceful relationships and celebrate diversity.

We believe schools are the exact right place to learn and practice how to be peacebuilders.

We believe that both staff and students need to learn how to manage conflict in positive and creative ways.

Become an ICON school

Interested in finding out more and becoming part of our inspiring network then get in touch with email hidden; JavaScript is required to explore becoming an ICON school

What do ICON Schools do?

ICONS embrace the three themes of its sister organisation, the Community of the Cross of Nails:

  • Healing the Wounds of History
  • Living with Difference and Celebrating Diversity
  • Building a Culture of Peace

These three themes are worked out differently in each ICON School, depending on the school’s context. For some schools this includes use of restorative practices, lessons on peace-building and reconciliation, use of art and picture books to develop skills such as empathy and forgiveness, and pupil-driven projects to build bridges with the local community.

In order to apply for ICON School status, schools will need to have formed a relationship with Coventry Cathedral through network meetings or visiting and be able to demonstrate reconciliation as embedded at the heart of the school vision, ethos and daily life. We believe children and young people can positively impact their school and local community, challenge prejudice, foster peaceful relationships and celebrate diversity.

Take a look at our resources page for some practical lesson, workshop and assembly ideas to get you started and follow us on:

for more resources, online courses and meetings, or take a look at our latest newsletter December 2023 ICONS Newsletter

The story that began it all

On the morning after Coventry and its cathedral were bombed in November 1940, Provost Howard’s words of ‘Father Forgive’ began a ministry for which Coventry Cathedral is known globally. These words, coupled with his use of a Cross of Nails (fashioned from the medieval nails of the old cathedral’s ruined roof) as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, provided a powerful message to others inspired by the healing and hope of the cathedral’s story. From these beginnings of pursuing ‘a kinder, more Christ child-like sort of world, the Community of the Cross of Nails (CCN) was formed, and since 2009 Coventry Cathedral has operated the ICON Schools network, a programme that aims to bring this ministry of peace and reconciliation into schools so that a new generation of peace-makers and reconcilers can make their impact on their communities.

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