News and Events

Sixth former organises Fair Trade Fortnight

We interviewed sixth former Jack Taylor who has been working hard this month to bring some of the issues surrounding fair trade to the attention of the whole school community at SRWA. As part of his campaign he planned and taught a few lessons to Year 7 and 8 students. 

What inspired you to run a fair Trade Fortnight in school?

I first came across the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign in January. As my passion for my A-level subjects (Literature, Computer Science, Geography) grows, there comes a stage where I have to look at some of the ethics behind trade, globalisation and tangible & intangible ethics in computing, in order to form a critical viewpoint. What's more, the full extent of the range of Fairtrade products is widely unknown. Footballs, flowers, gold, spices and clothes can all be Fairtrade certified in addition to the common banana and cocoa.

Whilst researching ethics related to my wider reading, I found some truly astonishing facts, showcasing the exploitation of producers in LICs, particularly as this is where the greatest amount of risk occurs in the supply chain. From flooding in Indonesia wiping out farmers' crops, to a reduced bar of chocolate in Asda - producers are the ones who should be rewarded the most, not rich business owners.

Why do you think it is important to educate young people about fair trade?

In an ever-increasing 'knowledge economy' where we are bombarded with facts and news, it is sometimes important to think closer to home - where does our food come from? Are producers treated equally? And has exploitation left its mark on my food? Learning about this topic helps students to establish knowledge of a tangible problem in the supply chain; one which we can work to solve by simply changing the way that we shop in a consumer society.

What have you done to highlight these issues in school?

I have displayed posters around the school with some fellow Year 12 students; the tutor theme for the fortnight has been Fairtrade, involving presentations, films and quizzes; Fairtrade beverages in the staff room and sixth form area; and I have placed posts on the W6 social media pages. Most recently, I have also taught two lessons with a Year 8 class which was great fun, and I have taught a further 3 lessons with 3 different Year 7/8 classes.

How did it feel to be in the teacher’s shoes in front of a class?

Becoming a teacher for 4 or 5 lessons was super scary at first - mainly because of the nostalgic memories of Year 7/8 it brings back to me (which doesn't seem that long ago!). I am really grateful to my Geography teachers for allowing me the chance to teach some Fairtrade lessons, and allow students who had no previous knowledge of the foundation, to now have a stronger grasp on the topic of fair trade.

What steps can we all take to help with this problem?

We can all make a difference, no matter how big or small that may be. Our actions can mean that the people that produce our food, drink, clothes and goods can afford to send their children to school, have access to clean water, and provide for their family using their fair wage. Next time you go shopping, look for the Fairtrade symbol, 'Put Fairtrade in your break', and pass on the knowledge of the benefits of Fairtrade to others who can then do the same. Our small changes make for a cycle of continuous improvement.

"before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world." Martin Luther King Jr.

Well done Jack! Staff and students at SRWA really appreciate all your hard work.

jack taylor