Cornwall takes a pointed look at diversity

16th March 2007 at 00:00
(Photograph) - Getting pupils to appreciate cultural diversity can be tricky in one of the least diverse areas of Britain, but this is the challenge for Cornwall, which has been criticised by Ofsted for doing too little to combat racism, writes Helen Ward.

The authority has launched a Celebrating Difference scheme to encourage children to think about diversity and discrimination. Twenty primary schools will carry out projects addressing issues such as why difference matters or how diverse we are. Pupils will put the results of their work on a website to share with other Cornish schools.

Each project begins with a visit from CragRats, a company specialising in accelerated learning techniques. They will perform a 30-minute play about three children who are asked to do a project on diversity. As the city boy, country girl and traveller girl work together, they discover they all have different outlooks and those differences make their team stronger.

As pupils at Trenode primary in Widegates explored the issues (pictured), Chris Simes of CragRats said: "The play says we are all different in one way or another."

After the play and a workshop, teachers will explore race, gender and disability in different subjects. In history lessons at Pondhu primary, St Austell, Year 5 children will look at immigration and emigration in the Victorian era. At St Martin-in-Meneage primary, near Helston, children will work on the topics in dance and drama.

While 7.5 per cent of Britain's population were not born here, 4.1 per cent of people living in Newquay, the most diverse town in Cornwall, and 2.2 per cent in St Austell are from abroad. Photograph:Apex News Pictures

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