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  • Northside West

Yellow Flags for local schools

Thursday, 2nd January, 2020 6:00pm
Yellow Flags for local schools

Hansfield Educate Together students and teachers with Dublin West TD, Joan Burton (LAB)

Yellow Flags for local schools

Hansfield Educate Together students and teachers with Dublin West TD, Joan Burton (LAB)

TWO Dublin schools were recognised by TDs and Senators in Leinster House before Christmas for their efforts in challenging racism, celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion.

The schools from the capital were amongst six nationwide that were presented with a Yellow Flag for successfully completing an award scheme that supports interculturalism.

Oireachtas members heard how the schools participated in the eight step Yellow Flag programme, now in its 10th year, by delivering a series of practical actions that ensure prejudice and discrimination cannot flourish within a school environment.

The two Dublin schools that took part were St Mary’s Primary School, Dorset Street and Hansfield Educate Together National School.

“Conscious and unconscious bias, identity based exclusion, the absence of diversity within teaching and school management and a poor awareness of diversity can be detrimental to young people’s education and learning and on their sense of identity and self-belief,” said Shreya Chaturvedi of the Yellow Programme at the event.

“A school’s policy and practice and its compliance with intercultural/anti-racism policies and regulation critically influence daily school life and whether it provides a positive inclusive educational environment.”

At the multicultural ceremony attended by TD Jan O’Sullivan, Cllr Yemi Adenuga and Oireachtas members, attendees spoke of their efforts towards achieving their Flag.

“The Yellow Flag programme provided us with a platform to celebrate and value our diversity, learn from each other, and very importantly it provided the whole school community with the tools and strategies that are essential in order to challenge racism and discrimination in today’s world,” said Fiona Nolan who’s a teacher at St Mary’s.

“It has had a positive influence on plurilingualism within our school.”

A 5th class student of the school David Rostas said: “I felt proud because we celebrated International Traveller and Roma Day in our school.

“I am Roma so this made me proud because we listened to some traditional music and we made posters to put around the school for other children to see and learn from.”

Attendees heard that 87 schools (61 primary and 26 post-primary) has been reached with the Programme – that’s 33,535 students and more than 2,600 teachers.

The Yellow Flag programme aims to support children to develop a sense of pride in their own culture and identity and learn about other children’s culture.

It also allows schools to develop an environment where unfair discrimination and racism is challenged and it encourages active partnership between teachers, students, parents and the community.

On collecting their award Rachel, a pupil of Hansfield Educate Together National School said: “The reason I wanted to be a part of the Yellow Flag committee is because our school is an all-inclusive school and does not teach a specific culture or religion.

“I really wanted to take part in all the different activities that we would do to celebrate all the different cultures and ethnicities.”

Bernard Joyce of the Irish Traveller Movement also spoke at the event.

“On Monday I will be in Geneva with other Irish NGOs for an examination of the Irish state by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,” he said.

“When I talk to those committee members from all corners of the world, I will tell them of the good work being done by schools such as yours, to combat racism. 

“But also of how it is not enough.

“We currently can’t meet the demand from schools looking to take part in Yellow Flag and it is important now than ever before in Ireland that we understand diversity, promote inclusion and challenge racism.

“This programme must reach all schools, and not just schools with mixed and diverse students but equally those who have not.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here