How they celebrate diversity

15th February 2008 at 00:00
If you didn't fancy taking part in Gaelic football, Indian cookery or Chinese calligraphy at Leith Academy last Friday, you could indulge yourself in some Fair Trade chocolate tasting, salsa dancing, jewellery making, Indian head massage or aromatherapy.

These were only a few of the 23 workshops on offer to pupils as the Edinburgh school celebrated its first Diversity Day in style.

The main event was a stage show with a range of acts from Bollywood dancing to kung fu and Highland dancing, with most of the performances featuring pupils, though the rafters were also raised by the professional pipe and drum ensemble Celtic Spirit.

The idea of Diversity Day was first prompted by the pupil council, which wanted more recognition of the many cultures embraced at the school. It has over 25 nationalities in its student population, with pupils coming from countries as distant and diverse as Guyana, Columbia, Poland and Uzbekistan.

"With the pupil council, we set up a student-staff steering group which involved pupils developing their leadership skills," says Sue Cook, acting depute head. "This included approaching local businesses to support our market place, and other organisations such as Amnesty International, Barnardo's and Oxfam, which set up stalls in the school as well. It was an exciting and successful venture, and a whole team effort involving pupils and staff."

Most of the 900 pupils at the school took part in the day, which also included P2 Highland dancers from St Ninian's Primary and artwork from associate primaries. The large number of workshops was made possible because Leith Academy is a community school and, as such, it can call on the skills of its many night-class tutors.

It is hoped that, after an evaluation, Diversity Day may become an annual event.

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