Yellow Flags for school diversity in Dublin, Cork and Galway
2017-04-01 17:15:09 -
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- Schools praised for addressing racism and fostering inclusion 

By Staff Reporter

Five new schools have been awarded Yellow Flag status for their efforts to address racism, foster diversity and meet equality standards within their schools and local communities.

Minister of State for Communities Catherine Byrne was on hand to honour pupils from Scoil Ghrainne CNS in Clonee, Good Shepherd NS in Churchtown, North Presentation Primary in Cork, Merlin Woods Primary in Galway, and Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown at a multicultural ceremony comprising 66 nationalities in Dublin’s Wood Quay Venue.

To achieve their Yellow Flag, schools must meet specific targets to create an environment where identity- and racism-related bullying is challenged, and diversity and equality are embedded within whole school practice. 

Of the 2017 recipient schools, four out of 10 pupils surveyed at the beginning of the programme reported to have experienced racism at some stage.

“We deliver the tools to schools, pupils teachers and parents to help create a community and future society we all want to live in. [The winning] schools demonstrated the success of that,” said programme co-ordinator Elva O’Callaghan.
 
While the programme has a significant impact on children from different ethnic minorities, O’Callaghan added: “It equally benefits white settled children and their parents who learn about different cultures and break down their own stereotypes. 

“Often children, especially Traveller children who had been hiding their identity in school at the start of the programme, are talking proudly about their culture at the end.”

The sentiment was shared by Caroline McCabe, a parent of Riversale Community College who adjudicated its diversity code competition. 
“I was amazed by the talent of the students in Riversdale,” she said. “They are very proud of their nationalities and identities, and embraced the Yellow Flag Programme full on. As a parent I can really see the positive difference it has made to the atmosphere of the school.”

Established and co-ordinated by the Irish Traveller Movement, the Yellow Flag programme was established eight years ago to help support schools in creating cross-cultural understanding, racial harmony and equal recognition of religious and ethnic traditions to reflect Ireland’s diversity, with school populations comprising over 200 different cultures.

The programme also addresses identity-based bullying by creating a framework for schools to challenge prejudices within the school environment, and helps foster pride in identity for children from different national and ethnic backgrounds, focusing on practical intercultural achievements.
TAGS : schools racism dublin cork galway
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