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Food We Eat Challenge St Cedd's School

Inspired by the Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge, students at St Cedd’s School in Chelmsford joined in the campaign to persuade local drinks manufacturer BritVic to produce a Fairtrade soft drink for the first time.

When she announced that Year 5 was going to take part in the Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge, teacher Caroline Picking was overwhelmed by the response – every single year five student wanted to take part.

“It was a great response, we created a weekly rota, with students swapping in and out of the teams so everyone could join in.”

The students quickly set about the challenges, starting with a survey in school, at home and out in local shops to see if people were buying Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance labeled food and drinks. They soon discovered that a major drinks manufacturer was based locally and not a single one of its products was Fairtrade.

“The students thought it would be a good idea to contact BritVic and ask them why they weren’t using Fairtrade – the company wrote back and two representatives of the company came in to talk to the school,” says Caroline.

“They told us they were going to make Robinson’s Pineapple drink Fairtrade as soon as possible,” says Year 5 student Katrina.

The letter writing didn’t stop there. They also wrote to and had a response from Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, on the eve of an international summit on the Millennium Development Goals. The pupils wrote to a number of MPs asking if Fairtrade products were used at the Houses of Parliament and to Ministers about global warming.

Taking part in the Challenge has changed the things that student Tanishq does. “Now when I buy anything I check to see if they are Fairtrade or not, and at home and at school I make sure lights are turned off when they are not being used. I’ve enjoyed working in a team, I’ve learnt lots – it’s been great fun.”

“I decided to do the Challenge because there were so many resources and exciting ideas we could link in to,” says Caroline. “Also the activities were practical and realistic, so the children can actually do things that make a difference. The Challenge has really brought the outside world into the classroom and given them a peg to hang a lot of learning on. It’s helped the students motivate and organise themselves, and challenge their own learning.”

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