Matthew Quinn: The First Head Teacher to Buy a Koolskools Fairtrade Cotton Polo!

Head-Teacher1Koolskools are undertaking a series of Fairtrade cotton garment summer sales evenings at their client schools. For the readers with children of school age they will know that it is uniform buying time for the 2012/13 school year. We are happy to report that the season has gone very well. Koolskools are receiving tremendous support from client schools, all of whom have engaged with Fairtrade cotton. Perhaps our successes in this year’s summer Fairtrade cotton sales evenings has something to do with the momentum generated by the Fairtrade Foundation’s “Step Back to school in Fairtrade cotton” campaign, another laudable Fairtrade Foundation initiative that helps companies like ours to keep schools focussed on the benefits of introducing Fairtrade cotton to their uniform. One school that has pulled out all the stops to embrace our project is Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville, Hampshire. Oaklands is a Fairtrade school. Our first contact with them came towards the end of 2010, when their Deputy Head, Dervla McConn-Finch, informed us that the Head Teacher, Matthew Quinn, liked our Fairtrade cotton polo samples and wanted to offer an ethically manufactured Fairtrade cotton, Oaklands-embroidered PE polo choice to parents. Importantly for Fairtrade education and engagement at the school, Mr Quinn was very keen that the promotion of the Koolskools polo shirt was done through the school’s Fairtrade group, led by Mr Mugeni Sumba. This was a very logical extension of the education work we had already done at the school by rolling out our Fairtrade presentations to every Oaklands Year group. Koolskools does this with every existing and potential client school as a free but important add-on to the supply of the Fairtrade cotton garments themselves. Our mission is to ensure that the students in our client schools not only wear the Fairtrade cotton school uniform, but that they really understand why the school has made the ethical/Fairtrade cotton school uniform choice. So we are proud to say that the students in our client schools are really engaged with Fairtrade cotton. So, as we do in many other schools, we have teamed up with Mr Sumba and his Fairtrade group over the past 18 months. We presented to the Oaklands Fairtrade team, and its members are now helping to spread the word amongst the pupils. Fast forward to the Oaklands new intake parents evening on 16 July 2012. There was a real buzz about the packed school hall following a characteristically uplifting speech from Matthew Quinn. We were at the same time surprised and delighted that Matthew then made a real Fairtrade cotton statement by coming straight over to the Koolskools stand to be the first Head Teacher ever to buy a Koolskools Fairtrade cotton garment! This was not just for show. He liked the softer feel of the Koolskools polos and the extra cotton content, making it for him the perfect garment to wear in the gym and while cycling. He also liked the competitive price! As you can see from the attached photo, the polo is getting plenty of wear!

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