July 27 2017
Two North Lanarkshire schools are celebrating after scooping national awards for their efforts to tackle sectarianism.
Pupils at Holy Family and Mossend Primary Schools have been 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 have been working on a range of sporting, educational and cultural activities over the last few years led by teachers Gillian Gallagher and Aileen Mullen in conjunction with the charity. These have included raising money to provide sports equipment for children in Zambia, performing the ‘Divided City’ play in conjunction with the Citizens Theatre and participating in workshops with Nil by Mouth exploring different religious and cultural traditions. Pupils have also been talking part in the ‘Daily Mile’ challenge together over the last eight months. Since the partnership kicked off in 2013 hundreds of pupils have taken part in the programme and North Lanarkshire Education Convener Cllr Frank McNally visited the schools during the last week of term to present the award.
Nil by Mouth was set up by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson in response to the brutal sectarian murder of her school friend Mark Scott as he made his way home from a football match in 1995. The ‘Champions for Change’ awards are set up in Mark’s memory as a way of encouraging children to celebrate, rather than fear, difference.
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 and over the years we have seen pupils forge firm friendships and participate in a range of educational, creative and sporting activities together. We would single out Gillian and Aileen for particular praise as they have really driven forward the work over the years and have been instrumental in building the strong relationships which now exist between the schools. The Council have also helped with the investment in the local play park which has been a fantastic resource for the schools to utilise and provide a backdrop for the sporting element of the programme. Hundreds of pupils have benefited from this team effort and we are very proud to recognise the work of pupils, staff and council by presenting our ‘Champions for Change’ awards.’