AN ACADEMY is to lead the way in a bid to tackle religious hate crime and bullying in a joint partnership scheme.

Accrington Academy have helped national campaigners and the Crown Prosecution Service create a hard-hitting DVD and educational resource pack which will be used in schools across the country.

The scheme, which also includes the National Union of Teachers and the Anthony Walker Foundation, has seen academy pupils produce a teachers’ toolkit with classroom activities designed to tackle prejudice.

Pupils helped to devise and acted out the dramatised scenarios of racist and religious incidents in the DVD. They provide starting points for discussion and are based on real life experiences of the young people who took part in the project.

Adeel Malik, a Year 9 pupil from Accrington Academy, said: "We have become a lot more aware of our rights as young people and what we should and should not tolerate. It has become easier to identify these issues now."

Nathalie Whitam, also a Year 9 pupil from Accrington Academy, said: "We've learnt so much about what a hate crime actually is. It's been an empowering experience that has certainly helped us to support others with their hardships."

Koser Mahmood, community cohesion co-ordinator for Accrington Academy, said: "Working with the CPS has been an excellent experience for our students.

“They have grown in both awareness and confidence. It was great to see the CPS really interested in what today's young people are struggling with and giving sound advice that they can use in their everyday lives.

“Racism is an unfortunate reality of our times and by exposing its characteristics and dealing with it head on, a school community can only move forward in a positive way.

Nazir Afzal, north west chief crown prosecutor, said: “The young people who worked on this project with us have been inspirational.

“Their ideas, enthusiasm and willingness to share their own experiences brought the stories in the video clips to life and produced a powerful and thought provoking DVD.”

The Racist and Religious Hate Crime Project containing video clips and classroom activities and guidance for teachers can be viewed on the CPS North West website at the following link