St Thomas of Aquin’s RC High School

Achieved Fairtrade Status: December 2008

St Thomas of Aquin's High School has been involved in promoting Fair Trade since 2003 with the range and scope of activities growing each year.  A Fair Trade group was established in 2007 and is made up of pupils from S1-S6.  During Fairtrade Fortnight each year, special focus is given to Fair Trade in Geography, Modern Languages and Religious and Moral Education. A Fair Trade themed assembly is delivered to each of the four Houses and these assemblies have an input by the pupils themselves.   Activities include "Beat the Gorgeous Gorilla Goalie" event and a Fair Trade bake sale and stall. 

The Group also runs a Fair Trade stall each term. The proceeds of one were used to sponsor two African orphan school children at the Railway Children's Primary School in Kampala, Uganda.

In May 2008 the City of Edinburgh Council hosted a COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) meeting of councillors across Scotland with a remit for Education which was attended by the Minister of Education.  St. Thomas of Aquin's S6 pupils and an accompanying member of staff were invited to the meeting to give a presentation on Fair Trade activity within the school and take questions. The school was congratulated on their enthusiasm and promotion of Fair Trade.

In 2007 with encouragement from the Edinburgh Fair Trade City Initiative, the school decided to work towards achieving Fairtrade status. After a lot of hard work and commitment Fairtrade School status was achieved in December 2008 and in doing so St. Thomas of Aquin's High School became the first school in Edinburgh to achieve this prestigious award.

In February 2009, a Private Members' Motion was put forward in the Scottish Parliament congratulating the school on achieving Fairtrade Status. The school was also awarded the Lord Provost's Award for the "Best Fairtrade School" as part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2009 celebrations.  To celebrate, St Thomas of Aquin's Fair Trade Group in co-operation with the Edinburgh Fairtrade City Initiative hosted a Fair Trade Showcase for all Edinburgh schools in March 2009. The event was very successful with primary and secondary schools from across the city showcasing their Fair Trade work. Approximately 150 people attended on the evening, with the Fairtrade School award being presented to St. Thomas of Aquin's by the Fairtrade Foundation.  The evening was completed by Alex Chamas, our invited Guest Speaker from Bolivia, reminding everyone present of the real difference Fair Trade makes to communities in the developing world. Our next big event was in July 2009 when we took part in an Eco Festival event being held by the City of Edinburgh Council.

St Thomas of Aquin's continues to work hard to promote Fair Trade with pupils and teaching staff, and to get publicity and press coverage for their activities.