16th December 2014
A South Lanarkshire School is celebrating after clinching a prestigious award for its work tackling sectarianism.
Pupils at St Blanes PS, Blantyre have been announced as ‘Gold Award’ winners of – Nil by Mouth’s ‘Champions for Change ‘ schools accreditation programme.
The campaign recognises best practice addressing and challenging bigotry across the curriculum, and schools have to achieve several benchmarks in order to achieve ‘Champion for Change’ status. The scheme was set up in 2011 and is supported by the Scottish Government.
Wat St Blanes has included:
- bringing together hundreds of primary school pupils from both Roman Catholic and non-denominational schools in Blantyre on a range of activity days;
- a hugely successful community ‘sectarianism awareness’ project which involved parents, local businesses, faith groups and community leaders;
- scripting and performing a play focusing on the damaging impacts of sectarianism on young people;
- a joint world record attempt with pupils from Glenlee PS, Burnbank;
- pupils devising and leading their own anti-sectarian workshops, classes and assemblies;
- installing a dedicated anti-sectarian ethos into the curriculum and school polices and procedures;
- raising over £1,400 to support a range of anti-sectarian initiatives.
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘We have been blown away by the quality of the work which has been taking place in St Blanes over recent years and the school sets a brilliant example in their community. This award recognises the efforts of pupils, staff and parents who have stood up to be counted. They have shown real enthusiasm for engaging with others and exploring faith and identify in a hugely positive way.
The school has created an environment where pupils are encouraged to learn not just about their own faith, but about other people’s as well. We hope these efforts will inspire other primary schools across the country to become ‘Champions for Change’.
The award was also welcomed at Holyrood by local MSP James Kelly.
Mr Kelly said:
“I was delighted to learn St Blanes had won the 2014 Nil by Mouth ‘Champions for Change’ Gold Award. The school has a real history of tackling sectarianism.
I believe education is the right approach to ensure that our children do not grow up in a Scotland marred by a culture of intolerance, mistrust and fear but one of unity and respect. It is because of the great work of Nil by Mouth and Schools like St Blane’s that Scotland can become a more tolerant country.”