Fairtrade celebrates a thousand schools in the UK

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A BOLTON primary school has been awarded the coveted accolade of becoming the 1000th Fairtrade School in the UK.

St Maxentius gained Fairtrade School status after incorporating Fairtrade into the curriculum throughout the past year, with staff and pupils committed to learning about trade across the globe. The award was presented to the pupils and staff at the school by Arun Ambatipudi, a member of the Fairtrade Foundation board and farmer from India.

Clare Bennett, Headteacher at St Maxentius in Bolton, says: ‘We are over the moon at being awarded not only with Fairtrade School Status, but also to have the honour of being the 1000th school.

‘Throughout the year we’ve touched on issues surrounding poverty, social justice and human rights, with pupils being able to explore the complexities of these, develop understanding and become more rounded global citizens. I’m extremely proud of staff and pupils who have worked towards achieving Fairtrade status.’

Fairtrade has been incorporated into every part of the school curriculum from PSHE to maths, from discussions on how much farmers are paid in the developing countries, to the amount of Fairtrade ingredients needed for a cake. Pupils held community events and encouraged school cooks to use Fairtrade ingredients.

Arun says: ‘It’s wonderful to see children across the UK learn about trade justice and the difference Fairtrade can make to those at the other end of the supply chain. In my community the Fairtrade premium is helping with diversification and food security – helping to train farmers in more sustainable practices – as well as with education and healthcare.

‘I want to congratulate St Maxentius for all their hard work in gaining Fairtrade status, and hope to see more schools taking on the rewarding challenge of becoming a Fairtrade school.’

The Fairtrade schools scheme, implemented in 2007, is a national initiative by the Fairtrade Foundation to engage young people in development issues and help tackle global poverty through trade. As of July 2013 there were more than 5,000 schools registered as working towards the Fairtrade school status.

Being a Fairtrade school means that young people understand how trade works and how we can work together, to make it fairer. Schools use and promote Fairtrade products, and also take action for Fairtrade in their local communities. By planning and running events to promote Fairtrade young people gain confidence and develop enterprise skills.

Katheryn Wise, Education Officer at Fairtrade Foundation, added ‘Reaching this landmark demonstrates not only the huge commitment and enthusiasm of young people, their teachers and everyone in schools across the UK, it’s also testament to the appeal of Fairtrade, as a serious topic for classroom discussion, and as an engaging activity around the whole school. Most importantly, it shows that the everyday decisions of everyone – no matter what age – really do matter.’

For more information, images or interviews, please contact: donna.simpson@fairtrade.org.uk /020 7440 7692