Anyone visiting Pocklington School in the run-up to our Easter break might have been shocked to find staff gunging, musical chairs and human ten pin bowling among the sights to behold.
We weren’t in the grip of a pupil revolution – though it probably appeared so to the lucky teachers chosen to be gunged – but in fact a very well-organised annual Charity Week, led by the students themselves.
The week also involved money-raising fairs staged by both the Lower School and Middle School, a superhero butler auction for the services of sixth formers as assistants for the day, human skittles and staff vs pupils football challenges.
Much fun was had by all, but of course Charity Week also has a serious underlying purpose.
First, it helps make pupils aware of the importance of contributing to the world beyond the school gates, where there is much they can do to help communities and individuals.
It is also a fine way of raising awareness of the charities sector, and the commitment of the many volunteers who work tirelessly and receive little recognition or thanks.
Each year the school’s Sixth Form led Charities Committee chooses four worthy charities to raise money for, and invites representatives to come and talk to pupils in assemblies.
This year the chosen charities were the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, whose fast medical response has saved many lives across the county; Project Mala, which works to abolish child labour in the hand knotted carpet industry in India; childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish; and Cool Earth, which is working to halt rainforest destruction.
Such a diverse selection, but all sharing a passion and dedication to help people which inspired our pupils to come up with creative ways of raising money in support of their extremely valuable work.
Pupils also gained experience of project planning, from the ideas stage to the delivery, and of working together as a team to achieve something worthwhile.
The satisfaction of seeing a plan though to fruition will, we hope, inspire them to take more creative and intellectual risks in their learning, and in life.
This is especially true if they enjoy themselves along the way, which, judging by the smiles on pupils’ faces during Charity Week, was very much the case.
Mrs Helen Alexander, a teacher at the school, deserves a thank you for her hard work in overseeing the run-up to Charity Week, but special mention must be made, too, for the efforts of our Sixth Form organising committee, led by Oliver Peeke-Vout, Sam McAllister, Adelle Kama and George Jibson.
The whole of the Upper Sixth also found time to lead and help the rest of the school before and during the fundraising week. Emily Boddy and Rob Smith in the Lower Sixth also deserve special mention for their help.
The entire event was a real team effort which brought out the mutually supportive and organisational skills of our pupils. They raised £2,825 for the charities, an amount due to be topped up by the Pocklington School Charity Walk in June.
I am proud to be Headmaster of such an inventive and creative school.
Charity Week not only benefited our chosen charities, but also helped our pupils experience the value and satisfaction of doing their bit to help make a positive difference for others.