Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Jonathan Ged­des

Pupils at Bankhead and St Colum­bkille’s united to stand up against sec­tar­i­an­ism re­cently.

Pri­mary seven pupils at both schools have been work­ing to­gether since Fe­bru­ary to be­come Cham­pi­ons for Change, which is an ac­cred­i­ta­tion scheme for chal­leng­ing in­tol­er­ance and prej­u­dice run by the Nil By Mouth anti-sec­tar­ian char­ity.

It all cul­mi­nated in a spe­cial show­case at Ruther­glen Town Hall, where the pupils dis­played ev­ery­thing they’d learned over the past few months.

The project had fea­tured a num­ber of dif­fer­ent as­pects. It started with young­sters be­ing asked their thoughts on what sec­tar­i­an­ism ac­tu­ally is, with the pupils re­ply­ing that sec­tar­i­an­ism is racist, makes chil­dren be against dif­fer­ent re­li­gions be­cause they see it from fam­ily and friends and that it makes peo­ple judge you on your reli­gion based on the foot­ball team you sup­port.

James Lith­gow from Nil By Mouth then de­liv­ered an anti-sec­tar­i­an­ism work­shop to both schools where pupils worked through dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, aimed at help­ing the kids chal­lenge stereo­types in so­ci­ety.

The pupils were as­signed a buddy from their part­ner­ship school and con­tacted them through their school email ac­counts. Both classes also stud­ied the novel, The Di­vided City, and were able to dis­cuss the book.

Stu­art Ried from South La­nark­shire Ac­tive schools, along with Trinity High School sports lead­ers, then ran three in­door ath­let­ics team­build­ing ses­sion at St Colum­bkille’s to al­low the pupils the op­por­tu­nity to work to­gether out­side the class­room and build stronger re­la­tion­ships.

It all cul­mi­nated with the Town Hall dis­play, where the young­sters used dif­fer­ent cre­ative styles, in­clud­ing act­ing and mu­sic, to show what they’d learned in front of an au­di­ence of coun­cil­lors, MSP, MPs, par­ents and fel­low pupils, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from South La­nark­shire Coun­cil, Ed­u­ca­tion Scot­land, Nil By Mouth and Sense over Sec­tar­i­an­ism.

A spokesper­son for both schools said: “The pupils’ Cham­pi­ons for Change work has been a truly holis­tic learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, en­com­pass­ing ev­ery as­pect of the cur­ricu­lum. Be­com­ing Cham­pi­ons for Change has been a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence for all the pupils, help­ing them to grow and ma­ture into the re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens we need to help shape a healthy and car­ing so­ci­ety here in Ruther­glen.

“The work­ing part­ner­ship be­tween both schools has strength­ened fur­ther and we are al­ready look­ing at op­por­tu­ni­ties to work to­gether in the new ses­sion as we con­tinue to tackle sec­tar­i­an­ism in our com­mu­nity.”

Sense over Sec­tar­i­an­ism (SOS) very kindly pro­vided fund­ing to as­sist both schools to un­der­take the project.

Mak­ing Their Point

Pupils at the show­case

All To­gether

Young­sters at the event

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