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Haggis Hits Holyrood

Nil by Mouth has been to Holyrood to toast success after one of our education projects hit a significant national milestone.


Evaluation from the Neeps & Tatties’ project has shown it has been used in 1,000 primary schools since being launched in January 2021.

Written entirely in Scots, and created by author Carey Morning and illustrator Anna York, ‘Neeps & Tatties’ tells the story of two warring vegetable tribes who are finally encouraged to put the past behind them in the interests of a better future. The book examines issues such as discrimination and prejudice, highlighting how old grievance can be overcome by a new generation asking questions.  The charity has devised a series of classroom games and activities based around the story that encourage children to explore different cultures, including looking at the significance of food and festivals in different traditions.

Since its launch the book has been used in schools across all 32 local authorities and been brought to life by a range of artists visiting schools across the country with a focus on how the arts and the Scots language can bring people from different cultures together. 


To mark the milestone the charity was joined by Laura Green from the Scots Language Centre at an event at the Scottish Parliament where free copies were given away to members of the public along with the chance to have a selfie with the story’s ‘Haggis’ hero.


 Nil by Mouth Director Dave Scott said:


‘We originally launched ‘Neeps & Tatties’ as a way of maintaining connection with schools during Covid, making 300 copies available for teachers to use during lockdown. The Scots Language Centre then got in touch and were a massive help by making a digital version freely available for children to use at home. It quickly became clear there was a huge appetite for the project with hundreds of parents downloading the materials, so we developed resource packs and a special YouTube version was produced, narrated by singer Iona Fyfe.

It’s snowballed since and we’ve now had requests for books and resources from more than 1,000 schools right across Scotland. Better still, we’ve seen schools take the project in all sorts of directions with it being used in school assemblies, art projects, inter-faith gatherings and even a project promoting inter-generational reading. Each term we receive hundreds of tweets and messages from teachers highlighting how pupils are enjoying taking part and there remains an inescapable magic in a teacher capturing the imagination of a child through reading. Neeps & Tatties is a simple, yet effective, way of helping children explore the things that make us different whilst also providing an opportunity to discuss their own culture and beliefs in a positive way and learn some new Scots words along the way. With just over 2,000 primary schools in the country we are now aiming to go even further and ensure every single one has its own copy.’


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