SCHOOLCHILDREN in Gourock are sending out a message of hope and understanding to replace the scourge of sectarianism.

St Ninian's Primary welcomed campaigning charity Nil by Mouth as part of their groundbreaking project looking at the causes and impact bigotry can have.

Using Teresa Dreslin's novel Divided City, the pupils have been exploring symbols, flags, football clubs and organisations often used to sow the seeds of sectarianism in society.

Anti-sectarian campaigners hope this new generation can grow up to turn the tide on an issue which has been causing renewed concern of late.

Ten-year-old Caitlin Train said: "We have learned a lot about sectarianism and we looked at the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers.

"We looked at bigotry and what happens to people because of it.

"We all have a right as children to be safe and have our rights respected.

"Sectarianism needs to stop.

"We are all equal and everyone has rights."

There was no stone left unturned by the primary seven and primary six/seven class at they explored the confrontational issues that fuel sectarianism.

Class teacher Rebecca Oliver put them into groups to learn about the origins of the Irish Tricolour and the Red Hand of Ulster.

They also looked at football clubs Celtic and Rangers and the Loyal Orange Lodge..

Nil by Mouth education officer Jamie Lithgow said he was delighted to speak to the schoolchildren and get his anti-sectarian message across.

He said: "We have been going for 20 odd years now but the charity is needed now more than ever.

"We can never be complacent about sectarianism.

"The school in Inverclyde are very supportive of what we do."

Head teacher Lesley McCabe said: "The workshops from Nil by Mouth are very worthwhile and enhance the children's learning opportunities, raising further awareness of the issues surrounding sectarianism within our society.

"They enable the children to address their personal attitude, views and experiences, challenge other people's in a non-confrontational way and it empowers them as we develop their skills for learning, life and work."