Just look how our garden grew!

The kids are back at school… if they can find it.  It’s a low-slung 1950s building behind a lot of foliage.  All the children’s garden work in the summer term paid back in spades over the holidays, with a fantastic display in the planters all around the school.  Make sure you take a detour and have a look. (The school site has a great photo, too…)

We dress them in red so they can't get lost in the leaves.

We dress them in red so they can’t get lost… green could be fatal.

And this is the way we left it in July.

Can you believe this is how it looked in July?

There’s more gardening fun to come this year, thanks to a generous £985.00 grant from the Thames Water Charities Committee (and massive thanks once more to Kim and Andy Ollard for alerting us to that source of funding).

That’s just one of many, many projects our busy HSA has in the pipeline. Please put the HSA Annual General Meeting in your diary, come along and speak up about what you’d like to see happen this year. The meeting is right after school on Friday 9th October, with a creche and refreshments provided. We’re lost in the weeds without you.

Why do we think what we think when we’re thinking?

"If Billy's brain's in Millie's body... which one is Billy?" Woah! Infants go nuts working their ideas out.

“If Billy’s brain’s in Millie’s body… which one is Billy?” Woah! Infants go nuts working their ideas out.

You’d think school was always about thinking, wouldn’t you? At Tufnell Park it certainly will be after today, when The Philosophy Man came to give all the children (and adults, too!) the debating, negotiating, imagining, reasoning, brain-wrangling Learning Treat of a lifetime.

Our kids threw themselves into it, tackling every question with gusto and coming home buzzing with ideas.  And the point? Well, thinking really is fun, and if thinking’s fun… then learning’s fun, too. Right? Or wrong? Discuss…

Change of venue – Winter Wonderland planning meeting

Santa-conference-041The final planning meeting for Winter Wonderland is to be held at a Committee member’s home, not at the Tufnell Park Tavern as advertised.  It’s at 8:00pm on Tuesday 9th December.  Email HSA secretary, Lucy, here, to let us know you’re coming, and she’ll send you the address.

Please come along and help get those crucial details ironed out before the big day, on Friday…

HSA is powered by parents

Running for TPS Oct 2014 SO

Raising money for Tufnell Park School is the best fun anyone can have on a Saturday morning!

…and families, carers and school staff, of course. You’re all needed, and everyone is welcome at the regular HSA Committee meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday 18th November). Given the time of year, we’ll be discussing Winter Wonderland with greatest urgency, but there’s always plenty on the agenda.

It’s not too late to let HSA secretary, Lucy, know that you’d like to attend: 8:00pm in Tufnell Park, and Lucy will send you the address.

Now that the window for donations has officially closed, a massive thank you to Tufnell Park parents Sarah and Rhodri for their fundraising effort in running the Royal Parks Half Marathon last month.  Together they raised a total of £1,658.75,  including Gift Aid, for the HSA, plus a further £692.50 each for Camfed (education for girls and women in Africa) and MDAC (campaigning for the rights of people with mental health issues). Well done, both of you – we hope you’ve spent the last month with your feet up, and that other parents and carers may take inspiration from your success.

Top-speed tourism for the Royal Parks runners: look at that view.

Top-speed tourism for the Royal Parks runners: just look at that view.

Bake it up, baby!

Eat chocolate: help Children in Need.

Eat chocolate: help Children in Need.

It’s our Children in Need fundraising day on Friday, so please donate CAKE for the after-school sale: let’s move a cake mountain for this excellent cause.

You’ve also got two more days to Guess the number of sweets in the jar (on the front desk in school reception) and for your child to put in their bid to Be Head for the Day: tickets are 50p.

The winner will be announced at Friday assembly and will take up their position wearing pyjamas.  Luckily their deputy, Mr Scarborough, will be wearing pyjamas too, so everyone will feel right at home.

Head teacher recruitment: we didn't do it this way last time, did we?

Head teacher recruitment: surely we didn’t do it this way last time?

And finally… the next HSA Committee meeting is on Tuesday 18th November at 8:00pm.  Winter Wonderland will be high on the agenda, plus upcoming projects for the spring term.

Please email HSA secretary, Lucy, if you’d like to come and she’ll make sure you have the address.

What the HSA Committee talked about…

…on Wednesday 15th October 2014.

Without science, how would we make slime? Thank you, Learning Treats!

Without science, how would we make slime? Thank you, Learning Treats!

Another action-packed – or rather, decision-packed – meeting on Wednesday night was attended by plenty of non-Committee HSA parents. The committee co-opted Mags, formerly in charge of HSA resources, as co-Chair. Becca (mother of Elsa in Andromeda and Rudy in Pegasus) takes Mags’ place as resources manager, so all places are now filled: thank you!

All parents and carers can come to any HSA Committee meeting: we publicize the date in advance and you just tell us you’re coming. The more, the better.

Two new dates this term: Children in Need on Friday 14th November (cake sale and dress-up day at the very least), and Winter Wonderland on Friday 12th December. The Winter Wonderland planning team are meeting at school on Friday 24th October at 2:30pm, and they’d love you to join them…

Louise (mother of Freya in Cygnus) volunteered to research and propose other dress-up/ charity days this school year, as it was decided to limit these to one per term.

Mr Scarborough congratulates the cast who performed "Romeo & Juliet" at the Pleasance Theatre earlier in the week.

Mr Scarborough congratulates the cast who performed “Romeo & Juliet” at the Pleasance Theatre earlier in the week.

The school’s impressive rendition of Romeo & Juliet at the Pleasance Theatre two days earlier was co-funded by the HSA, giving a great example of what the Learning Treats programme can do. We discussed possible Learning Treats to come: music, philosophy, history, art & design, natural science, food & nutrition… HSA Co-chairs Fiona and Mags will discuss these options with Mr Scarborough shortly and agree on the school’s priorities for the coming year.

We’re keen carry out a premises improvement project this Spring. Re-decorating projects were popular: the lobby, the toilets, the long corridor past the Juniors’ classrooms… We’d like the children to be centrally involved in design, possibly with a resident artist as a Learning Treat. A sub-committee is looking into what’s viable.

There followed a lively discussion about funding, which revealed possible new sources. John (father of Henry in Aquila and Huck in Cygnus) volunteered to follow this up. We’re always on the look-out for new partnerships, sponsorship and help in kind.

Finally, we are almost ready to present three costed options for a fantastic whole school trip this Christmas. Again, our co-Chairs will agree the final shortlist with Mr Scarborough, and all the children will vote. That’s coming very soon.


What the HSA talked about…

… at the 2014 AGM on Thursday 2nd October.

2013-14 AGM display

Isn’t it amazing what our school community achieved in one short year?

It was brilliant to see so many faces – familiar and new – at the AGM last week, and so many people eager to get involved.

Thank you to Liliana, mother of Yosef in Delphinus – and a chartered accountant in her native Colombia – for stepping up as our new Treasurer. Our out-going co-treasurers, Franky and Sarah, who have achieved absolute wonders in their four years in post, are pleased to leave their work in safe hands.

We also said farewell and thank you to co-Chair John, and put out an appeal for a new co-Chair to step up next to Fiona. It seems that our Resources manager, Mags (mother of Mary in Draco) may answer the call… Please take a look here at this year’s Committee, so you know who they are.

Before stepping down, Franky announced a fantastic £7,000 profit on HSA turnover over the last year. This means that, setting aside £2,000 to run Winter Wonderland and the Summer Fair, we have £5,000 to assign to new projects in the year ahead.

That’s in addition to £4,000 that has been raised for a very special school trip for every child in the school. We’re working on three possible options and hope to be able to put those to the whole school for a vote very shortly.

There’s also a new Learning Treat – a music project – already funded, to be designed by Ms Brereton with Mr Scarborough’s help. Watch this space!

We’re interested in sourcing more Learning Treats – in collaboration with school staff – that help make core subjects really exciting and fun for all our kids. And we’re dreaming up big school improvement projects, too, such as a competition for the children to keep their toilet block clean in return for having it redecorated according to their own designs (thank you Rhea, mother of Che in Delphinus, for suggesting that one).

The winter celebration team is already starting its researches...

The winter celebration team is already starting its researches… Come along on Wednesday night and get involved (no scissors needed).

Other suggestions from parents at the meeting were a Halloween dress-up day, some gorgeous Tufnell Park merchandise (think: red hoodies), and ideas about charities to support during the year.

The AGM ended with a great team coming together to plan our annual Winter celebration – headed by Jo (mother of Louie in Andromeda), who was already looking the part under a sprinkling of silver glitter.

The next meeting is on Wednesday 15th October (next Wednesday) at 8:00pm.  Please let us know if you want to come – the venue will be determined by numbers attending.

HSA lifts off for another year

Our outgoing treasurer gets ready to head skywards...

Our outgoing co-treasurer gets ready to head skywards…

The HSA’s Annual General Meeting is this Thursday, 2nd October, straight after school in Andromeda class.

Please come. There’s childcare provided in Cygnus and refreshments to keep you buzzing as we discuss what worked best last year and what lies in the year ahead. Mr Scarborough will be there to give the school’s perspective.

This year, we need a new treasurer/treasurers and new trainee chair/co-chair, and we’re also looking for people who’d be willing to lead on individual events – most urgently, the Winter Wonderland. Any role can also be shared by two people: it’s often more fun with a friend! Please consider whether you might be ready to take a turn.

Franky and Sarah, our outgoing co-treasurers, describe their role as follows:

“We have been treasurers of the HSA accounts for four years. We have seen the annual income increase from a few hundred pounds to many thousands per year. It is an exciting and highly involved ‘job’ that requires attention to detail, organization and being involved in all the HSA activities. The role is an excellent addition to a CV as it covers so many financial and administrative tasks.

Between HSA events the treasury role is quiet. However, during busy times such as Summer Fair and Winter Wonderland, all financially-related activities are your responsibility. These are likely to include: paying all invoices, arranging floats, getting a TENS (gambling) licence, reimbursing individuals, counting all funds and banking money. Additional administrative tasks include dealing with the charity commission, BTmydonate and gift aid.

We also produce a monthly account for the HSA Committee, and an annual report for the HSA AGM that is externally audited. These allow us to see where we are with funds and where the HSA can have fun spending what it has earned!

We have thoroughly enjoyed the role of treasurers but feel it is time to hand over to fresh eyes.”



Cygnus & Nursery: warm welcome in Dalmeny Park

Surely there could never be an UNwelcome picnic?

Surely there has never been an UNwelcome picnic?

Fingers crossed, it looks like the sun may continue to shine on Thursday afternoon for the new starters’ Welcome Picnic

All children in the Nursery and Reception classes – aka Pegasus and Cygnus – are invited to bring their families and carers to Dalmeny Park after school for cakes, snacks and fun. It’s a chance to meet each other, and your children’s teachers and teaching assistants, with a bit less time pressure than at school drop off and pick up.

If you want to, bring some food and drink as well as something to sit on.

Last chance to pretend it's summer...

It may be your last chance to pretend it’s summer…

_Healthy_smoothies JN

Welcome back!

Thriving playground

Six weeks to grow and grow… the Infants’ playground now really is the jungle our kids requested.

Aw, school! Surely we all missed it just a little bit?

To remind you all what fantastic good times we have at Tufnell Park, the photo gallery for the Summer Fair is available at last – take a good, long look. And please also take a moment to read through the long list of local businesses who supported us. That’s in addition to the many, many parents, carers, friends and families who helped in so many ways. There are far too many to name you all, but the hardworking ladies at the Summer Fair spa asked for a special “thank you” to former pupil Nora Alshammary, who appeared out of nowhere with her friends and worked tirelessly to help shorten that never-ending queue.

The "donut" appears - having mutated into a brick-red rubberscape with dots, as voted by Cygnus kids.

The “donut” appears – now a brick-red rubberscape with dots, as voted by Cygnus kids.

And so to a new term. Elves have been at work in the Infants’ playground over the summer, completing their work at last with an undulating, dotty landscape – made of recycled rubber – under the beech tree. Governors have already been in to play on it, and we hope the children will enjoy it, too.

There are tons of events coming up in the first four weeks of school alone – beginning with the Adults’ 5K and 10K Fun Run on Friday 12th September.  Our new headteacher, Martin Scarborough, will be cheering us on and meeting parents informally at the Tufnell Park Tavern afterwards.  Keep your eye on the calendar and don’t forget to look in those PACT folders every day for more details.