Inspiring co-operative enterprise through education

Clackmannan St Serfs Primary

Primary pupils wanted to see how their enterprising co-operative activities could support less fortunate pupils in another country. Through discussions with CETS and involvement of the local community, pupils planned to establish their own co-op.

CETS resources were used in the classroom to help the P5 pupils understand what Fairtrade was all about. We also explored the Ethco website to find out about the millennium development goals.

The first task they engaged in was to find out what they already knew about co-ops, Fairtrade and which countries supplied some of the products which have the Fairtrade labels. They then discussed what they wanted to find out, how they would do this and then how they would share with others what they had learned. Some of the subsequent learning involved discussions around what their "needs" and "wants" were and what was the difference! Pupils were surprised to learn that banana workers only got 1p for every banana sold in the supermarket for 30p! (a very useful classroom activity can be found here).

After all this background work, pupils set up their own co-operative stationary shop with a loan from the school. They purchase Fairtrade products (click here to see examples of what they bought) to sell to other pupils, with profits used to buy more stock with a view to expanding their business into other products once they had repaid their loan. They adopted the democratic principles of one member, one vote.

The areas of the curriculum the teachers were able to cover included Global Citizenship, Sustainability and Enterprise. Of course Numeracy and Literacy were used in practical ways throughout the project in the course of running a profitable business.