Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by M&S Company Archive.

This resource is part of the M&S 'Making a Mark' suite, about individuals or initiatives that have made a significant impact within M&S in some way. The aim is to show how the actions of one person or group of people can cause changes that affect the lives of ordinary people. It can be used for teaching the subjects and topics shown in the Curriculum Links listed below.

Why not replicate some of the project ideas contained in the Plan A Manifesto in school? (see Downloads in Resources). Or you could use the 100 Commitments and adapt the relevant themes in school. 

Curriculum Links

  • KS2 & 3 Citizenship
  • KS2 & 3 Geography: Human geography

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding of how environmental and ethical issues affect people across the world as well as at home
  • Knowledge of how the various initiatives that make up the M&S Plan A campaign work
  • Skills of researching and questioning the corporate information provided in order to find its relevance to everyday life

Discussion Ideas

Plan A - KS3 Citizenship:

  • Do you believe it is everyone's responsibility to make positive changes? Do you want to make a change, if so what and why? For example, what would you do to improve your school or where you live?
  • What could you do to help a particular group of people in your community?
  • Choose three other video clips summarising some of M&S's achievements towards Plan A commitments so far  (follow the 2012 Manifesto Video in Supporting Links) then in groups discuss which ones affect you the most, either directly or indirectly, and why?
  • Use the Plan A Timeline to see how all the different approaches M&S have taken to sustainability. What do you think M&S should do next, once all the 180 Plan A commitments have been achieved?

Fair Trade -  KS3 Citizenship, KS3 Geography:

  • What is meant by a 'developing country'? How many can you name, and where in the world are the majority of them?
  • What do you think are the main features of a 'developed' country and why?
  • Apart from cotton, what other raw materials can be certified as 'Fair Trade', and which countries do they come from?   (you can check your answers on the Fair Trade Foundation website, see Supporting Links)
  • How many different people, groups or organisations do you think are involved in the supply chain of goods sold in large shops like M&S today?
  • One of the Fair Trade principles is ensuring good working conditions for everyone involved in the supply chain - describe what you think is meant by 'good working conditions'?
Forever Fish - KS3 Citizenship, KS3 Geography:
  • Can you think of any famous people who have campaigned for food or animal related causes? 
  • 80% of all fish consumed in the UK is from only five main species  (see Forever Fish Case Study PDF) - find out what they are. Think about why people prefer those fish to other species, such as mackerel, herring, sole or squid.
  • The Big Beach Clean-up shows how everyone can help to make a difference by doing something very simple. What little thing could everyone do in your school or your community to make it better?
  • Find out if we have any laws in the UK that help us to take care of the planet. They might deal with keeping resources sustainable or reducing environmental impact. Do you agree with them? Who might not agree with them and why?

Recycling - KS3/4 Citizenship:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the following:
    - recycling clothes by making them into other things;
    - donating clothes to charity shops; or
    - swapping clothes with your friends? 
    How many of these have you done yourself?
    Which idea do you think is best and why?
    Who benefits most from each one?
  • What things do you recycle, both at home and at school? 
    Do you know what happens to the stuff in your recycle bin?
    How could we all help to reduce landfill even more?
  • Some countries have banned the disposal of untreated waste in landfill sites, while others hardly recycle anything at all. How can governments be persuaded to change the law in their countries to improve the situation? 

Activity Ideas

Plan A- KS2/3 Citizenship:

  • Work with your class to come up with 100 ideas to help school and students change their behaviour. Think big and small!
  • Share your ideas with other classes then vote on the best 10 ideas.
  • Discuss the following points then write down your ideas:
    - What can you do to help make changes happen?
    - Who should lead the different changes?
    - What needs to be put in place to ensure the ideas are followed up?
  • Download the  text transcript of the Plan A 2012 Manifesto Video (see Resources), then write the script for a video promoting a campaign of your own. You could include names of celebrities that you think might help your cause.

Fair Trade- KS2/3 Geography/Citizenship:

  • Make a list of all the everyday items you can think of that are made wholly or partly of cotton (and not just clothing)
  • Over the course of one week, make a note of every time you see the Fair Trade symbol. Record what type of goods it was attached to, then list them in order of popularity to find out which are most common or the most unusual
  • Find out what your school or local community centre is doing to support Fair Trade principles, then think about what else you could do
  • Design a poster promoting Fair Trade in one of the following areas: textile production; clothing manufacture; food and drinks industry
  • Run a coffee morning, tuck shop or cake stall. Make sure all the things you're selling are Fair Trade!
  • Arrange your class into groups and play the 'Orange Trading Game' (download the PDF from the Traidcraft website - see Supporting Links).

Forever Fish- KS3 Design & Technology: Cooking and Nutrition

  • Use the  Forever Fish Case Study to compare the nutrition information (energy, protein, fat and calcium) for 100g of haddock or 100g of salmon with other foods. Choose one from each of these groups: meat; fruit and vegetables; dairy; processed/'fast' foods.Put them in order of which you think is healthiest .
    NB: check packages or look online if your food doesn't come packaged (or see Supporting Links).
  • Invent a fish recipe using only fresh ingredients (not packaged or processed), and try to make it as healthy as possible. Cook and eat your recipe then review how it looked and tasted, how it could be improved.
  • Draw a picture of the finished product and invent some reviews by diners who ate it in a restaurant.

Recycling- KS3/4 Art & Design:

  • Encourage recycling by designing a public sculpture using old clothes hangers, or other unwanted items.
  • Make a weaving loom using cardboard (see Supporting Links for 'how to' guides). Then use your loom to weave other unwanted materials to make a pattern. 


Landfill - a site for the disposal of waste materials by burying them in the ground
Principles - laws or rules that must be, or are usually, followed
Sustainable able to be continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment
Nutrition - obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.