Shopping with respect! A case study of Morningside Primary School s Fair Trade campaigning

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1 Shopping with respect! A case study of Morningside Primary School s Fair Trade campaigning

2 The story of Fair Trade at Morningside Primary School Shopping with respect! has been the motto of Morningside Primary School s Fair Trade campaign since the beginning of their engagement with Fair Trade. Morningside Primary School has been involved with Fair Trade for over four years now, gaining their Fairtrade school status in 2012 and renewal of the status in Timeline of the campaign: Idea (2009) Research Introduction to others Engagement of children and staff Campaigning Fairtrade school status award (2012)

3 How did it all happen? A local church had been involved with Fair Trade and in 2009 the idea brought by Roberta Hutton inspired the teachers at Morningside Primary school to get involved. Mrs. Gordon describing how she got others at the school interested in Fair Trade: In the end, it did not take more than giving them a taste! Margaret Gordon, one of the teachers, became very interested and did in-depth research about Fair Trade. She found out that schools would able to be awarded Fairtrade school status by getting the whole school involved. Initially there was some work to be done engaging all members of staff on the topic. It meant that all school supplies of teas, coffees and juices would need to switch to Fair Trade; however many of the employees had their favourite brands and it was not easy to talk them into switching. Eventually, it proved they only needed a taste! Mrs. Gordon decided to take some of the pupils to local shops to find out how many Fair Trade products are available to buy. Much to their surprise, they found a wide range and good quantity of products. Knowing that the local community would be able to buy products easily once they learnt the benefits, they decided to hold their first Fair Trade coffee morning for parents and local community members, which was a great success. What made it all easier was that Morningside Primary School were already doing a lot of education on global issues and development, such as teaching about the Millennium Development Goals set out by the United Nations or issues of child labour. It then felt only natural to set off on the journey of campaigning for Fair Trade both within the school and the local community, and to apply for Fairtrade school status.

4 Campaigning: how did the school spread the word? Wall display containing information about Fair Trade A sign made from the wrappers of Fair Trade products Word of mouth and leafleting to spread information about Fair Trade Speaking to local shops and supermarkets Fair Trade events for parents and local community members Speaking to local community organisations Helping other schools with their Fair Trade campaigning Children Parents Teachers Local community

5 Wide range of activities Children, teachers and parents have been engaged in a great number of activities and events. This has included entertainment and information for parents in their school assembly in the first year of activity, and also putting up a Fair Trade information board. By the third year the whole school was engaged, including the parents. They organised a collection of wrappers from Fairtrade products to make a Fairtrade sign and started campaigning in the community. They were first sharing the information on Fair Trade by talking to everyone in local shops and businesses, and later decided to create information leaflets, which were distributed to all local houses, shops, businesses, churches and the wider public. Their campaigning efforts were very successful as people were pleased to see children so enthusiastic about a topic and were very interested in what the children had to say.

6 Leafleting Parents say: I had no idea about Fair Trade and have now learned so much! Children and teachers distribute leaflets made in their classes, both through posting them through letterboxes and personally handing them out to local businesses, such as petrol stations and hairdressers where they talk with the staff and customers. They also visit other local organisations such as local health centres and Community Trust offices. Many local community members have become interested in what the pupils have to say, and some have come up on their own to ask for more information. Children also engage their families at home. Some of them stick notes on their fridge, asking their parents not to forget to buy Fair Trade products when they re shopping. Parents have commented to teachers: I had no idea about Fairtrade and have now learned so much! The level of interest generated in so many places has proved very rewarding for the whole school.

7 Morningside Primary School poster for Fairtrade Fortnight 2013

8 Major campaigning happens in local supermarkets to inspire them to increase their Fair Trade product range. A teacher and a small group of pupils will visit a local shop, where the pupils will quickly assess how well the store scores in terms of their Fair Trade product range. Children then engage in talks with the store managers about the product range available. Some supermarkets are interested to hear about the pupils support for Fair Trade and want to find ways to develop their range of Fair Trade products. However they ve also found that some store managers are not quite so cooperative; they don t provide the information requested and they don t express an interest in Fair Trade products. Their campaigning efforts are now going to focus on the local ASDA store, the largest local supermarket. The store was chosen because their cooperation and engagement with Fair Trade seems to be behind the other local supermarkets, according to the findings of Morningside Primary School.

9 Morningside Primary School information leaflet

10 Fair Trade in the school curriculum Fair Trade is incorporated in many subjects in order to educate children about the subject as broadly as possible. It s included in Social Studies, Religious Studies, Geography, Art, Technology and Drama classes. Fair Trade information leaflets, used in campaigning, were created in art classes. In their drama class they have put together a play where children themselves played characters benefiting from Fairtrade and those who did not. There was an unfair trade group and fair trade group. The unfair trade group workers had to walk miles and miles for work and water and lacked protective equipment such as special clothing or shoes. Many of them had injuries and there was no hospital to go to or if there was one, it was too far away to get to. The fair trade group then explained and showed the benefits they were yielding from their participation in Fair Trade. They could afford Wellies to protect their feet, education for their children, and a better quality house that would not get washed away with the nearest floods. Through exploring ethical trading, I can understand how people s basic needs are the same around the world, discussing why some Societies are more able to meet those needs than others.

11 Future aspirations Although they have already done so much for Fair Trade, teachers and children at Morningside Primary School know there is much more to be done. They want to engage the local community in order for Wishaw to become a Fairtrade Town and to help North Lanarkshire become a Fairtrade Zone. They want to follow up with their public campaigning and their next step will be to negotiate with the local ASDA store to ask them to consider expanding their Fair Trade product range. They also plan on expanding their help to other schools on their Fair Trade campaigning journeys. One of their key strengths is that pupils who have learnt about Fair Trade at Morningside Primary School can then go on to spread the word at their High School. This will hopefully encourage more schools to work towards Fairtrade status. The teachers feel that their enthusiasm for Fair Trade will stay with them. As one of the pupils said, It s nice to know you re making a difference in somebody s life! It s nice to know you re making a difference in somebody s life!

12 Pupils have their say

13 Morningside Primary School wall displays Alison Bone, pictured here with two Fairtrade Steering group representatives, is another teacher who has provided a great contribution to Fair Trade education at Morningside Primary School. Mrs. Bone updates their website with information about Fair Trade and about the events they re holding. She also contributes to the teaching process and development of the Fair Trade campaign.

14 How did they go about working towards Fairtrade status? As Mrs. Gordon describes, there were a number of challenges in gaining Fair Trade school status, particularly at the beginning. However, they found that the process was well worth the reward. They used the Fairtrade Foundation website in order to gather all the necessary information about how to proceed. They set up a Fairtrade Steering Group, which meets once a month, comprised of teachers and children from every year group in the school. They put together their Fairtrade Policy detailing the principles they commit to and what it means for them to be supporting Fair Trade. They use Fair Trade products at school, learn about Fairtrade in subjects where possible, and organise many events to keep everyone entertained while doing something meaningful. Have you been inspired by the work of Morningside Primary School? Do you want to become a Fairtrade school as well? Here s what s involved

15 The five criteria for becoming a Fairtrade School 1. Set up a Fairtrade steering group 2. Adopt a Fairtrade Policy 3. Commit to Fairtrade products 4. Learn about Fairtrade 5. Take action for Fairtrade

16 The five criteria in more detail 1. Setting up a steering group should involve teachers, catering staff, however most (at least half) should be represented by children or young people attending the school. The steering group should meet at least once a term and keep minutes of their meetings to keep improving on their activities and document what has been achieved. 2. Adopting a Fairtrade policy clearly stating the whole school s commitment to Fairtrade is another important step. It is very useful to have representatives from all parts of school to be engaged in the policy-making as it should be easily shared with everyone in the school. A policy document serves as a guide for everyone s ideas for Fairtrade activities. Policy should be agreed by the school Governors or Board and signed by the Headteacher and at least one pupil. 3. Commitment to Fairtrade products is crucial to achieve Fairtrade status to show and prove commitment. It is easy to switch to Fairtrade products and it also serves as an everyday reminder for everyone using these products at school or at events the school is holding. 5. Taking action for Fairtrade includes organisation of events and campaigning to have your Fairtrade thoughts heard. There should be at least one event in each term and at least one in the Fairtrade Fortnight. 4. Inclusion of Fairtrade in as many subjects and school activities as possible because it can be real fun to learn about Fairtrade. The Fairtrade Foundation website has lots of information, ideas and teaching materials to help schools in their Fair Trade campaigning.

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