Primary pupils learn about diversity

Schoolchildren in County Durham and Gateshead have been getting to know their regional neighbours as part of a project to recognise cultural diversity.

Dozens of Year 4 pupils from primary schools across the two areas got together to talk about where they live and who they would like to have as neighbours.

The youngsters took part in a series of workshops at an event organised by Durham County Council and Gateshead Council as part of the My Neighbour and Me project.

The initiative aims to build links between North East schools and encourage youngsters to explore the different communities that make up the region.

They also heard about the economic importance of having strong, cohesive communities and how employees with strong intercultural skills can help businesses grow.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “It’s important that our young people recognise that we live and work in an interconnected world.

“Some of our communities are not particularly diverse and projects such as My Neighbour and Me help our children understand that they live in a region that benefits from the skills and investment of many different community members.”

The group of 168 youngsters aged nine and ten-years-old learnt about language, geography, cultural traditions and cuisine in sessions which focussed on a range of North East communities including those deriving from Sri Lanka, China, France, Japan, India and Poland. There was also a workshop on North East history and culture.

Many of the schools worked together in advance of the event and it is hoped they will maintain the relationships formed.

The participating schools in County Durham were Delves Lane Primary, Easington Church of England (C of E) Primary, St Oswald’s CE Primary, Escomb Primary, Prince Bishops Community Primary, Cockfield Primary and Bishop Ian Ramsey C of E Primary.

The participating schools from Gateshead were Crookhill Community Primary, St Augustine’s RC Primary, Emmaville Primary, St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School in Birtley, Oakfield Junior, Chopwell Primary and Fell Dyke Community Primary.