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St Aidan’s School in Brookfield get Yellow Flag renewed for leading the way on equality

St Aidan’s has become an example to the entire community by securing a Yellow Flag from the Irish Traveller Movement for its work on equality according to Dublin South West TD and Independent Minister, Katherine Zappone.

The Yellow Flag Programme provides a practical series of 8 steps that brings issues of interculturalism, equality and diversity into the whole-school programme and allows schools to apply them to the day to day running of the school.

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Pictured above is the presentation by students from Schools Diversity Committee, rap and song by Le Cheile music group to Dublin South West TD and Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone during the Yellow Flag Ceremony.

It works with students, staff, management, parents and wider community groups so that issues of diversity and equality are not merely seen as “school subjects” but can be understood and taken outside the school setting into everyone’s personal lives.

The Stages of the Yellow Flag Programme are:

1. Intercultural and Anti-Racism Training for Staff and Management

2. Involvement of Local Community Groups

3. The Diversity Committee

4. Intercultural Review

5. Action Plan for a Diverse School

6. Monitoring and Evaluation

7. Curriculum work

8. Going beyond the School’s Walls: Engaging with the Community

Over the course of the school year, all classes in St Aidans from Junior Infants to Sixth Class work on this project.

The programme works with staff, students, management, parents and other community groups, so that the issues of diversity and equality are not just viewed as school subjects.

These issues can be taken outside of school and combined within the wider community.

Minister Katherine Zappone with Ciaran O'Ceallaigh of NUI Maynooth, Anne Walsh of the Yellow Flag Steering Group member & representative from National Youth Council of Ireland, Paula Madden Yellow Flag Co-ordinator and Bernard Joyce the Director of the Irish Traveller Movement during celebrations at St Aidan's Brookfield.
Minister Katherine Zappone with Ciaran O’Ceallaigh of NUI Maynooth, Anne Walsh of the Yellow Flag Steering Group member & representative from National Youth Council of Ireland, Paula Madden Yellow Flag Co-ordinator and Bernard Joyce the Director of the Irish Traveller Movement during celebrations at St Aidan’s Brookfield.

Minister Zappone visited the school this week to present students, parents, staff and campaigners with the flag.

Speaking at the ceremony Minister Zappone said:

“It is my firm hope that the fantastic work being under-taken with 458 students here in St Aidan’s will spread beyond the school grounds and have a positive impact in the wider Brookfield Community.

“As you will be aware the Yellow Flag Movement which is now in its sixth year has spread to 60-schools and is impacting on the lives of over 22,000 children.

“However it is also true that 3 out of 10 pupils surveyed by the Irish Traveller Movement last year experienced racism.

“This underlines the importance of the Yellow Flag Programme which has shown that young people reject division, barriers and hate.

“Indeed the same research found that 85% of young people would like their school to celebrate different cultures, language, religions and identities.

“In St Aidans I know you are providing leadership in that regard, the aims of the programme are to be applauded.

“It is my hope that many more schools will follow the example here in St Aidans.

“I know too that the issue of Traveller ethnicity is a key one for the Irish Traveller Movement.

“It is a question which has again been the subject of recent media and is to be considered by the Government in the drafting of a new inclusion strategy.

“As a lifelong campaigner for equality, justice and fairness for all let me be absolutely clear.

“The State must recognise the ethnicity of the Traveller community.

“In addition the state should commence a dialogue with Traveller representative groups about legislation required to ensure that Travellers Human Rights are adequately protected.

“Those are my long-standing well-established views and I have made them known to the Taoiseach and the Government.”