Date27 March 2023
On the morning of Monday, 27 March, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Andy Dunbobbin visited Prestatyn High School to take part in the school’s annual Festival of Culture and Diversity. While at the school, the Commissioner also experienced the wide variety of cultures and backgrounds that make up the wider community of Prestatyn. Events to mark the festival are taking place at the school throughout the week from Monday 27th March to Friday 31st March and local primary school pupils are also visiting to join in the fun and activities.
Among the activities the PCC saw were Arabic language, Samba dancing with ex-pupil Chloé Waggett of Co.Creative Performance Company, and Jamaican cooking with local chef and entrepreneur (and also former student) Charlotte Stanley of the Up a Yard Caribbean Restaurant in Holywell. Andy Dunbobbin also met learners from the anti-discrimination student group in front of the school’s newly painted diversity mural, which the school hopes will become a centrepiece of student life. The PCC spent time with the learners, chatting with them about the progress of the anti-discrimination campaign since last summer and he also met younger students who have joined the group more recently.
The work of Prestatyn High School students to promote and embrace diversity was recognised by the PCC last year at his Community Awards, where four Prestatyn High School students – Ameera Ahmad, Karly Larkin, Beth Rhodes, Morgan Wall – won the Young People’s Award for their creation of the‘Discrimination. It stops with me’ campaign. This campaign was developed in 2020 following a conversation between Ameera and the Deputy Head Teacher. Ameera, who at the time was in year 10, raised her concerns around discrimination and cultural insensitivity and this spurred the creation of the group and further action from the school around promoting diversity.
The students’ campaign has driven change and has been a vehicle to demonstrate the school’s commitment to eradicating discrimination and to bring about positive change. It has also helped incorporate a new curriculum within the school curriculum aimed at tackling discrimination, prejudice and bullying. The work has now led to the creation of this new festival and celebration of the school’s lifeblood – the culture and diversity of its students and parents.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, commented: “It was great to visit Prestatyn High School to see all the inspirational work they are doing to ensure the school community is as inclusive, welcoming and diverse as possible. It was also a pleasure to experience the richness of the cultures that make up the wider community of Prestatyn.
“We all want North Wales to be a tolerant and welcoming area for all, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender identity, or disability, and preventing any sort of hate crime is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan. A tolerant society is built on the strong foundation of education. What we learn when we are young helps influence and enrich us for life. I applaud Prestatyn High School for holding this Festival of Culture and Diversity and for demonstrating that all are welcome, all are valued, and all are equal.”
Neil Foley, Headteacher at Prestatyn High School commented: “We as a school are so proud of our young people who are taking a stand against all forms of discrimination. The anti-discrimination group have not only developed a ground-breaking strategy to tackle discrimination, they have led the way in showing all other pupils that young people can make a difference in a most remarkable way. I am honoured to be the headteacher of pupils with such courage and I am delighted that this work is being recognised by the Police and Crime Commissioner and others in our community. I know that this is just the start for our pupils in eradicating discrimination.”
Student Grace Mullan, 15 from Prestatyn, said: “Diversity is what makes us, so let’s celebrate it together. Our leadership team at Prestatyn High School have helped open our eyes to the diversity around us. So, as students, it’s important we help open everyone else’s eyes to the different cultures in our community, and this is what the festival does.”