CASE STUDY: MOSSEND & HOLY FAMILY PRIMARY SCHOOLS
For almost a decade two North Lanarkshire primary schools have teamed together with Nil by Mouth to challenge sectarianism. To date more than 700 pupils from Mossend and Holy Family Primary have taken part in the charity’s schools programme which has seen a range of initiatives including; workshops, joint visits to museums, sports days, making films and albums, a joint Burns Night Ceilidh, football stadium tours and more.
The partnership dates back to 2014 when P7 pupils from both schools joined forces to perform the play ‘Divided City’ focusing on how friendships can overcome sectarian division. Through the course of this project Nil by Mouth worked closely with the schools by delivering workshops addressing the topic. So impressed with the levels of enthusiasm and commitment shown by the pupils the charity secured funding to allow pupils to record and produce an album of songs celebrating diversity in Scotland. Since this initial project the P7 classes have teamed together each year to participate in a variety of Nil by Mouth workshops and activities.
Campaign Officer Oliver Shaw and Cllr Frank McNally help Ms Gallagher and P7 launch their album.
In 2015 the schools took part in the charity’s ‘Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ campaign and in partnership with the charity Africa on the Ball the pupils successfully completed an extra special ‘arms linking’ challenge to win 10 Fairtrade footballs which were sent to Zambia’s capital, Lusaka. Later that year the new P7 cohort took part in a joint sporting event at Ravenscraig Sports Centre as part of FARE’s ‘Football People’ fortnight which seeks to challenge discrimination and celebrate the contribution we all make to society.
In 2017, the schools were awarded an Excellence and Equity Award by North Lanarkshire Council and Nil by Mouth’s Champions for Change Award. The awards recognised their partnership work and highlighted best practice in addressing and challenging bigotry across the curriculum.
The following year the schools joined forces with Nil by Mouth again as part of the charity’s ‘Action on Sectarianism Week’; a special day of activities which included a visit from the Glasgow Science Centre. The pupils were joined by NLC Education Convener and Local Councillor Frank McNally who came along to show his support.
Pupils from Mossend and Holy Family arrive for their day out together at the national stadium.
In 2019 the schools took part in a joint trip to Hampden Park which was partly funded by the Sense over Sectarianism partnership - which aims to bring together football clubs and faith communities to tackle bigotry. Over 100 pupils from the two schools visited the Scottish Football Museum to find out more about the history and evolution of the game. They also had the chance to step out onto the Hampden turf and sit in the national team’s dressing room as part of a special behind the scenes tour.
During the course of the 2020/21 covid pandemic the joint workshops were naturally halted. However, we are happy to say that as of 2022 the partnership has been reignited and we are looking forward to a bright future.
Dave Scott, Nil by Mouth’s Campaign Director reflects fondly on the partnership between the two schools. ‘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.'