Hairy Mary helps them feel at home

27th April 2001 at 01:00
The three-year Quality Contact project was set up in 1998 in the catchment area of Menzieshill High and its associated primary schools to try to raise children's self-confidence through broadening their personal experiences and connecting to the wider Dundee community.

Suzanne Zeedyk, project evaluator, describes it as "a multi-layered initiative which uses drama, art and media to increase self-esteem". For example, pupils from Charleston primary developed their own animated film, Hairy Mary.

It involves two departments of the city council - education and neighbourhood resources and development - in cllaboration with Glasgow and Dundee universities and funded by Derwent Consultancy.

The project has focused on primary 6-7 and the first year of secondary. Its study of concerns about transfer to secondary and improving liaison between the primary and secondary sectors stems from involvement with children in an attempt to raise their confidence and aspirations, as well as their parents'.

Fraser Patrick, director of neighbourhood resources, said: "One of the most important features has been the collaboration between universities and local authorities and between local authority departments."

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