Cham­pi­oning change

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Two Cam­bus­lang pri­mary schools have been held up as an ex­am­ple for their work in com­bat­ing sec­tar­i­an­ism.

Pupils at Cairns and St Cadoc’s pri­maries were this week pre­sented with a Cham­pi­ons for Change award by anti- big­otry char­ity Nil By Mouth.

The award recog­nises best prac­tice ad­dress­ing and chal­leng­ing big­otry across the cur­ricu­lum.

The schools, which are less than 100 me­ters apart, have worked closely since their most re­cent build­ings were opened seven years ago.

They have been sup­ported by Nil By Mouth for the last six years with reg­u­lar work­shops, assem­blies and a num­ber of show­case events high­light­ing their partnership.

Last year pupils from the schools wrote and recorded “Stamp it Out,” a song with a strong mes­sage against sec­tar­i­an­ism and bul­ly­ing. CDs were made and dis­trib­uted within the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the song was per­formed at a com­mu­nity show­case of pupils’ anti-sec­tar­i­an­ism work at Cairns Pri­mary.

Pri­mary seven pupils en­joy weekly football ses­sions to­gether and the schools co­or­di­nate their anti-sec­tar­i­an­ism mes­sage across the cur­ricu­lum by reg­u­larly hold­ing joint plan­ning meet­ings.

Nil By Mouth cam­paign di­rec­tor, Dave Scott, said: “We’ve been hugely im­pressed by the en­ergy, en­thu­si­asm and com­mit­ment shown by pupils, teach­ers and par­ents of both schools in their ef­forts to chal­lenge sec­tar­i­an­ism and build strong bonds across old bound­aries.

“Both schools ben­e­fit from ex­cep­tional lead­er­ship teams who af­ford staff and pupils ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenge big­otry by cel­e­brat­ing, rather than fear­ing, dif­fer­ence.

“Over the years we have seen pupils forge firm friend­ships and par­tic­i­pate in a range of ed­u­ca­tional, cre­ative and sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to­gether. They rep­re­sent the gen­er­a­tion which will de­feat sec­tar­i­an­ism once and for all and are an ex­am­ple many adults could learn from. We also loved the fact that the schools sought to use football as a pos­i­tive ve­hi­cle for change and fo­cused on how the sport can bring peo­ple to­gether rather than be­ing used as a di­vid­ing line be­tween com­mu­ni­ties.

“They are wor­thy win­ners of our Cham­pi­ons for Change award.”

Their achieve­ment was also marked at Holy­rood by James Kelly who lodged par­lia­men­tary mo­tions prais­ing the school’s ef­forts

He vis­ited the schools in one of his fi­nal acts as MSP for Ruther­glen, and said: “I am de­lighted to see such suc­cesses be­ing cel­e­brated in the Cam­bus­lang area. I have been a keen sup­porter of work in our schools to chal­lenge in­tol­er­ance and build bridges be­tween peo­ple.

“The hard work and imag­i­na­tion of all in­volved in this project de­served to be recog­nised at Holy­rood and it also shows how

Say­ing no to big­otry Kyle Ni­col from Cairns Pri­mary, Emma Alexan­der from Nil By Mouth, for­mer Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly and Olivia O’Ha­gen from St Cadoc’s cel­e­brate the award with pupils from the two schools

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