June 18 2018
Pupils from two Mossend schools are celebrating after scooping a prestigious award from North Lanarkshire Council for their work challenging sectarianism.
Primary six and seven children from Mossend and Holy Family Primary Schools were awarded an Excellence and Equity Award by the local authority in recognition of their partnership work challenging sectarianism in recent years at a ceremony held at Motherwell Civic Centre.
The awards celebrated the excellent work taking place in schools across North Lanarkshire and the Mossend project was judged a winner on the strength of how it has fostered good relations between pupils and staff from both schools and created an environment where community is celebrated.
In 2013 the schools teamed up to work on the ‘Divided City’ project, which aimed to raise awareness of the harmful impact of sectarianism on our society. The schools then built on this by working in partnership with Nil by Mouth and since 2013 have participated in a range of workshops, events and activities focusing on how young people can build bridges higher than walls.
Since 2014 more than 400 pupils from both schools have taken part in the programme which has seen a range of initiatives including workshops, joint visits to museums, sports days, recording films and albums exploring sectarianism and celebrating community and, in January this year, a Burns Night Ceilidh. In addition to nominating them for the NLC award the charity have also highlighted the schools work to the Scottish Government as an example of best practice in using education to tackle prejudice.
Nil by Mouth Director Dave Scott said:
‘We have always seen the Mossend project as being one of the best partnerships of its kind in Scotland and are thrilled for the pupils and staff involved that they have been named worthy winners of this award. Over the last few years we have seen the pupils tread the boards to act out the ‘Divided City’ play, record an album of songs promoting community and respect, make a film exploring bigotry in Scotland, Visit St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life in Glasgow together and earlier this year hold a fantastic joint ceilidh event at Bellshill Academy. It’s important to stress that the partnership now goes well beyond the schools tremendous anti-sectarian work and we see pupils playing, working and learning together on a range of projects across the year. The Council’s investment in a new play part located between the schools has also been a huge bonus as it provides first class facilities to bring the two schools together at. The local Cllr Frank McNally has also been a big help in terms of lending his support and always being available to lend his support. It’s also important we highlight the commitment of the staff involved to sustaining this partnership and encouraging their pupils to become involved and make new friends. They are absolute stars and a real force for good in their community.‘
Speaking on behalf of the winning schools Holy Family Teacher Gillian Gallagher said:
‘The pupils and staff of both schools were absolutely delighted to receive this award in recognition of our partnership work over the past few years. It has been a pleasure being part of this project and seeing positive relationships being formed between our pupils and staff. This has really benefited he community of Mossend. We appreciate the support of Nil by Mouth in helping to support our goals and we are looking forward to continuing to take the project forward next term.’