After becoming aware of some negative impact on local people after the EU referendum, Christ Church Upper Armley School decided to put on a 'Diversity and Unity Day'.
School governor and Vicar of Christ Church, the Revd Arani Sen, said, “Following the EU Referendum, parents of different ethnicities came into school and said they felt unsafe in their neighbourhood, as they’d been abused racially or told to ‘go home’. Some year 5 children had also picked up negative comments about other faiths outside school.
“As a result, acting head teachers, Deidre Brooks and Cat Barnes decided to celebrate the diversity of the school and local community by holding a ‘Diversity and Unity Day’. They put on food, dance, music, art, dress and craft from diverse cultures and created an atmosphere of fun, global education and an ethos of openness and tolerance.
“It was an inspirational day. There was a very happy atmosphere as the children and parents celebrated the cultural diversity of this parish”.
Deidre Brooks says, “We’re very glad that parents said they felt safe and comfortable in the school, they see it as an oasis of calm and acceptance”.
Arani Sen adds, “Visitors always comment on the children’s good behaviour and their respect for each other. Children from different faiths and backgrounds forge strong friendships and it is refreshing to see such a high level of community cohesion occurring naturally in the school.
“In the light of recent events year 5s also had a discussion with their teacher, and agreed that different faiths all live together happily and all are equal in the sight of God.”
Christ Church Upper Armley School, is in a very culturally diverse, inner city area of Leeds. Famous alumni include Alan Bennett and Barbara Taylor-Bradford. Today half the children have English as their second language, and 22% are from other faiths. The school actively promotes Christian values of tolerance, respect and compassion for others, and works closely with the local church, Christ Church.