Ethical Reading exists to motivate attention to ethical considerations and to improve understanding of them, with the ultimate aim of improving action. Most of the people with whom Ethical Reading has worked so far have been already in work or retired. In 2021, Ethical Reading began work on a new programme, Education and Ethics, in order add a focus on people still in education.
People can become better at noticing relevant ethical considerations. People can get better at understanding what ethical considerations favour or disfavour. And people can get better at dealing with moral conflicts, when different ethical considerations pull in different directions. Such skills are so important that developing them should start early. This is why Ethical Reading started its Education and Ethics programme.
Ethical Reading’s Education and Ethics programme currently has two strands. One is aimed at secondary school students. The idea for the initiative was first proposed by Margaret Gardner. She thought that some of Ethical Reading’s partner organisations would relish working with secondary-school students. So Ethical Reading asked Leighton Park School whether students would benefit from meeting with businesses in this area. An enthusiastic yes led to a new scheme, implemented this past academic year, for Leighton Park School’s A-level Business students to work in groups to interview staff at NatWest and Grant Thornton about the ethics of company policies.
For the next academic year, Leighton Park School and Ethical Reading want to increase the number and diversity of students offered the opportunity to be involved, and to increase the number and diversity of companies involved. Hence, Leighton Park School and Ethical Reading will be co-hosting a one-day Ethics in Business Fair, at which many different businesses will each have a table in a large hall, and students will then go from table to table to interview company representatives about ethical issues in their businesses. Students from many different secondary schools (state and independent) will be invited, including not only A-level students in Business, Economics, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, but also BTech, IB, and GCSE students.
Leighton Park and Ethical Reading share the long-term goal of establishing a network between Reading-area schools and businesses—a network designed to enable secondary-school students to gain a much better understanding of the role of ethics in business.
The other strand in Ethical Reading’s Education and Ethics programme is a joint venture with the University of Reading. This second strand consists of establishing a competition for the best University of Reading undergraduate essay on ethics relevant to business. The aim of establishing this Undergraduate Ethics Essay prize is to motivate and celebrate undergraduates’ interest in ethical issues connected to business.
In 2022, a competition was run by the University and the prize of £250, generously funded by NatWest, was presented by the University’s Vice-Chancellor to the winner, Daisy Theophilus. Grant Thornton volunteered to sponsor a lunch in the Daisy’s honour, which was attended by Daisy and her parents, the Vice-Chancellor, representatives of NatWest, Grant Thornton, and Ethical Reading, the judges for the competition, and Reading’s mayor.
If you want to know more about or want to comment on Ethical Reading’s Education and Ethics programme, please contact [email protected].