SCHOOL pupils have been learning about different religions as part of a week-long campaign to promote understanding.

Youngsters at the Deanery, a Church of England school, were given an insight into Sikh teachings and the Hindu festival of Diwali during the nationwide Inter Faith Week.

The school started with Christianity because the week started with Armistice Day.

Head of RE Sarah Stewart organised the event. She said: “It’s a way of opening dialogue between different communities and faith groups. It’s a way of educating people about how other communities and other faiths may do things and also recognising what’s common between them.

She added: “It’s important to breakdown stereotypes that people might have about certain faith communities. I think it gives them greater knowledge of a wider world that they might not be exposed to.”

Dawinderpal Singh, an educator for Everything 13, was invited to speak to the children about Sikhism.

He said: “It happens to be the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak who is the founder of Sikhism and it just seems to be a happy coincidence that it’s the same day as I’ve been invited here.

“I taught them about the concept of selfless service and not expecting anything in return. I love doing interfaith work. All the children have been brilliant, they’ve been very open minded and have had a lot of questions. Seeing them get involved and sitting on the floor to eat was a really nice surprise.”

Year 7 pupil Imogen, 11, found the exercise valuable. She said: “The speaker explained to us what Sikhism is all about and why it’s important to him.

“For them to also help the homeless as part of their beliefs is very selfless, they’re giving up their time to give people food. I’ve enjoyed learning about other religions, it’s all very interesting.”

Classmate Madison, 11, said: “Even though you may not believe in what others do you have to respect that and be kind to people. It’s not just Christians who believe in God, Sikhs believe in God too so in some ways they are quite similar.

“I think it’s good to learn about them good relations between religions by highlighting good work done by local faith groups, helping to develop integrated and neighbourly communities and celebrating diversity as well as commonality. It started in 2009 following the publication of a government strategy to bring people of different faiths together and has grown to include debates, workshops and exhibitions.