THE dedicated efforts of staff and pupils at Forfar Academy have been recognised with the announcement that the school has been awarded the official Fairtrade School Status.
The school has met the strict criteria to achieve the award, bringing together a steering group led by Mrs Helen Waggott of the geography department, and pupils from all year groups.
The group produced a whole school policy and ensures Fairtrade products are served at all school meetings and parents’ evenings. The school must also be committed to selling, using and promoting Fairtrade products with the pupils now running a weekly Fairtrade tuckshop.
Mrs Waggott explained Fairtrade must be taught in at least three different subject areas and to two different year groups. To date this has been achieved in geography, Home Economics, modern languages and art.
Furthermore. the school must promote and take action for Fairtrade at least once a term in the school, and once a year in the wider community.
To that end the group organised a sponsored staff v pupils football match, complete with Fairtrade match ball, and had a presentation from a Fairtrade producer of macadamia nuts from Malawi.
The pupils also visited Whitehills Primary School to see the work they are doing to promote Fairtrade and held a series of events during Fairtrade fortnight.
Speaking of their achievements, which now have to be replicated annually, Mrs Waggott said the Fairtrade project had been a great learning curve for the pupils, which sat well with the new Curriculum for Excellence.
She said: “We first started doing work on Fairtrade about three or four years ago, but I became aware about the Fairtrade School Award about a year ago.
“I attended several meetings run by the Fairtrade Foundation and they were really excellent in providing the support, backing and resources to help us work towards Fairtrade status.
“As a geography teacher, a lot of what we do looks into the background of Fairtrade, looking at the inequalities of world trade, world development, the way we live and the way that people live in developing worlds. It’s really quite appalling, the massive gap that there is. Fairtrade allows us to do something practical about trying to narrow that gap. What started off with a small group of pupils has now grown to at least 15 pupils who have organised a series of events over the years, culminating in the Fairtrade School Status.
Mrs Waggott continued: “The big thing we had last year was when the Fairtrade producer came in to the school and the pupils could see the impact of what they were doing was having. He produced the sugar that was going in to the Fairtrade goods we were selling! That really hit home.
“This also sits well with the new Curriculum for Excellence. The pupils decide what goes on sale, organise the tuck shop, the float ever week; I just over-see it. It is a lot of work, but it is rewarding to know that you are doing something world wide, but the pupils are getting so much from it.”
Mrs Waggott, along with two pupils, are also members of the Forfar and Area Partnership which is working towards making Forfar a Fairtrade town.”