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Creative ways to counter racism

The Newcastle-based charity Show Racism the Red Card has appointed an education development officer for Scotland, supported by pound;175,000 over three years from the Scottish Executive and Scottish Football Association.

The post was criticised by the Asian community for adopting the wrong approach, but Roddy McNulty, who now leads the charity in Scotland, argues that education is the key to stopping racism in the long term and he will try to teach every young person through anti-racist materials and events.

Foremost among the events is an annual competition run in conjunction with the Educational Institute for Scotland since last year. The stimulus was a CD-Rom and video featuring professional footballers and managers talking about the problems of racism in sport. School pupils were invited to make their own campaigning poems, short stories or posters.

In last year's competition, East Dunbartonshire won four prizes in three of the competition categories. Racism features prominently in citizenship and personal and social education classes.

Head of education John Simmons says teachers must be aware of new laws and must be able to offer a proactive educational approach to the prevention of discrimination. The key aim, he believes, is for everyone to promote racial equality and adopt "a consistent, fair and just approach".

Mary Munro, headteacher of Castlehill Primary in Bearsden, whose P7 pupil Sandip Kaur won a prize in the 8-10 years category for her poem, sees participation in the competition and the heightened awareness of racism it brings as enhancing the general spirit of inclusion. "It's all about developing good, positive attitudes about everyone's differences," she says.

In Kirkintilloch, Holy Family Primary P7 pupil Kara Ballantyne (now at Lenzie Academy) won in her category for a poem which has become a popular rap at school: "Black is black. White is white. Black is wrong, white is right, according to the people who think this is true. Well listen up guys, `cause I've got news for you ."

Lynsey Harper, of Clober Primary in Milngavie (now at Douglas Academy), combined pictures and prose to make a visual poem.

Last year more than 100 Scottish schools entered the UK competition. This year an exclusively Scottish competition will be run.

To register for the competition, see or tel 0131 225 6244

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