Cumbria - Islamic exchange fosters understanding

10th July 2009 at 01:00

Teenagers from an independent Islamic boys' school in north-west London have been sharing cultural insights with pupils from Ulverston Victoria High, thanks to an exchange scheme set up by the Cumbria school.

The initiative is designed to encourage pupils to discuss philosophical issues with those from different backgrounds.

Pat Hannam, head of belief, philosophy and ethics at Ulverston High, said the boys from Brondesbury College in Brent had been talking to the Cumbrian pupils in the wake of the election of a member of the far-right BNP to the European Parliament to represent the North West.

"We felt this tiny bit of work was quite important," Ms Hannam said. "We live in a fairly monocultural environment, and this will deepen intercultural understanding."

Ulverston pupils are due to take their visitors to John Ruskin's estate in Brantwood, near Coniston, in preparation for a debate on a socially just society. Other activities include an assembly for Years 7 and 8 organised by the London pupils.

Brondesbury College offers Islamic studies alongside national curriculum subjects. Ulverston pupils visited London last summer while a group of Brondesbury boys made their first trip to Cumbria in 2007. hw.

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