Schools across North Lanarkshire will be serving up ‘Neeps & Tatties’ to pupils between St Andrews Day and Burns Night thanks to a partnership between the local authority and Nil by Mouth
North Lanarkshire Council is the latest Scottish local authority to throw its weight behind the 'Neeps & Tatties’ project, which uses the Scots language to help children better understand difference. Written entirely in Scots, and created by author Carey Morning and illustrator Anna York, the book 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. It examines issues such as discrimination and prejudice, highlighting how old grievance can be overcome by a new generation. 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.
Funding from the council will make teachers copies of the book available right across the authority from St Andrews Day through until Burns Night as part of Nil by Mouth’s national campaign to promote the resource. Pupils from Holy Familyand Mossend Primary Schools helped Council Deputy Leader Cllr Louise Roarty and Education Convener Cllr Angela Campbell launch the book in the run up to St Andrews Day. The charity is also offering free workshops across the authority targeted at P6/7 pupils exploring discrimination, diversity and difference.
North Lanarkshire becomes the ninth local authority in Scotland to offer this support to the project in the past twelve months joining Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll & Bute, Dundee City, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire. The charity had also secured sponsorship from a range of businesses and Trust Funds such as the Thistledown Trust allowing teachers from outside these areas to secure their free copy. ‘Neeps & Tatties’ has proved hugely popular with schools as a fresh way of using Scots to convey important social messages and was a finalist in the 2021 Scots Language Awards and the GenAnalytics Diversity Awards 2022. Since its launch during lockdown in 2021 more than 1,000 schools have signed up for copies across all 32 Local Authority areas.
Nil by Mouth Director Dave Scott said:
‘We have enjoyed a very long and fruitful relationships with dozens of schools across North Lanarkshire over the last 15 years and this investment from the Council will help deepen this involvement. We had more than 60 of its schools request copies of the book last year and we would expect a similar level of demand this year. This support means that we can share copies of this book with teachers and the resources required to help them bring the story to life in the classroom. Neeps and Tatties is a fun story with an important meaning and has proven a highly effective way of helping children learn more about their own culture as well as understanding more about those of others. We have also ran sessions for teachers and dozens of workshops in schools across the authority promoting our message of tolerance and change.’
Cllr Louise Roarty, Deputy Leader of North Lanarkshire Council said:
‘I’m delighted to come along today to meet the pupils from Holy Family and Mossend to launch the book and ensure that our staff have access to a resource that helps young people better understand difference. Neeps & Tatties is a simple story with a powerful message: that young people have the vision and courage to make a positive change. Any North Lanarkshire school wishing to either receive teacher copies of the resource or sign up for free Nil by Mouth workshops can do so by contacting the charity directly at email@example.com.’