What the HSA Committee talked about…

…on Wednesday 9th March.

It was great to see so many parents from this year’s Reception classes show up for the meeting – and a Cygnus parent, Irene (mother of Meadow) has stepped up to organize a healthy snack stall for Sport Relief on Friday 18th March. Thank you, Irene, the day is duly saved. Please, everyone, help her out by donating as many tantalizing-yet-sportingly-nutritious refreshments as you can muster (okay, popcorn is fine! And fruit kebabs never, ever, ever lose their appeal).

Don't be a Messi eater for Sport Relief...

Don’t be a Messi eater for Sport Relief this Friday…

...Go a whole bunch healthier with Cristiano.

…go a whole bunch healthier with Cristiano and the Tufnell Park Healthy Snack stall.

The HSA committee is still thin on the ground, though: more people are needed to take charge. Clearly, plenty of parents from the new intake are now thinking seriously about how they might like to get involved, which is great. For a start, do come along to the Tufnell Park Tavern on Wednesday 20th April at 8:00pm for an informal get-together with drink and food provided.

We’ll also be detailing vacancies widely and regularly from now on – in PACT folders, on the HSA noticeboard at school, by email and on this site. For instance, there must be SOMEONE on our parent body who can design our twice-termly, two-sided, A4 newsletter…! If you’ve never seen one, that’s because production has stopped until a designer can be found.  Here’s what they used to look like before the parent who designed them left (we’ve still got the writer):

HSA half-termly newsletter June-July 2015

Has anyone out there got InDesign at home? Could you do your own version? Get in touch!

It also became clear that lots of parents still do not know about this blog, or that you can follow us on faceBook. Please, if you ever talk to a Tufnell Park parent who declares themselves baffled about school events, urge them to check it out. They need never be in the dark again.

Our kids showed on Friday afternoon what brilliant little gardeners they can be - bring them along on Sunday 20th March at 1:30 to plant crops in the earth they've dug.

Our kids showed at Give & Gain last Friday afternoon what brilliant little gardeners they can be. Bring them along on Sunday 20th March at 1:30 to plant crops in that freshly-dug earth.

Other big agenda items included Family Farm Day (Sunday 20th March from 1:30pm), and the first Summer Fair planning meeting, 2:00pm on Friday 27th April in the school lobby. A final decision was made about the Summer Fair theme: “Cowgirls & Cowboys” – yeeeeehah!

Finally, there was a lively discussion about possible Learning Treats for this year and next. It’s a great shame that we’ve only managed one so far in 2015/16, compared to three each year in 2013/14 and 2014/15. With luck, some of the great ideas people came up with – ranging from recycling and the environment to orchestral music – will come to speedy fruition, if there’s a parent championing the cause.

Give & Gainers dig the way…

With giant sleepers to be sawed, Tufnell Park's unstoppable grounds manager showed the volunteers how.

With giant sleepers to be sawed, Tufnell Park’s unstoppable grounds manager showed the volunteers how.

Have you thought about how much spinach we’re going to have to plant next Sunday to feed everybody at our feast in July? We have!

We’re going to need plenty of extra raised beds, and those we have required repair. We had hoped that the Thames Water engineers who volunteered at the school last June (led by Andy Ollard, husband of our own Kim in Cygnus) might return in March, but another charity had already snapped them up.  What to do?

Enter teams of volunteers from the offices where two different Tufnell Park parents work: Santander and BMJ. Both companies have Corporate Responsibility programmes that include “Give & Gain” volunteer days, for which they allow their staff to use a working day to help out charities and community organisations.

The parents applied on Tufnell Park’s behalf… and 20 cheerful and hardworking volunteers turned up at the school today to dig, saw and carpenter the extra space we’ll need for our major growing project beginning next weekend.

We can’t thank them enough – nor all of the parents and staff (with special freelance help from Ms Pavey) – who planned, lent, cooked, calculated, ordered goods and worked in so many ways to make the day a success.

The kindness of strangers… and friends

Is there some sort of medal we can give this lovely lady? Look at all those supplies she's helped the school to buy.

Is there some sort of medal we can give this lovely lady? Look at all those supplies she’s helped the school to buy.

Our ambitious Give & Gain project this year got off to a head start with a giant preparation day on Saturday.

We had incredibly encouraging support from two commercial partners.  Thank you Jewson, national supplier of building and decorating materials, for generous cash sponsorship for the project – organised through the advocacy of our own Kim Ollard.  And thank you once again to local paint suppliers, Chris Stevens Holloway Road, for an extremely kind discount on supplies, which – as last year – has helped our tiny budget go so much further.

Loads of families came and went – and came and stayed – throughout the day to help get the corridor and lobby ready for redecoration and refit this Friday. Admittedly, the school looks like a bit like building site this week… because it is!  One more week and we’ll get there.  Please give your time and muscle this Friday 15th May from 10:00am onwards to help get the project finished.

Designs for the long corridor: see the exhibition

Could this one be the winner?

Could this one be the winner?

If there’s any one, identifiable trend in the children’s designs for the school’s long corridor, it strongly indicates that the future will be psychedelic…

Please stop by after school one day this week and take a good, long look at the designs that are exhibited there.  Children and staff are voting on their favourites, and the top three choices will be revealed at a special assembly on Tuesday 28th April, right after drop off.  Come along if you can!


What the HSA Committee talked about…

…on Monday 9th February 2015.

Yum! We just couldn't wait for next International Evening to eat it all again...

Yum! We just couldn’t wait for next International Evening to eat it all again…

Family bingo is definitely going to happen! It’s a fundraising event planned for Thursday 19th March, 5:30-7:30pm (the second-last week of term), and it’s going to be something of a feast too. We know from our International Evenings what delicious fare our school community can cook up, so we’ve put the word out for donations of dishes from around the world to feed bingo night, too. Many families have already responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes, of course!” Please contribute if you can.

As a further celebration of our community and its food, we’re putting together a cook book of recipes from International Evening. The plan is to sell copies at bingo night, so you can run home and recreate the fantastic food you’ve eaten. If you’ve got a recipe and need our form, download it here: Cook Book recipe form – print out and bring to school.

Other events, closer at hand, were high up on the Committee’s agenda. Straight after half term, on Tuesday 24th February, we’ve got a wonderful Learning Treat that’s been dubbed the Big Think. The Philosophy Man is coming to school for the day, working with every class and with teachers, too, to get everybody thinking.

Posters are going up after half term, and look out for the schedule in PACT folders, too.

Posters are going up after half term, and look out for the schedule in PACT folders, too.

Then it’s Bring a Parent / Carer to School week (2nd-6th March), and HSA co-chair Fiona unveiled a week’s worth of related activities: special assemblies on Monday 2nd and Wednesday 4th March (come if you can), plus World Book Day on Thursday 5th.

Children are invited to come dressed as a favourite character and talk about it after school at our “Just-a-Minute Character Challenge” in the hall, where there will also be a cake sale. Parents get their chance to speak, too, at a multi-language poetry session. If your native language is not English and you’d like to take part: let us know.

Both the cake sale and the dress-up day will raise money towards the Rural Libraries Project, providing books for children in Peru. Ms Heery will tell us all about it at assembly on World Book Day.

Other items on the packed agenda were: discussions about the music Learning Treat we hope to provide this year, an update on our Give & Gain projects, some new fundraising opportunities and, yes, a very hopeful look at some fresh options for that whole-school Trip of a Lifetime! It really is going to happen, and there will be news soon.

Next HSA Committee meeting: Tuesday 10th March.



Put on ££s for the Weight Loss Club

The Tufnell Park School Weight Loss Club has done it again, with nine participants clocking up a total loss of 29.1kg in just four weeks. That’s a whole lot of healthy eating (and healthy not-eating) in aid of our “Love Your Lobby” project at school.

Oh, don't eat it!  Please don't eat it!

Oh, don’t eat it! Please don’t eat it!

Ah, but look at her now!

Ah, but look at her now…  Tufnell Park School Weight Loss Club works its magic.

To congratulate the participants for their heroic self-control – and to help us buy paint, brushes and materials for this year’s wonderful Give & Gain project – please make your donation at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/tufnellparkschool6.

Go on.  Think of all the cakes they didn’t eat.

“Love Your Lobby” launches with a Learning Treat

Do you love your lobby? In particular, the lobby of Tufnell Park School, constructed in the 1950s and blessed (or otherwise) with additions and subtractions over the years?

It's spacious... but is it inspired?

It’s relatively spacious… but is it inspired?

The corridor from the Juniors' classrooms - mmmmm! What's not to love?

Corridor from the Juniors’ classrooms – what’s not to love?

There’s been a feeling among parents, heartily seconded by the school (particularly our endlessly helpful administrative staff, who shiver by the leaky windows all day), that our lobby could use a spot of refreshment. Not to mention that corridor that leads to the Juniors’ classrooms…

And, if we’re refreshing the way our school buildings look and function, who better to do it than our children?

Of course, there’s precious little money to spend on redecoration and anyway, we’d like to do something a tad more ambitious than just repaint the walls.

Enter our excellent parent body and, in particular, an architect Dad and an artist Mum (not from the same family!), who are giving their time and expertise to lead Design and Art Learning Treats – the lobby and corridor respectively. The process will involve the whole school in re-envisioning how our lobby and corridor could be, led by smaller design teams for each project.

For more details, feast your eyes and imagination with the initial Love Your Lobby project plan. If you can, come to assembly at 10:20am on Monday 26th January, when the project will be presented to the whole school. And look out for PACT folder notices in the term to come: they’ll include consultation letters asking for feedback. Final designs will be presented at the end of term.

How will we afford it?  By doing it ourselves, of course – with, we hope, the help of a team of business volunteers, just as we built the Infants’ Playground last year.  Look out for more news of Give & Gain Day 2015 and block out Friday 15th May in your diary now if you’re able to give us a hand.