Pupils take action on child slavery

Pupils from Combe St Nicholas Primary deliver presentation to international development experts

Somerset Children’s Parliament winners from Combe St Nicholas C of E Primary School in Chard this week took their campaign to on child slavery to experts on international development. The pupils, who are calling for a new law to be introduced which would require manufactured goods to state whether children had been used in their production, delivered a presentation staff at Development Initiatives in Bristol.

The pupils were invited to the Bristol Office of Development Initiatives, an independent organisation working for poverty elimination, following their success at the Somerset Children’s Parliament in March. The students delivered their winning presentation on child labour last week to 30 members of staff and they will now be working together to see how to advance the campaign.

Tony German, Executive Director of Development Initiatives, who was one of the judges of the Somerset Children’s Parliament said:

“Combe St Nicholas Primary Year 6 gave a great presentation on child labour winning the Somerset Schools Parliament. The children’s campaign for a law to ensure all products are labelled, to show if child labour has been involved, will help us ensure that children are where they should be – in schools, not in factories. It was lovely to see a group of 10 and 11 year olds so well informed, so clear in their thinking and so good at presenting their ideas.  They are bright, interested, articulate, full of idealism and the feeling that they can help make the world a better place.”

School Headteacher Lesley Katner, said:

“Our children feel very strongly about child labour and the importance of education for all children in the world. As a member of the Willow school’s Cooperative Trust, we believe in the importance of playing an active part in society and in taking social responsibility in caring for others. We are very proud of what they have already achieved and as a school we will continue to campaign for a change in the law.“

Students from Combe St Nicholas Primary said:

“We were very grateful for the opportunity to showcase our campaign against child about to a wider, influential audience. As a group, we are passionate about labelling products so that it is clear if child labour has been involved. Even though we will be leaving Combe St Nicholas School soon, we hope to continue our work by keeping in touch with each other and joining the school councils of our new secondary schools.“

Following the presentation the students were rewarded for their hard work with a trip to Bristol Zoo.

For editors

  1. Development Initiatives exists to end absolute poverty.  Through objective, high-quality research and analysis, we inform decisions at all levels that deliver better use of resources. We champion transparency, enable effective use of information and support others to deliver practical tools and systems for people to hold their representatives to account and to inform policy and practice. We have centres in the United Kingdom, Kenya and Uganda and have partners globally including governments, academic institutions, the private sector and citizen representatives. To find out more about our work visit www.devinit.org
  2. Combe St Nicholas C of E VA Primary School is a small primary school located in the heart of the village and is one of five schools within the Willow Schools Cooperative Trust. As part of a topic on the Victorians, a group of students from Year 6 conducted some research on child labour then and now. They felt so strongly about it that they wanted to make it the theme of a law which would require manufactured goods to state whether children had been used in their production. They also produced a short film which can be found here.
  3.  Combe St Nicholas 1

 Names from left to right: Christine Maxwell, Craig, Charlotte, Tarrin, Hazel, Talia and Kevin