From petitions to documentary-making – how King Ethelbert GCSE students have been campaigning for change

One group of the King Ethelbert students have been campaigning for better beach hut security

Citizenship GCSE students at King Ethelbert School in Birchington have been on the campaign trail to bring about change to the isle and further afield.

The youngsters have been speaking to North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale, raising petitions and researching various topics to highlight issues ranging from a need for more school puffin crossings to calling on the government to end the luxury tax on sanitary products.

Nineteen Year 11 students have worked in groups on the project which forms part of their GCSE studies.

Teacher Danielle Harris said: “The aim of the project is to try and achieve change for the local, or national, community. They have been working on it for a couple of months and will finish next term.

“We have been learning about pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International and how they campaign for their causes. We looked at what was most effective and why and then the students took that knowledge to implement their campaigns.”

Road safety

One of the causes promoted by students has been road safety and the implementation of more puffin crossings outside schools.

Initially the plan was to campaign for the crossing at Birchington primary but this was then widened to all isle schools.

Student Nell Cresdee said: “We have been in quite a lot of contact with the Youth Travel Ambassador scheme and learning about road safety and finding out about the impact on the community.

“If all schools had puffin crossings it would increase safety.”

Fellow campaigner Jade Still added: “We have done a government petition that anyone can sign.”

Patrick Jarman, from the YTA, said: “We are working with secondary schools across Kent, I have had meetings with Jade and Nell to talk about the highways teams and how we look after the roads and improve safety.”

End tampon tax

For students Kacey Coppin, Ellie Woodhouse, Jasmine Clifford and Callum Friend the campaign they have brought into the public eye is the need to end luxury tax on sanitary items.

The group have emailed their petition across the school and say they want Sir Roger to bring the issue up in Parliament.

During their research they also discovered some big supermarkets were tackling the problem head on. Ellie said: “Tesco already pays the tax, instead of passing it on to the customer, so we want to know why other shops can’t do that.”

Kacey said research had uncovered that one in ten females could not afford sanitary products.

Callum added: “Finding out the number of people who couldn’t afford it and sometimes took time out of school or work really shocked us. We found some, but not all, schools gave products out free and that the Red Cross raises money for it. It is important that women aren’t discriminated against for periods when men can get free condoms. We want to help make a change.”

Protect our beach huts

Students Chloe Watler, Shumaya Begun, Sophie Rowe and Tate Barnes concentrated their efforts on campaigning for better Thanet beach hut security.

The youngsters said they came up with the idea following the numerous fires at huts this year and the destruction wrought by the Beast from the East storm in February.

Tate said: “We noticed a lot of beach huts burned down this year but there seemed to be no security. We wanted to campaign for compensation for victims and for making the beach huts safe.”

Chloe added: “My mum is a beach hut owner and the costs and maintenance is £1,000 a year. If it burns down there is no money back, people have to deal with it themselves. We spoke to the Minnis bay hut inspector as hit hut burned down with hundreds of pounds worth of tools inside. We also talked to other victims.”

The group say there needs to be CCTV, patrols and more investigation following incidents of damage or fire.

The students are in the process of making a documentary about their project which will be shared on social media.

Students on the course say the research has made them think about issues such as human rights.

Student William Waldron said: “We have learned about society and how it can be changed.”


  1. Congratulations to King Ethelbert students. Lets see if and when they get older they will fight for free tablets for men with erectile disfunction.- Women get free HRT on the NHS – why. Tax is payable on condoms. -Why. Lets bring in equality.

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