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Alternative to school disco for primary age children?

(22 Posts)
tryhardrep Thu 17-Jan-13 10:55:46

School disco is out at our primary school for various reasons: it's a big school - double intake at reception – and a space to fit the whole school would be too expensive, headteacher thinks they're a bit young for all that and, it turned into a bit of a H&S nightmare last time with everyone terrified that limbs might be broken, children concussed etc with hundreds of excited 4-11-year-olds bombing round in the same hall. Does anyone have any suggestions for an alternative fun, morale-boosting group activity that will meet the following criteria:
(a) not be crazily expensive
(b) appeal to children across the year groups

Any suggestions v welcome, thanks.

MirandaWest Thu 17-Jan-13 10:58:40

Could you have separate infant and junior events?

Elibean Thu 17-Jan-13 11:00:34

Hmm....does it have to be the whole school in one go? We do discos in key stages, which makes them fun and manageable....

Whole school: fun run? Police close off roads, and the whole school puts on silly socks and does mad exercises to warm up in playground, then sets off around the block, followed by a carousel of fun activities. Its a 'community day' thing, we started it because of sports relief but just do it for fun now - and lots of tying in with local community (older kids cook and serve tea for the elders of the community, local community centre does stuff for adults, etc).

Carousels of games work quite well, if you put kids into across-the-years teams so the big ones help the little ones.

Seeline Thu 17-Jan-13 11:01:15

Firstly our large primary does three school discos each time Y1/2, Y3/4 and Y5/6. Each one lasts about 1.45hrs and leads on from the previous one (15min gap between to allow for clearing up/sorting out etc!) Lots of help from parents but works pretty well.

The nursery/reception kids have a magic show which might work well across the whole school? Perehaps have that for KS1 and tehn have the isco for KS2 kids?

tryhardrep Thu 17-Jan-13 11:04:01

MirandaWest * Elibean I think that was tried in past years but (a) kids with siblings in other years just tagged along to those discos too and (b) it meant hiring the venue on two separate nights to fit all the groups in and became prohibitively expensive (school recently became an academy so local council will no longer give reduced rates for hiring local spaces e.g. town hall)

The fun run idea actually sounds really really good but we're in central london so I'm not sure how feasible the closing off roads thing is. Presumably you did this at the weekend - was turn-out good?

tryhardrep Thu 17-Jan-13 11:06:29

Thanks for these ideas folks - really helpful

Seeline any idea how much the magician cost? That does sound good particularly if we can persuade the head teacher to let us do it at school hence not having to pay for venue.

- also, re the discos, presumably that has to happen on a saturday to fit everyone in?

feetheart Thu 17-Jan-13 11:12:07

We only started doing discos last year but have divided them into two - R, Yr1 and Yr2 for an hour than Yr3, 4, 5 and 6 for 90 mins (with 30mins turn-around) We are currently a two form entry but went up to three this September so I think the next Christmas disco (when we will have 3 R and 3 Yr1 classes) will be divided into three, possibly on two separate evenings to fit them all in!

The whole school in one go sounds like a nightmare to be honest, I would be scared, having nearly 200 Yr3, 4,5 and 6 was busy enough for us! As it is we are thinking about putting Yr3 in with the littler ones as they seem a bit swamped by the bigger ones.

They are certainly the most popular event I have been involved in over 5 years, both in terms of the number of children who turn up (approx 2/3 of the school) and the money we make. Worth thinking about if you really can't have a disco.

Seeline Thu 17-Jan-13 11:12:09

I don't know I'm afraid.
Do you not charge the children to go to these events though? Our discos are usually £4 a head. This includes squash and a pack of crisps, but is meant as a PTA fundraiser. They also sell sweets, glow sticks, glitter tattoos and nail painting. THe discos are on a Sasturday afternoon/evening and held i nthe school hall. THe school is a 3 form entry so potentially 180 kids a go. Entry is strictly monitored with numbered tickets being issued prior to the event, and then these being required to enter. It also helps monitor drop off and pick up.

tabulahrasa Thu 17-Jan-13 11:18:34

Discoes for infants and upper school can be done any night... 4 hours, 1.5 for each disco, 20 minutes for setting up, swapping age groups and clearing up. You do the younger ones first, they're signed in and ticked back out again. Same with the older ones.

You do need a dj that will do activities though or it does turn into stampeding children.

Sell sweets and juice and you'll break even, charge entry and you get profit.

tryhardrep Thu 17-Jan-13 11:23:11

feetheart yes, there are more than 400 kids so I'm not sure how it worked (my DD1 only started at the school in september).

There seems to be some reservation about charging anything more than a token amount though £4 sounds reasonable for me.

Headteacher won't let us use the school hall, worried about H&S, damaged property and there seemed to be some suggestion that we couldn't lock the classrooms (maybe because the doors out of them are the fire escapes?) so I guess she's worried about having hundreds of people roaming around the school outside of school hours. Sorry if I sound a bit vague, as I say, it's all new to me.

Also, there's been a massive fundraising drive in the past few years so we've been banned from doing any of that kind of thing this year. But obviously that doesn't stop us covering costs!

Just looked up magicians, sounds like we'd be looking at a few hundred quid at least, but that might be feasible.

DeWe Thu 17-Jan-13 11:43:36

When I was at school the disco was year 2 and up. But it was only one form entry.

At dd2's junior school (large over 600) they do it as years 3/4 and years 5/6. Only siblings allowed are older (year 5/6) can come and "help" at the year 3/4 if their parents are also helping. It's pay in advance and no one who hasn't paid gets in. There's also a maximum number, so if all signed up it goes on first come first served basis. I think they've only once had to operate a waiting list.

They're only allowed in the hall and to the toilet, and have a DJ that also organises games, plus little stalls (like spin the wheel) on the side for 20p a go, with little prizes.
They also get a meal (order with ticket) of either hot dog, burger or veg option (varies) and they pay £5 for this.

They also will phone for a child to go home who is not behaving and will ban them for future discos for a year. And they do implement this. A few of the senior staff are there (the head does a good imitation of loving such things!) which also helps with keeping them in order.

RaisinBoys Thu 17-Jan-13 12:42:27

Nursery - disco in class pm

Reception - disco in class pm

Infants - 1 hour straight after school

Junions - 6-7.30pm (so the girls can go and get changed!!!)

£3 charged for Infants/Juniors. Break for squash and snack. DJ.

500 children. Always works well - no injuries to date!

Teachers/TA'a and PTA act as bouncers and support to those who need a bit of encouragement

cakebar Thu 17-Jan-13 12:56:49

600+ school here. We have KS1 for 45 minutes (and that is plenty) then 5 minute gap before KS2 for 60 minutes. On a school night, in the school hall. £2.50. Teachers come along for a bit, which the kids love. We serve squash, that's it. I can't see how a school hall could get trashed by it confused.

lopsided Thu 17-Jan-13 12:57:45

If you cannot use the school premises it will be very difficult financially. You certainly won't make money for the pta, and you may struggle to cover costs.

You need school support for these things I think. The caretaker and cleaning staff have to be ok with it and ideally have one or two teachers to attend and look authoritative smile

noramum Thu 17-Jan-13 13:31:06

Our infant (220 children) does 2 discos each year, they charge £3 for each child (babies are free) and sell hotdogs, juice/water and sweets. They make a fortune. The last one was sold out 1 week after the ticket sale started.

But: I think the children are more interested in running around and eating than a disco and after 3 times I am reluctant to do another one in March with DD. I normally spend £10 including the ticket as I get pestered in paying for tatoos and sweets. Next time DD has to pay with her pocket money.

They are normally done Friday direct after school (school closes at 3.15pm, disco starts at 3.45pm to allow parents to collect juniors from next door).

I would prefer they would do some other activity like a sports one or a treasure hunt. But that would obviously mean problems with the weather. So the disco is the save option how to raise a lot of money

OldBeanbagz Thu 17-Jan-13 13:53:26

Bedtime Stories - all the children come to school in their PJs with teddies for a story telling session. Hot chocolate/glass of milk & biscuits provided. You can split the children by class or double the classes up.

It's nice and calming if nothing else smile

lljkk Thu 17-Jan-13 18:53:56

OP: they've never had a disco in the school hall? shock
Ours are after school for 1.25 hours, first infants then juniors with a 15 min. break inbetween. All over 6:15pm.

What is PTA for if not to provide adults to help these events run?

I don't think Discos are great money-spinners. But at least they are very popular, they make the children like school & their school mates.

Closing off the roads could cost a fortune, and a lot of children would hate running so not turn up.

sittinginthesun Thu 17-Jan-13 18:57:23

Your head would hate our school - we do a roller disco in the school hall!

noramum Thu 17-Jan-13 20:36:30

I love the bedtime story idea. Or a Teddy Bear picnic

DJDee Tue 30-Apr-13 00:22:50

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Runoutofideas Tue 30-Apr-13 07:41:43

Would the head go for the disco idea if it was on a school day? Our school (90 intake but infants' only) does it as follows:

Usually on a Friday
2pm-3pm reception (bring change of clothes in a bag and change at school)
3.15-4.15 Yr 1 (Bring clothes and change at school)
4.30 - 5.30 Yr 2 (Go home to change and come back)

We charge £3 per ticket to include drink and a snack. The fabulous DJ charges us £180 for all 3 sessions and gears them specifically for the correct year groups. There are lots of action songs and adult led activity rather than just a free for all.

You also have the added benefit that most children go, as apart from Yr2 they are in school anyway.

The junior school does Yr 3 and 4 together, then yr 5 and 6 afterwards.

Just realised this was an old thread - sorry!

jamtoast12 Tue 30-Apr-13 07:56:09

Wow schools discos con here are expensive! Ours are £1 each and people still moan if there are multiple siblings! No one would go if ours cost more than that!

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