Thank you for the transformation

How to say “thank you” loud and long enough to everyone who helped transform – metamophosize! – the shabby insides of our school on Give & Gain Day?

Make room for the teams! So many parents showed up to help - it was standing room only in the corridor.

Make room for the teams! So many parents showed up to help that it was standing room only in the corridor.

Two commercial partners – Santander bank and Jewson – gave cash donations, and the lovely people at Chris Stevens on Holloway Road enabled us to buy a veritable ocean of paint for much less than it could have cost us.

And then, the show of goodwill and volunteer muscle on Give & Gain Day itself was nothing short of amazing.  About 50 people – business volunteers from Santander, local councillor, Kat Fletcher, and many, many wonderful school parents – showed up during the day to help get the work done, and to bring cakes and other food to keep the volunteer army marching.

Our design team, Rachel and Patrick – both parents at the school – have donated extraordinary amounts of time and professional skill to make this happen.  They’ve been assisted before and after Give & Gain Day by production designer Adam and a small group of apparently tireless parent volunteers. Thank you all – your commitment has been phenomenal.

Though finishing touches are still to be added, the scale of the metamorphosis is fully apparent. What a fantastic effort by the community: it feels as if we really can do anything if we do it together.

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.

Corridor design: the children’s vision

Mystery designer: who are you?  This anonymous offer appeared on one of the feedback forms - we'd love to know who you are!

Mystery designer: who are you? This anonymous offer appeared on one of the feedback forms – we’d love to know who you are!

Projector malfunction, though disappointing, didn’t prevent us going ahead with a special assembly this morning to announce the winners of the school’s corridor design. For those at the back and those who weren’t there, the three winning models are as follows:

The children have really thrown themselves into the design process and there were so many fantastic ideas on display, the voters were spoiled for choice.  Please do them proud by coming to help realise their designs on Give & Gain Day.  Contact the HSA at any time to ask further questions or let us know you can help, whether for a day or an hour…

There's been a lot of sketching so far - come and see the lobby designs in displayed in the lobby from Thursday.

There’s been a lot of sketching: now come and see the lobby designs in displayed IN the lobby from Thursday.

Architect/ parent Patrick also spoke briefly this morning about the progress of the lobby design project and the feedback he’s received from families and children.  Lobby designs will be exhibited IN our lobby from Thursday onwards (along with the originals of the corridor designs above).

Please stop by and take a look.

What the HSA Committee talked about…

…on Tuesday 21st April 2015

BIG DECISIONS were made at the Tufnell Park Tavern on Tuesday night: namely, the theme of this year’s Summer Fair. It’s Carnival! Think music, neon feathers, games and parades, fiesta, madness and perhaps a hint of Rio in anticipation of summers to come… Put the date in your diary: Saturday 11th July.

Time to get out the feathers again: the theme of this year's Summer Fair is Carnival.

Get out the feathers: the theme of this year’s Summer Fair is Carnival.

Thanks very much indeed to everyone who gave up their Tuesday evening to help plan. We need lots more help to make the dreams real, so please watch out for further meetings and sign up your support. Got an idea for a stall you’d like to run? Happy to help out on one of the rides? Make instruments and headdresses with the kids? Can you juggle? Please let us know! And we can never, ever, ever, ever have too many face-painters – particularly not at Carnival time.

News of other HSA projects this term:

Yay, Fun Run! Help us make it happen this year.

Yay, Fun Run! Help us make it happen this year.

The Children’s Fun Run needs a parent to lead it: come on, you sporting dads and mums! The last Thursday and Friday in June are pencilled for the event, which has always been fantastic for whole-school participation and an exciting physical challenge for the kids, as well as the HSA’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Whoever steps forward will have plenty of support from people who’ve done it before, but it can’t happen without someone to lead and co-ordinate. Contact the HSA for more details of what’s involved.

All hands to the paintbrushes on Friday 15th May, Give & Gain Day. The business volunteers who signed up to our project have had to pull out so we’re still looking for a partner, but whatever happens we’ll go ahead with parent power. Check whether your own employer allows “community days”: if so, they may be willing to release you (and some of your colleagues!) for a fully-paid day to help make our lobby and long corridor beautiful. If it’s impossible for you to take a week day off, perhaps you could come and help prep for Give & Gain Day on the weekend before the 15th. That’s Saturday 9th May: please come along, as we’ve a lot of wall to rub down! The designs themselves are to be revealed at assembly on Tuesday 28th April, and parents/carers are very much invited.

Watch the PACT folders, too, for requests for parents and carers to accompany the Whole School Fun Trip to the Sobell Leisure Centre on Monday 18th May. And there’s also a second Give & Gain project on Friday 19th June, involving a team of volunteers from Thames Water’s Inspection Division in building a den for our nursery.

Finally, the HSA urgently needs a new SECRETARY. It’s a really good way of getting involved in an important role without being overwhelmed by responsibility. You need to manage our email list and messages, schedule monthly meetings, send out agendas and take minutes – plus occasional related jobs, such as sending “thank you” notes to the many people and local businesses who help us. You do need to be able to come to the meetings. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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!


Tufnell Park School loves to cook…

Glossy biscuits for cook book

Is it a fish? Is it a biscuit? It’s certainly a work of art…

…so please try to get those recipes to us by Tuesday 24th February (aka TOMORROW) for our International Evening school cookbook. Don’t forget to tell us if there’s a story behind your contribution – we’d like to include as many of those as we can. In case you’ve mislaid the form, it’s right here:

Cook Book recipe form – print out and bring to school.

When you’ve filled out that one, don’t put your pen down! This week is also your chance to let us know what you want from the redesign of the school lobby and long corridor.  The design teams will be gathering up feedback forms at the end of the day on Wednesday 25th February (THIS WEDNESDAY). Have your say now – download the form here:

Love Your Lobby feedback form – print out and fill in

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

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

Gasps all round as “Love Your Lobby” kicked off today

Great assembly this morning, as architect Patrick (father of Saskia in Andromeda and Magnus in Cygnus) and artist Rachel (mother of Enzo in Andromeda) introduced the “Love Your Lobby (and long corridor!)” project to the school. Classes have picked representatives for the two design teams (lobby and corridor), but every child’s suggestions are invited as part of the process.

“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.