Pupils & staff celebrate their award
Pupils & staff celebrate their award

March 22 2016

Two South Lanarkshire schools are celebrating after scooping awards for their efforts to tackle sectarianism.

Pupils at Cairns and St Cadoc’s Primary Schools in Cambuslang were today presented with ‘Champions for Change’ awards by leading anti-sectarianism charity Nil by Mouth. The award 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 schools, which are less than 100 meters apart, have worked closely since their most recent buildings were opened seven years ago. The schools 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. P7 pupils enjoy weekly football sessions together and the schools coordinate their anti-sectarianism message across the curriculum by regularly holding joint planning meetings.

Their achievement has also been marked at Holyrood by local MSP James Kelly, who has lodged parliamentary motions praising the school’s efforts.

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 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.’ 

 James Kelly MSP added:

 ‘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.’