STAFF and students are celebrating after becoming the first secondary school to be recognised as a Fairtrade school.
English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road, has become only the second school in town to achieve the accolade.
The first was Fens Primary School.
The Fairtrade initiative helps improve the lives of millions of producers and farmers in developing countries.
Staff and pupils at English Martyrs have been working hard for the past 18-months to meet five goals:
l Set up a Fairtrade school steering group.
l Write and adopt a Fairtrade Policy.
l A commitment to selling, promoting and using Fairtrade products as much as possible.
l The whole school learns about Fairtrade in at least three subjects in each of two year groups.
l The school promotes and takes action for Fairtrade at least once a term in the school and once a year in the wider community.
Fairtrade School Status is awarded by the Fairtrade Foundation to schools who are committed to Fairtrade.
It means the school uses Fairtrade products, leans how global trade works and takes action in school and the wider community.
Michael Lee, headteacher at English Martyrs, said: “I am very proud English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College has been recognised as a Fairtrade School.
“I would like to pay tribute to the students and members of staff who have worked hard to earn us this recognition.
“I believe Fairtrade status sends out a very strong message about fairness and justice which we need to keep in the forefront of our minds, especially in these difficult economic times.”
The school has a Fairtrade tuck-shop run by students while Fairtrade tea, coffee and other refreshments are used throughout the school.
Students are also taught about the issue in a range of lessons and there have been a range of events raising awareness outside of school.
They include stalls in supermarkets, a fashion show and students visiting primary schools to teach children about Fairtrade.
Daniel Marshall, a member of the Fairtrade school steering group, said: “It’s very rewarding to get this award, especially after the 18-months hard work we’ve put into it.
“I’m sure everyone in the school will reap the benefits from it, especially as we’re the first secondary school Hartlepool to gain the award and with Hartlepool being a Fairtrade Town as well.”
Martin Green, chair of Hartlepool’s Fairtrade Town Steering Group, said: “It is just terrific that English Martyrs has become the second school in Hartlepool to achieve Fairtrade School status.
“This involves a lot of hard work for both staff and students promoting Fairtrade both inside and outside the school.
“Buying products with the Fairtrade Mark is the only way to guarantee a fair price for farmers in poorer countries in Africa, India and elsewhere enabling them to have a reasonable life and educate their children.”