Fairtrade Fortnight debate with the Lord Mayor of Leeds

Yesterday some of our students, along with students from our sister primary academies, went along to the Civic Hall to meet with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Leeds. 

The morning started off with tea (or juice) and biscuits with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress in the Ark Room, where the pupils had a chance to ask them lots of questions about the Civic Hall and what it was like being Mayor. We were also joined by our Co-operative Academies Trust Director Frank Norris who had organised the day. 

One very popular question was why are there so many Owls in Leeds! The Lord Mayor explained that before there were Mayors, Leeds had Aldermen and the first Alderman of Leeds was Sir John Saville. Sir John Saville's coat of arms had 3 owls on it, and ever since then the Owl has been a symbol of Leeds. 

The Lord Mayor then took us all in to the Council Chamber. He told us all about how a council meeting works, showing us the buttons that Council members use to vote with, how debates are presented and even that Councillors only have 5 minutes each to talk! 

So with the basics down, the students were ready to go with their own debate, about whether schools should only stock Fairtrade products. As it is Fairtrade Fortnight the students had been learning all about Fairtrade and had lots of knowledge and opinions to share. Some of the students had also attended a Fairtrade Conference last month so were brimming with knowledge around the subject. 

One by one students from each Academy stood up and gave their opinion on the matter. Each spoke in depth about why they had made their decision, with many explaining that by buying Fairtrade it meant that no one was being cheated out what they deserved and were treated fairly. Ofcourse with any debate there were opinions on both sides, but after a lengthy discussion the students overwhelmingly voted that having Fairtrade products in schools was a great idea. 

At the end of the discussion Councillor Khan of Burmantofts and Richmond Hill came by to say hello, where he was then asked a series of questions by the students, ranging from parking issues to how to become a Councillor. 

Afterwards the Lord Mayor then took us on a tour around some of the function rooms in the Civic Hall, pointing out places where important things had happened. His favourite spot was where Nelson Mandela had stood when he visited Leeds in 2001 and was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Leeds. Some of the students even got to show off their piano skills with the Lord Mayor. 

The day was brilliant, and the children not only represented the school to the highest level but also had alot of fun doing it. As we left the Civic Hall there was much talk of wanting to become a Councillor, and at least 4 future Prime Ministers!