For close to a decade two Cambuslang primary schools have teamed together to tackle sectarianism. Achieving recognition within their local community, South Lanarkshire Council and even having their efforts praised in Holyrood, the partnership between Cairns Primary and St. Cadoc’s Primary has even endured both schools moving to new premises.
The schools, which are less than 100 meters apart, have worked closely since their most recent buildings were opened eight years ago. The schools have been supported by Nil By Mouth for the last seven years with regular workshops, assemblies and a number of showcase events highlighting their partnership. In 2015 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. P7 pupils enjoy weekly football sessions together and the schools coordinate their anti-sectarianism message across the curriculum by regularly holding joint planning meetings.
In March 2016 both schools became official Nil By Mouth ‘Champions for Change’ accredited schools. This title recognises best practice in addressing and challenging bigotry across the curriculum. There are several benchmarks that accredited schools must achieve before being awarded ‘Champions for Change’ status. As a result, both schools can now be viewed as leaders and flag bearers for challenging sectarianism within South Lanarkshire and Scotland as a whole.
These achievements were marked at Holyrood by local MSP James Kelly, who has lodged parliamentary motions praising the school’s efforts.
‘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 football can be a force for good in our communities.’
James Kelly MSP
Nil By Mouth has been so impressed with the efforts of Cairns and St. Cadoc’s that the schools were chosen to help launch the charity’s ‘Champions for Change’ Appeal in May 2016. ‘Champions for Change’ is the charity’s nationwide schools programme which seeks to promote positive relationships between children from different religious and cultural traditions through a range of educational, sporting and cultural activities. The ‘Champions for Change’ Appeal hopes people will donate £3 a month to help fund this grassroots work allowing pupils and teachers the chance to build bridges between communities and follow the example set by Cairns and St. Cadoc’s.
‘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 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.’
Dave Scott, Nil By Mouth Campaign Manager
‘Working in partnership with Nil by Mouth has had a major impact in giving our pupils a first-hand learning experience in further educating them about equality and diversity, while empowering them with learning they can use far beyond the classroom and into the playground, their homes and the wider community.’
Stephanie Scott, Depute Head St. Cadoc’s Primary School