BACK CHAT – Inspiring stories Surprise, surprise!

‘After funding a new outdoor path for the school, our PTA wanted to purchase something a bit more fun! We loved the idea of a circus, and the head suggested holding it on the fi rst day back after the summer holiday as a big surprise. We agreed that this excitement on the fi rst day of term might dispel some of the nerves, especially for new children. We used Circus Sensible, with the cost split 50/50 between the school and the PTA. As it was a surprise, we were all sworn to secrecy! The “Baby Big Top” was erected on the school

More than the money

PTAs share their accounts with us, via Facebook, of inspiring initiatives that weren’t just about making a profi t…

Craft events

‘We’ve held craft events for several years. With an average of £30 profi t, it’s not a massive earner, but our approach is to prioritise the kids’ enjoyment over the profi t margin; we run fairs and music festivals to make big profi ts. We charge £3 per child, which includes materials, a drink and biscuits. The event lasts for an hour and a half, and we take 60 children, from reception up to Year 6. We source materials cheaply and use the school’s resources where possible. Crafts have included decorating mugs, making lanterns with jam jars and painting stones.’ Abbie Brown Middleton, PTFA chair, Walton-Le-Dale Primary School, Preston, Lancashire (450 pupils)

58 AUTUMN 2019

fi eld, in view of the entrance gates so that children would see it as they arrived at school. An hour-long show took place in the tent, followed by workshops throughout the day. There was also some free play where children could try all the circus equipment, including diablos, stilts and spinning plates. Our school is a Quaker school, with a large

part of the ethos being about community and building friendships. Inclusivity is essential to us, which is why the event was held free of charge and in school time. If we had run this as a fundraiser, some children might not have been able to attend on fi nancial grounds. If it had taken place outside school time, some children might not have been able to attend due to parents’ work commitments. The children were amazed and excited, and were talking about the day for weeks afterwards!’ Claire Halstead, PTA secretary, Bootham Junior School, York (130 pupils)

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Mighty mural

‘The school wanted to decorate a room in a way that would appeal to all ages and fi t in with the

school ethos of looking after God’s creation, so we decided that the children would pick 12 animals to form a creation mural. As an eco-

school we wanted the design to promote

protecting and caring for our world too. Our deputy head found our artist, Rory

McCann, through a teacher group on Facebook. Rory took all our aims on board and created sketches, which we quickly approved. Rory began with an assembly and had open sessions throughout the week where each class was invited to observe him paint and ask questions about the process. The excitement level was sky-high as the mural took shape. It has turned an untidy room into a place

of beauty, and it has inspired many children to want to become artists themselves.’ Kelley Phelan, PTA chair, St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School, Maidenhead, Berkshire (423 pupils)

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