Kids win award as partnership fights bigotry

Carole- Ann White from Mossend Primary (left) and Gillian Gallagher from Holy Family Primary with some of the children involved in the programme at Mossend Playpark
Carole- Ann White from Mossend Primary (left) and Gillian Gallagher from Holy Family Primary with some of the children involved in the programme at Mossend Playpark

Pupils from two Mossend schools are celebrating after scooping a prestigious award from North Lanarkshire Council.

P6/7 children from Mossend and Holy Family Primaries 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 leading charity Nil by Mouth and have participated in a range of workshops, events and activities focusing on how young people can build bridges.

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 council 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.

“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.

“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.”

Holy Family teacher Gillian Gallagher added: 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 which has really benefited the 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.”