Students meet the mark when it comes to Fairtrade

THE efforts of staff and students at Ponteland High School to support the cause of farmers and suppliers in the Third World have been recognised.

It has received Fairtrade School status, which enables it to use a Fairtrade logo on its letterhead. The school has also been given a certificate to mark its achievements.

Ponteland High qualified for the award after submitting a bid in December, showing how it was spreading the Fairtrade Foundation message in lessons and special events as well as selling Fairtrade products in school.

Everyone at the school has been involved in raising awareness in support of the movement’s bid to secure fairer prices, decent working conditions and sustainability for producers in developing countries.

Activities have included BTEC Business students delivering a Fairtrade presentation to senior members of staff to secure whole-school support for the organisation, a community coffee morning for the cause organised by Year 13 Business students as part of their coursework and pupils running activities for younger children from the area’s other schools.

Associate Headteacher Anita Brown said: “This is a very important campaign and students and staff are very committed to what the Fairtrade Foundation is trying to achieve. We have set up a cross-curricular team to explore ways in which Fairtrade can be part of every subject area so that our students can see how simple changes they may make to their lifestyle, such as taking care over the products they and their family buy, can have a global impact.”

The school is currently preparing for another round of events to raise awareness of the movement’s aims during Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from February 27 to March 11.

Teacher Mark Tippins, who co-ordinates the activities, said: “The work of the Fairtrade Foundation is hugely important in lifting communities in developing countries out of poverty, not with handouts or charity but by giving them the opportunity to build sustainable and valued trade links.”

The Ponteland Fairtrade Steering Group is waiting to hear if its application for Fairtrade Town status has been successful.