Raffle winners in Wonderland

No matter what they tell you: playing the game may be fun but there's NOTHING like winning!

No matter what they tell you: playing the game may be fun but there’s NOTHING like winning!

What does Momma always tell us?

“Winter Wonderland ain’t over ’til the raffle has been drawn!”

So Friday’s party finally drew to a dramatic close at school assembly on Monday morning, when the winners of the Wonderland raffle were revealed: the cash and the luxury hamper both went to pupils at the school. There was a lot of joy in the room as kids took turns to draw!

The best result of all is that Winter Wonderland made approximately £1,000 to support the school. The exact figure will be published when all the receipts are in. That’s enough (for example) to fund one whole exciting Learning Treat in the New Year. So thank you, all of you, for buying your tickets, and for coming to the party – and if you haven’t had a call to tell you you’re a winner, well, better luck next time.

You can always console yourself by re-living the highlights of Friday’s party. Take a look at the great new gallery on this site (click here).

Bright lights of Wonderland

It was magic, it was riotous... it was everything a party should be.

It was magic, it was riotous… it was everything a party should be.

Christmas came early to Tufnell Park this year. It may only be 4th December, but at Winter Wonderland this afternoon it felt as if everyone was ready to celebrate.

The party was a fantastic success, and so many people worked hard to make it happen that it’s impossible to mention them all.  This year’s Wonderland co-ordinator, Lou, has got to have a special thank you from all of us, though – as does Santa himself for showing up.  It’s a busy time of year for the old fellow, but he remembered Tufnell Park.

It also seems that more people came through our doors than ever before, and you know what they say: the people make the party!  There will be a full gallery of photos up soon but meanwhile, here’s a tiny taster of the fun that was had. Thank you, Caroline, for most of the photos below – and to everyone else who sent in pictures.

Jump on, we’re going up

Hundreds of little wishes... where are they heading?

All those little wishes… where are they heading?

It’s the time of year again, when the whole school starts wandering through the hall with necks craned upwards.

With a lot of involvement from children and teachers, the HSA decorating team has done its Christmas work and the result is heartbreakingly lovely. Hundreds of cut-out cable cars, each dangling a luggage label inscribed with a child’s wish for the world, ascend to an explosion of white balloons in ceiling’s centre. There’s only room for a very small sample of wishes here (below). You could spend ages reading them – in fact, quite a lot of people already have.

It looks amazing now and it’s going to be incredible at our very alpine Winter Wonderland.  Come along at 4:30pm on Friday 4th December (aka tomorrow) and see for yourselves.

Feel the Force that is Wonderland

They're not printed on the raffle tickets... but some great last minute raffle prize donations are still rolling in...

Keep buying those raffle tickets, and bring in your cash and stubs. Some great last minute prize donations (such as Star Wars tickets, above) are still rolling in…

After a great meeting in the school lobby today – thanks so much to all the many people who came – Winter Wonderland is looking in truly terrific shape for next Friday.

Dads – don’t be shy!  The volunteer crew is currently overwhelmingly female and the involvement of all parents and carers is genuinely welcome! If you haven’t signed up to help and you’d still like to, please go ahead and contact us, or look out for the giant sign-up sheet at the school gate.

Although of course, the most important thing of all is just to enjoy the event with your child.

As last year, every child will get a chance to visit Santa’s Grotto on a class-by-class basis – it’s the only way to fit 320 children’s visits into a two-hour schedule.  Gather outside the back doors of the hall (a lovely elf will be waiting for you). To make sure you don’t miss your child’s slot, please study the schedule below:Santa's Schedule - Winter Wonderland 2015




Through the eyes of artists

Our local area has never looked so gorgeous as it does on every page of the Tufnell Park School 2016 calendar, on its way to press at this moment.

A page for every class, with a mystery contribution from the staff each August... our beautiful calendar has become an annual event.

A page for every class, with a mystery contribution from the staff each August… our beautiful calendar has become an annual event.

The organizers and our ever-generous sponsors at Drivers & Norris are busting every sinew to get these beauties printed in time to sell at Winter Wonderland on 4th December.  In any case, they’ll be available for you to buy at the front gate from then until Christmas.

Nothing screams, "Christmas!" like a giant wodge of cash.

Buy our raffle tickets – because nothing screams, “Christmas!” like a giant wodge of cash.

Meanwhile, spend those coins that are burning holes in your pockets on a clutch of raffle tickets for the fantastic Winter Wonderland draw.  We’ve got great prizes donated by many local businesses, including luxury foods, drink, family theatre tickets, meals and gifts. Your 50p ticket could even result in a handy £100 cash return… just the thing for a very merry Christmas.


What the HSA Committee talked about…

…on Monday 16th November.

Oooo... the posters went up all round school today and it's time to start feeling Christmassy all over.

Oooo… the posters went up all round school today. It’s time to start feeling Christmassy all over.

Winter Wonderland Winter Wonderland Winter Wonder… – it had to be, at this time of year! The party is on Friday 4th December, a week earlier than usual and only three weeks away.

Come to the final Wonderland planning meeting on Friday 27th November, 2:00pm in the school lobby.

Sign up to help on a stall at the party, so that no-one (except Santa) gets stuck in one place for the whole afternoon.

Lend us an artificial Christmas tree for Santa’s grotto – you can take it back at Going Home time, we promise!

Bake or buy cookies, cakes and Christmas goodies to donate for sale at the Wonderland Cake Stall.

Buy raffle tickets (coming home in PACT folders shortly) and/ or sell them to your friends – they will thank you when they win that £100 cash prize.

He'll be back - with treats for all you GOOD little girls and boys.

He’ll be back – with treats for all you GOOD little girls and boys.

Come along to the party from 4:30pm on Friday 4th December. There’ll be singing, dancing, the jolly old man in red, a cash draw, prizes galore, crazy Christmas make-overs, hot dogs and hot chocolate and fragrant hot wine, the ever-popular dress-up photobooth, a whole room of “snow” to jump in and demented amounts of glow-in-the-dark fun.

The HSA did some other business, too.

A Tufnell Park School Calendar for 2016 is already in production and, with 12 original class artworks depicting “Tufnell Park Scenes”, it’s going to be really wonderful. With luck, it will be on sale at Winter Wonderland… or very shortly after.

Looking forward to early Spring, we’ll be launching a fantastic gardening, growing and cooking project with a £4,880. grant from Santander’s Community Plus fund. This will involve several community days at school, so please watch this space for your chance to get involved. Thank you so much, HSA co-treasurer Carolyne (and Santander employee) for alerting us to a wonderful opportunity and submitting our application on the HSA’s behalf.

Finally, after carrying out research into the origins of our name – Home School Association – the committee voted overwhelmingly to change us back into a PTA, probably from September. There are some technicalities to sort out before a re-launch but at last we’ll have the advantage of people knowing what we are….

What the HSA Committee talked about…

…on Tuesday 20th October.

Who’s thinking about Christmas already?

Recognize the School Hall? It will be JUST LIKE THIS at Winter Wonderland (maybe).

Recognize the School Hall? With your help, it will look JUST LIKE THIS at Winter Wonderland.

The HSA, of course. And it’s to be an Alpine Christmas this year: discussions for Winter Wonderland – after school on Friday 4th December – have begun, and they involve pine trees, gingerbread, sausages, sledges, and jolly old St Nikolaus, aka Santa, ho ho ho.

Lou (mother of Frieda in Delphinus) and Bev (mother of Jasmine in Orion) have already started organizing and will welcome loads of help and suggestions. Winter Wonderland planning meetings are:

  • Monday 16th November at 8:00pm in the Tufnell Park Tavern (contact us to confirm before you come as evening committee meetings sometimes change)
  • Friday 27th November at 2:00pm in school

Before that, Friday 13th November is a Fundraising Friday for Children in Need. HSA Co-Treasurer, Carolyne, volunteered to lead on this one, and we can expect a reprisal of the super-popular “Head for the Day” competition, plus biscuit and spotty balloon decorating after school… and an old-fashioned cake sale, too.

Learning Treats were also up for discussion. The committee approved £1,500 to spend on an ICT Learning Treat during Internet Safety Week in February, culminating in an ICT fair for parents and a Fundraising Friday for Childline. Ms del Pozo (teacher, Columba Class) will lead for the school. Caroline (mother of Nina in Aquila and Annika in Cygnus) had an exciting additional suggestion for a (free) project based on mobile technology developed by a friend of hers, who would lend the necessary equipment and also take part. Thank you, Caroline – she and Ms del Pozo will take discussions forward.

The HSA usually funds three Learning Treats in a year and is very much guided by the school’s priorities. Gardening & Growing is likely to be the second project, already part-funded with a grant from Thames Water’s Community fund.

Reading for pleasure is the theme of a third probable Learning Treat. Reading and writing are of course core priorities for our school and the HSA is researching writers who might work with all the children to write and create their own printed book, with copies available to read in every classroom. Please get in touch if this inspires you – anyone out there friends with Jacqueline Wilson?


  1.  The HSA still very much needs a Fundraising Friday co-ordinator for the rest of the year. Please consider it if you’re interested in getting more familiar with the school but you don’t have a massive amount of time to commit. It’s the same job as being the cake sale person, really. You’d need to be free for hour or so after school on one Friday each month, plus have time to pop in for a quick advance chat with the fundraiser (teacher or club) a week or two beforehand, to check what they’ve got planned and that it’s all underway.
  2. And co-Chair Mags is still lonely at the top… could you see yourself in a co-Chair role? Occasional availability during the school day (which could be just at drop-off or pick-up) is probably the most important criterion at present – plus, of course, a desire to help the school. You don’t need to know how any of it works (yet), because Mags has plenty of that knowledge to share.
Our kids are so brilliant at running - let's let them run!

Our kids are so brilliant at running – would it help them to do more of it?

Finally… there’s a school in Stirling that’s caused a nationwide stir by implementing a “daily mile” run for all their children, every school day. Several parents have forwarded the suggestion of trying this at our school, where a mile – which sounds long – is just eight laps of the annual Fun Run course. The benefits to children’s health are demonstrable and teachers feel it improves their concentration, too. Fitting it into the school day is another matter but the HSA is certainly keen… watch this space.

What the HSA talked about…

…at the AGM on Friday 9th October.

Andromeda classroom was packed for this year’s AGM, with a fantastic showing of both parents and staff.

The Annual Fun Run - every year, parents are brilliant about showing up and joining in.

The Annual Fun Run – every year, parents are brilliant about showing up and joining in.

Mr Scarborough introduced the meeting by talking about how important the HSA’s activities are to the school and – in particular – to the children, who love to see their families getting involved.

Last year was immensely successful, with more people involved and more money both spent and raised than ever before. Treasurer Liliana (mother of Yosef in Andromeda) presented the figures, and you can download the full accounts for the year here:

Tufnell Park School HSA – Accounts 2014-15

Communications Co-ordinator, Leonie (mother of Griff in Columba and Llewelyn in Ursa), introduced the HSA’s new Fundraising Fridays, which by popular demand are replacing the monthly cake sales. Teaching staff showed up in force to bid for a slot, and without enough Fridays to go round agreed to band together and run their fundraisers two or three classes at a time. Let’s see what lively fundraising activities they come up with: there’s a Halloween themed fundraiser on Friday 23 October. Follow this link for the final schedule for the year.

Last year's Music Learning Treat - rehearsing and recording a whole school CD - was pretty much unforgettable...

June’s Music Learning Treat – rehearsing and recording a whole school CD – was pretty much unforgettable…

Out-going co-Chair, Fiona (mother of Benedicta in Columba and Sidney in Andromeda), described the HSA’s successful Learning Treats programme, now in its third year. Columba class teacher and ICT co-ordinator, Elena del Pozo was on hand to bid for an Animation Learning Treat during Internet Safety Week in February 2016. If approved, this would culminate in a fundraising ICT fair and film-showing for all parents on Friday 12 February.

We're hoping for a lot more planting and growing in Spring 2016, if fundraising goes to plan.

We’re hoping for a lot more planting and growing in Spring 2016, if fundraising goes to plan.

An hour is very little time to encapsulate the HSA’s activities, but co-Chair Mags (mother of Mary in Columba) gave a brief tour of some of the plans that are under discussion: a major gardening/ harvesting/ cooking project; an International Literature/ Bingo fundraiser mash-up on World Book Day next March; and a Give & Gain day to brighten up and weather-proof the playground furniture. She also talked about how money was raised last year and how we spent it.

The meeting ended with the statutory business of voting in the HSA committee for the year:

  • Co-Chair Mags remains in position, and needs a fellow co-Chair to fill Fiona’s shoes.
  • Treasurer Liliana becomes co-Treasurer, with welcome help from new co-Treasurer Carolyne (mother of Emma in Draco and Luke in Cygnus).
  • We’re glad to retain Secretary Anna (mother of Freya in Draco and Evie in Cygnus)
  • Communications Co-ordinator Leonie also stays on, as does comms team member Clare (mother of Jack in Columba), with an appeal for increased support from any writers, bloggers, photographers and designers out there – please get in touch.
  • Tatiana (mother of Tilia in Orion) has stepped up as Resources manager and Queen of the HSA shed.

In addition, we are all grateful to Lou (mother of Frieda in Delphinus ) and Bev (mother of Jasmine in Orion) for volunteering to help make Winter Wonderland happen this year. We’re thinking about a theme – any ideas?

And we’re very, very keen to find a co-ordinator for all those fabulous new Fundraising Fridays – please let us know if you think you could help. It would involve getting in touch with teachers or clubs in advance to find out what they’re planning, and then spending a couple of hours on a Friday, once a month, helping make sure they’ve got what they need on the day.

The next committee meeting is on Tuesday 20th October (changed from Monday 19th October) at 8:30pm in the Tufnell Park Tavern, cafe section. All members (in other words, all parents and carers at the school!) are invited to join the committee there.




Wonderful, wonderful Wonderland

All I want for Christmas...

What more could anyone want for Christmas? Orion class gave us a star quality performance.

What a sparkling Winter Wonderland was celebrated at Tufnell Park School today! From Orion class’s opening chorus to Santa’s magical grotto, from the biscuit-decorating workshop to the high-energy dance moves, fantastic fun was had by all in two action-packed hours.

There will be plenty more pictures later in the week – and thanks a million to everyone who rushed to get these early shots for us to share. Now that the sugar’s worn off and children all over Tufnell Park have collapsed in exhausted heaps, there’s just time to thank everyone involved for a truly tremendous party – before the parents collapse likewise.