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(Pretty) please could we have your thoughts on school fairs for the times?

(92 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Jun-09 13:14:52

Angela from the Times writes:
"We have noticed that in the more prestigious schools they are becoming ludicrously competitive and pricy (£7 chutney; professional sugar-craft cakes on the cake stall etc) and aim to raise thousands of pounds - sometimes five-figure sums - rather than hundreds."

Is this your experience and if so what do you think?
Many txs in advance. MN Towers.

Coalman Wed 24-Jun-09 13:18:39

Our school fair is more about providing a fun day for the children than raising money. Community bonding and stuff.

Bouncy castle, sweaty cakes and tombola. Football skills, dancing and music demonstrations from the children.

Raise about £1000.

ComeOVeneer Wed 24-Jun-09 13:27:46

Our aim is twfold, to both raise money and have a good time. We raise between £2k and £3K. We do have proffessional sugar craft cakes (because I make them grin), but it is all very laid back and not at all competitve. However we are just a small village infant school.

ilove Wed 24-Jun-09 13:32:20

It is the quickest way to spend the most money for the least reward. Can you tell I had to go to ours on Saturday...£50 gone within 10 minutes angry

BreevandercampLGJ Wed 24-Jun-09 13:33:33

We have a good community spirit anyway, so we use the fairs both Summer and Christmas to raise as much cash as possible.

As the money goes back into the school, I fail to see the problem with this.

Uriel Wed 24-Jun-09 13:36:07

Maybe Angela could ask why school funding is so low that schools need to hold fairs?

tonysoprano Wed 24-Jun-09 13:46:47

Our school does manage to raise thousands of pounds but this is through the sheer hard work of the volunteers who organise it and the variety of things to buy/participate in. Also, the whole community attends not just the school. We certainly don't have £7 chutneys more like lots of lovely plants grown my the families of the school for £2.50

Bramshott Wed 24-Jun-09 13:56:43

Err, I think most school fairs are quite normal, certainly round here they are - home-made cakes, tombola etc. BUT if a school PTA is organised enough to organise a fair with professional stalls and sugar craft cakes etc, then surely they should be applauded, rather dirided?! I'm sure they're not doing it to compete with other schools or look down on anyone, just to raise the most money they can for their school?

Bramshott Wed 24-Jun-09 13:57:33

rather THAN DERIDED. God, preview woman, preview blush

edam Wed 24-Jun-09 13:57:57

My school sounds a bit like Tony's - it does raise something like £3K+ from each school fair (Spring, Autumn, Christmas) thanks to an awful lot of hard work from volunteers and the deep pockets of parents - we are in a relatively affluent area, lots of accountant/lawyer/doctor type parents. And there are lots of other fundraising events, plus some parents have a direct debit to the PTA.

But it does strike me as unfair that schools like ours, where most of the kids have lots of advantages anyway, can raise so much more money than schools in more deprived areas. In other ways, too - our local Waitrose was offering three local schools as the options for charity donations (those green tokens you get with your shopping). The parents at the least well-off school would, I imagine, be less likely to shop at Waitrose...

No idea how it would be possible to redress the balance, though.

Merrylegs Wed 24-Jun-09 14:01:44

Who has noticed school fairs are becoming ridiculously competitive? Which prestigious schools are you talking about, Angela from the Times? Could you back up your anecdote with evidence please, rather than just using it as an assumptive springboard?

Snorbs Wed 24-Jun-09 14:05:38

My DC's primary school does some great summer and winter fairs. The emphasis is much more on fun than fleecing people. Lots of traditional games - a coconut shy, plate smashing, throw wet sponges at the teachers etc - as well as bouncy castles, a BBQ, 2nd-hand school uniform sale and mountains of 2nd-hand toys and books etc.

We (two DCs and me) were at the summer fair for two or three hours and probably spent about £15-20 altogether and had an absolute whale of a time. The school usually raises a couple of thousand pounds.

Rhubarb Wed 24-Jun-09 14:06:56

By 'presitigious schools' I read 'private schools'.

Yes, I can just imagine all the mums competing as to who has made the best sponge cakes! But if Angela et al sent their kids to good old state schools, she would notice that school fairs are full of community spirit. It gives parents a chance to get to know the teachers; for teachers to show off pupils work; for the pupils to have fun and sell the little things they've lovingly made. They are not huge events and the turn-outs are never massive, but it just gives everyone a chance to mingle and it's good fun. The schools are usually happen to raise hundreds rather than thousands.

pollywobbledoodle Wed 24-Jun-09 14:26:44

ours is a state school and weather permitting has about 1500-2000 attend mainly extended families and local people

its hard work to put on but good fun and from the mainly 30p games and £1 bouncy castle/donkeys/face paintingetc it raises nearly £5000!

attending it has a nice feel, a real community spirit.

kormachameleon Wed 24-Jun-09 14:29:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

foofi Wed 24-Jun-09 14:51:54

I hate school fairs. I personally would rather each family made a donation to the school and we could all have the afternoon free to do something else. [grumpy emoticon]

andiem Wed 24-Jun-09 14:58:43

we usually raise between £3 and £4k but that is down to all the parents putting in the effort. We also spend a lot of time getting sponsorship and raffle prizes.We certainly don't have professional stuff on the stalls and we try to get the balance right between 20p games for the kids and more expensive stalls such as fizz and strawberries

hatwoman Wed 24-Jun-09 15:00:03

I like them - but resolved some years ago to only ever help out on stalls where people know what they're getting. I couldn't cope with the wobbly lips of small children who win nothin having just spent their last 20 pence on the kids tombola/treasure island thingy/pick a pink lollipop stick to get a prize stall. A friend of mine was saying he had a little boy ask if he could change his mind and get his money back...poor love.

FioFio Wed 24-Jun-09 15:16:25

Message withdrawn

RumourOfAHurricane Wed 24-Jun-09 15:24:37

Message withdrawn

myredcardigan Wed 24-Jun-09 15:31:08

If it raises money for the school then why knock it?

It only becomes a problem when you are expected to buy the £7 chutney.

Oh and we call ours a school fayre.

charis Wed 24-Jun-09 15:44:42

I think I would be more supportive if the pta spent the money on something useful. Last year we raised £3k and they bought a huge digital photo frame thing which was supposed to be updated with photos of the kids regularly for parents to see (suprise, suprise it has not been updated since easter) and a beautiful but hideously expensive rug for the children to sit on in the library. What a waste, I would rather have sent the money to charity.

EccentricaGallumbits Wed 24-Jun-09 15:45:24

ours was cancelled ths year because people couldn't be arsed to volunteer (primary)

secondary has just had a very expensive successful summer ball instead.

YohoAhoy Wed 24-Jun-09 15:52:18

I think it depends on what type of Fair you're talking about.

Our previous school holds a traditional craft fair (or fayre!!) near Christmas each year. There's a fee of £10 per table (usually around 25 stalls) which is money collected directly for the school.

What's actually sold depends entirely on the stallholders. We had something similar to the £7 chutneys, but also cards, jewellery, sweets etc at varying prices. That money belongs to the stallholders.

We also ran a cafe selling cakes/drinks/soup etc which usually raised another couple of hundred. Plus a raffle.

At our current school, the Summer Fair consists of games etc made up and run by the children. This includes welly & wet sponge throwing, various guessing games, apple bobbing, and similar - usually with as much mess as possible!

All money raised goes to the school. I'm not on the PTA here, so have no idea how much money it raises.

Both events are completely different, & both enjoyed very much.

Another point to consider is who is anticipated to attend.

The Christmas Craft Fayre was very much for the general community, not just the school. In fact last year we ran the school mini-buses to various care homes to collect/drop off anyone who wanted to attend.

The summer fair is very much a family & friends event - not open to the general public.

So really we need to know - who gets the money from the £7 chutney? grin

SoupDragon Wed 24-Jun-09 15:54:37

Ours is a traditional fair.

Home made cake stall selling a mix of Waitrose's Best, home baked beauties and something cobbled together by the kids which may, or may not, be a fairy cake (avoid the latter at all costs).
Prizes are plastic tat, much loved by the children.
There is a second hand toy stall where you donate back the stuff your children bought the year before.
There are bouncy castles, BBQ and a Pimms tent (not recommended together)
There is a "mini zoo" where they'll put a rat on your baby daughter without asking.
We have had pony rides but only because one of the families in the school has ponies.

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