I would like to start this week’s blog by sending our love and congratulations to our Nursery Learning Assistant, Rajia Begum and her family, as she welcomed the arrival of her son Aaron last week. Aaron was so excited to meet his mum that he arrived 4 weeks early; we are thrilled that everyone is doing well and enjoying getting to know each other! 

This week in school we have been thinking about charity and making a difference, which feels like a perfect time to update you all on what we have been doing at BPS. Our charitable commitment is led by Charlotte Wright, and we welcome any ideas and suggestions for further ways in which we can support our community.  

We continue to support Stripey Stork by collecting and delivering monthly donations from their wishlist . Our Stripes 4 Stripey annual fundraising day in June – when the children came into school wearing stripes for a monetary donation and enjoyed ‘stripey’ ice lollies at breaktime – was combined with profits made from Year 6’s Enterprise Day raising a total of £581.54. 

Children in Year 4 went in class groups to help pack donation bags at the food bank on two occasions in April and May, and Julia Adams organised a race night in May which raised much needed funds for the Turkish Earthquake appeal and UNICEF – a total of £600 was shared between the two charities. 

We’ve strengthened our relationship with the residents of Belvedere House care home, visiting to play board games with the residents and children in Year 6 visited during the week of Armed Forces Day to share their learning about WW2 with the residents and hear about their experiences of war. We are looking forward to the children singing Christmas Carols to the residents in December. 

This term, staff have donated to two charity appeals: ‘Collection4Clothes’ following their request for help in September and ‘Children’s Hospital Pyjamas’  for East Surrey Hospital, Royal Surrey Hospital and Shooting Stars Childrens Hospice in time for Christmas.  Over 40 pairs of pyjamas were donated, which will hopefully help bring a smile to children in hospital this Christmas. 

Each year we collect food bank donations at Harvest Festival – Deborah, who runs the St Matthews foodbank in Redhill, came to the harvest service in church to talk to the children about homelessness and how donations are used to help people in need. Children in Year 6 collected all the donations and loaded up the minibus, ready for the site team to deliver them. 

In October, Comedy Night returned, organised and hosted by Julia to raise money for Brain Tumour Research and the Alzheimer’s Society, which was a great hit and we donated £239.48. 

We had a good group of families supporting the Banstead Village Remembrance Day parade, presenting a wreath on behalf of the school as part of the official ceremony. We continue to support the village where we can – our recent Be Yourself (non-uniform) day in October raised £492.50 for the Banstead Village Residents Association to support their ‘Banstead Village in Gloom’ Christmas lights campaign following the removal of council funding. We have also offered to store the lights for them during the year. The BVRA were absolutely overwhelmed with the response, and one member said that the generosity of the people of Banstead has restored his faith in the community; he was about to give up volunteering!  The lights will be illuminated on Thursday 30 November.  We continue to sponsor one of the flower wheelbarrows in Banstead and take care of the area around the Banstead Village sign (by the roundabout at the top of Sutton Lane).  We (BPS) have a plaque below the sign thanking us for our help.  Mrs Clark manages the upkeep of these areas with a group of children.   

Swimming is becoming expensive and falling off the curriculum for state primary schools, so through our links with local schools we offered use of our pool, free of charge. I am pleased to say that we have Banstead Infant School and St Annes currently using our facilities. 

Finally, we were thrilled to collaborate with students at Dunottar School who embarked on a cricket and netball tour to South Africa during the October half term holiday. They took with them over 200 donated BPS purple jumpers and some of our old cricket kit, which have been donated to children in two schools in Kayamndi Township – Stellenbosch. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported these fantastic activities in different ways – charity and community at BPS really is a whole school initiative.  It remains very important to us that giving time, thought and energy is something we can all do, even when fundraising might be challenging. We are very proud that our school community continues to do both.