What the HSA Committee talked about…

…on Wednesday 30th April.

Summer Fair planning has begun. The fair is on Saturday 12th July and the next two planning meetings are Tuesday 20th May and Tuesday 17th June. Please come: the room was buzzing with ideas and we need lots of people to make it all happen.

Ah! The British seaside! Who can forget the legendary infants' trip to Southend in June last year?

Ah! The British seaside! Who can forget the legendary infants’ trip to Southend in June last year?

Our theme this year is SEASIDE. Candy floss, deck chairs, coconut shies… has anyone got a donkey? Seriously.

We also talked about fundraising. The HSA has grown ambitious and successful in what it funds, which is exciting. But we can’t forget that our income is far from guaranteed. The more people associated with the school – parents, carers, children – raise money through their own projects and sponsorship, the better. We need people to think about supporting us just as they would another charity. Cygnus and Nursery parents did a fantastic job over Easter of raising funds for a feature of the new infants’ playground that was outside the scope of our budget. But donations don’t need to be huge: every little really does help.

The HSA itself has scope to organise one further event during spring term, so we’re thinking of offering family bingo for all the school. Autumn term is bookended by the Cygnus welcome picnic and Winter Wonderland, and in summer term we organise the Fun Runs and Summer Fair.

Come and help on Saturday 10th May, and baby comes too...

Come and help on Saturday 10th May: baby comes too…

Our most immediate project took up the rest of the discussion. The transformation of the Infants’ Playground is well and truly underway and it’s a massive undertaking.

Finishing the Playground

From now: Please lend tools and equipment for Give & Gain day. Email us if you’d like to be on our email list about this and other plans.

Saturday 10th May – Come to the school from 9:00am for as much or as little time as you have, and help us prepare the site for Give & Gain Day. Kids welcome.

Friday 16th May – Give & Gain Day. Come help prepare our picnic feast or work alongside 30 business volunteers who are helping us finish the playground.

Monday 19th May – The new infants’ playground opens.

Lady with trees: update on the infants’ playground

"It's a jungle in here!" Designer Jackie Herald brings the outside in.

“It’s a jungle in here!” Designer Jackie Herald brings the outside in.

Look what’s sprouting at Tufnell Park School!

Playground designer Jackie was snapped in the foyer on her way to Reception class this morning. The Cygnus children have been put in charge of looking after our potted bamboo forest until it’s planted in the playground on Friday 16th May.

We’ll need two groups of volunteers on the day: people to help provide a picnic lunch by the pond for everyone working on the project, and people to work alongside the 30 volunteers from Flamingo Consulting as they plant, paint, weed and dig. We’ll also be looking for donations of food and drink, and for equipment to borrow.  We’re co-ordinating those donations by email – please let HSA secretary, Lucy, know if you’re not on the list and would like to be.

If you can’t come on the 16th – or even if you can! – we also need a lot of people to help prepare the site on Saturday 10th May. Come any time from 9:00am and bring a paint scraper with you…

Get out your diary – dates for this term

It’s summer term already and our Summer Fair is on Saturday 12th July.  Please bring your ideas and offers of help to the HSA Committee meeting this Wednesday at 8:00pm in the café bar of the Tufnell Park Tavern.

Back to the drawing board... it's time to plan the 2014 Summer Fair.

Back to the drawing board… it’s time to plan the 2014 Summer Fair.

If you’ve got any free time on Saturday 10th May, do come to the school from 9:00am to help with the annual clear-out and reorganisation of the HSA shed as we gear up to fair season.

In a particularly thrilling development, we have been given our OWN SHED under the rock-solid control of resources manager, Mags Wild. Every silver lining has a cloud, though, and we’ve got a lot of stuff to schlep from the old shed to the new one.  Please help.

Speaking of rocks, a certain Alan Baldwin has been sourcing possible boulders for the infants’ playground in advance of Business in the Community’s volunteer day – 16th May. It’s coming up fast.  We need parents to join the volunteer team from Flamingo Consultants in setting up, planting, painting and stenciling on the day, plus donations of food and drink to give all our volunteers a great picnic lunch.  Oh, and thanks, Alan – but you know that’s going to exceed your baggage allowance.

2014 - 1 Boulder too

Just when you need it most, you find you’ve left the superman outfit at home…

Finally, let’s all stoke up our energy levels at Columba class’s cake sale this Friday, 2nd May. They’re the only class going it alone on a cake sale, so please donate baked goodies if you can.  And if you can’t give cake, buying cake at the sale is just as good!

From this...

From this…

...to this, in 5 minutes. The magic of cake sales.

…to this, in 5 minutes. The magic of cake sales.


Rockin’ our world

Rock inspectors 230414

“Yep, these are good rocks!” The rock inspectors give the green light to our latest additions.

Bit of a shock this morning when everyone turned up to school to find that the infants’ playground has all but disappeared behind safety barriers. Don’t worry, though: it’s going to be worth the inconvenience – and the children were delighted to watch works progress throughout the day.

The playground builders are going to put them to work, too, keeping bamboo plants well-watered before they can be put in the ground.

Jackie the designer has sourced some particularly gnarly lumps of Purbeck boulder on our behalf and our in-house rock inspectors were thrilled. Lovely, distinctive smell, apparently – so different to sandstone – creating an atmosphere redolent of dragons and dinosaurs…  And that was just what the teachers thought!


If you go down to the school today…

…you’re in for a big surprise!

While we’re all away enjoying the holidays, Jackie Herald – landscape designer – and her team are hard at work reconfiguring the infants’ playground. They’re preparing the ground (literally) for our big volunteer day on Friday 16th May, when we’ll be looking for as many volunteers as possible to help finish the job. Please put it in your diary and plan to come if you’re able.

Amazing Clay + World Book Day

2photo 1 photo 1 photo 2 photo 4 photo 5There’s superb ceramic work going on in the mobile as, class by class, the whole school gets involved with Artist-in-Residence Claire Bevacqua’s totem pole project.

On Thursday 13th March we need volunteers with spades to pitch up at school at 9:00am and help prepare the ground for the nine totems being created.

Before that, though, there’s World Book Day to think about! Next Thursday, 6th March (or 7th March for Cygnus children), every child is invited to dress as a favourite character and donate £1.00 to the school.

While you’re searching for inspiration, don’t forget the Delphinus & Heracles cake sale tomorrow! “The Incredible Book-Eating Boy”, anyone?

Losers are winners at Tufnell Park…

…but you won’t notice them, because they’ve almost vanished.  At the final meeting of Weight Loss Club last night, the participants clocked in a total of 14.4kg lost in just four weeks – in time to buy treats at the football club cake sale on Friday. To congratulate them on their effort, or just to donate to Learning Treats in the aftermath of our fabulous Maths Week, click here and give the gift that goes on giving…

Upside down

“It ALL looks good from here!”

Meanwhile, Ursa class were taking the upcoming development of the Infants’ Playground seriously, with some intensive research in the field. Our dedicated testers went in search of play landscapes and equipment in Whittington Park, and will be feeding back to Jackie Herald, the award-winning designer who’s working on the project.

Can Jackie make the sun shine in our playground, too?

How did they find a sunny day?

How did they find a sunny day?

"We'll take 10 of these..."

“We’ll take 10 of these…”

"...and here's a nice tall one for the 4-year olds!"

“…and here’s a nice tall one for the four-year olds!”

Choices, choices… children vote for Artist in Residence

Ceramics by Claire Bevaqua - if chosen, she'll make totem poles with the children!

Ceramics by Claire Bevacqua – if chosen, she’ll make totem poles with the children!

At the AGM last September, attendees voted to spend our £2,000 extra-curricular budget on an Artist in Residence to work with the children on a permanent installation for the playground. One of our current Cygnus parents, an established artist, took on the job of compiling a fantastic long list of possible artists.

From this, a short list of three viable projects – by Claire Bevacqua, two-artist team Abigail Hunt and Kieren Reed, and Pedro Kalache – was taken to the School Council last week. They opted to put it to the whole school to vote.

We’re nothing if not democratic. But wouldn’t it be nice to choose all of them!

A Pedro Kalache tile-making workshop...

A Pedro Kalache tile-making workshop…

...and the finished result.

…and the finished product.

It’s all kicking off…

Kick off

Oh, so THAT’S where the centre spot is! New markings are such a help.

Those of you who don’t get round the back of the school very often may not have registered the ENORMOUS multi-sports installation that appeared in November, paid for by our Awards for All Big Lottery Grant.

Even if you have seen it, you might not have witnessed the lively use it was getting today, so take a look.

Congratulations to all of you for your involvement, without which none of this would be possible: there’s been a lot of fundraising and a lot of fun.

Number joy as playground works begin

Out of the way - there's a queue!

Out of the way – there’s a queue!

Our kids just couldn’t wait to get hopping when Playforce installed a new hopscotch game – a nice, free addition to works in the juniors’ playground this week.

How appropriate, given that NSPCC Number Day is coming up next week! Anyone for a hopscotch-inspired costume for the “dress up in digits” fundraising challenge on Tuesday 3rd December?

Speaking of fundraising, at its last meeting the HSA committee decided to go all-out on funding curriculum support as a new priority (we’ll still be applying for grants to complete the playground project). We’re calling the programme, “Learning Treats”, and hope to kick off with support for a school maths week that’s being mooted for February 2014.  So Number Day is just the warm-up…

Finally, if you’d like to help raise funds the easy way, PLEASE sign up to EasyFundraising via this link. Once you’re signed on, more than 2,700 retailers – including Amazon, John Lewis, eBay, Tesco – will donate to the school when you shop with them on line.  We’re very grateful to a proactive Cygnus mum for signing us up to the scheme – now please use it!