Hartlepool pupils team up with ex-Newcastle star to help tackle racism

Pupils from the Iris Class at Rossmere Primary School with Cat Hutchinson (rear left) and Olivier Barnard (rear right) from Show Racism The Red Card. Picture by FRANK REID
Pupils from the Iris Class at Rossmere Primary School with Cat Hutchinson (rear left) and Olivier Barnard (rear right) from Show Racism The Red Card. Picture by FRANK REID

School children learned how to help give prejudice the boot in football and society when the UK’s leading anti-racism educational charity paid a visit.

Former Newcastle United star Olivier Bernard joined Show Racism The Red Card at Rossmere Primary School.

Rossmere Primary School pupil Ellie Mae Dunn with Olivier Barnard from Show Racism The Red Card. Picture by FRANK REID

Rossmere Primary School pupil Ellie Mae Dunn with Olivier Barnard from Show Racism The Red Card. Picture by FRANK REID

Around 80 pupils aged between nine and 11 took part in interactive classroom workshops and football fitness sessions outside with Bernard.

Teachers and charity workers said the day was a big success and helped to spread important messages.

The charity says prejudice is on the rise, but despite this racism is not often discussed in schools.

Education worker Justine King from the charity said: “At the moment with a lack of understanding around anti-muslim prejudice and immigration the idea was we are clear with young people about what the isuses facing some people are.

“We had a mix of information and interactive exercises in order to help the children to understand a little more about racism, its causes and the fact that nobody is born racist, it is learned behaviour which can also be unlearned, and what they can do to stand up about that.”

She added: “It really is something they do think about a lot. We were able to have a really honest dialogue to help clear up some words that weren’t racist but they thought they were like ‘black’.

“They also have the opportunity to play with ex professional players and spread that message.

“It was a really good day and I really enjoyed it. I met some real characters.”

Year 5 teacher Adam Pickard said the event was part of Rossmere’s work to help the children to set a good example once they leave school.

Mr Pickard said: “School is not just about passing exams, its also about preparing them for the big wide world.

“The event was very successful and the children got a lot out of it.

“They had a lot of information thrown at them but they have taken a lot of the key messages on board.

“They were enthusiastic in giving answers and they really engaged with it all.”

It is hoped the children will also pass on what they have learned to their families to help spread the message.

The charity delivers training to more than 50,000 people across Britain a year by visiting schools, workplaces and football stadiums.