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Cottesmore Academy pupils write letters to raise awareness of effects of palm oil on environment after being inspired by banned Iceland advert




A class of primary school pupils have written letters to readers about the devastating effects of palm oil on the environment.

The Year 5 and 6 class at Cottesmore Academy were inspired after watching the 2018 Iceland advert, which raised awareness of the plight of orangutans as a result of products made using palm oil.

The advert was banned because it was deemed to breach political advertising rules but teacher Billy Wakefield thought the message was important, so shared it with his class.

Cottesmore Academy pupils have been doing a project on palm oil
Cottesmore Academy pupils have been doing a project on palm oil

Mr Wakefield said: “The class were so moved they wanted to do something about it.

“They went home and told their parents but then they wanted to get the message out to a wider audience. That’s when they asked about the newspaper.”

Mr Wakefield got in touch with the Mercury to ask if we would be willing to publish a letter the pupils had written “to educate people about the damage palm oil products are having on the environment”.

A letter by Year 6 pupil Libby Tate
A letter by Year 6 pupil Libby Tate
A letter by Year 6 pupil Libby Tate
A letter by Year 6 pupil Libby Tate

As well as letters, the pupils have also drawn pictures and Mr Wakefield said the issue had become part of every class, with it particularly helping them to improve their English.

Mr Wakefield said: “I’ve never seen the class so enthusiastic about writing and it’s been absolutely amazing.

“It’s really invigorated them knowing their letters would be in the paper and they worked their socks off because I told them we had a deadline set by the Mercury, so we had to work just like reporters do!

Artwork by Cottesmore Academy pupils
Artwork by Cottesmore Academy pupils

“They’re amazed that they can reach a wider audience and really hope readers listen to their message.”

As well as letters, the pupils also wrote a story from the perspective of an orangutan living inside a zoo after his rainforest home had been destroyed.



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