Five-Minute Marvels: St Andrew’s PTA is on a roll!

Volunteering Primary Community Engagement England
10 June 2020
After closing to many students due to the pandemic, the St Andrew’s PTA started looking for ways to keep everyone connected. They decided to take part in the viral toilet roll challenge, and had a lot of fun with it…

Who are they?

St Andrew’s C of E School in Soham, Cambridgeshire. A primary school of 500 pupils, they’re supported by the St Andrew’s PTA, who form a close-knit community – everyone around Soham is familiar with the St Andrew’s Family.’ The school closed on 20th March and we were keen to keep communications with our pupils during the lockdown time,” says PTA Chair Sarah Clayton. Everyone always says I have mad ideas in the middle of the night, but I think they can turn into some of the best!”

What did they do?

The PTA decided to push pause on fundraising and focus on ways to bring the community together in an inclusive, fun, and non-competitive way. One of the local sports teams shared their toilet roll challenge video, and we thought this ticked all the boxes for something we could do.”

Sarah explains, It was really important to us that there was no pressure on participants, so we made it as easy as possible to take part. We put a message on our PTA and school Facebook groups explaining what we were planning and the date we needed videos by. We thought we’d get a handful of clips but over 120 videos came in! We also asked the head teacher to start off the video, which was great as everyone knew him. A great deal of imagination was shown by school staff and students – with dogs, trampolines and classic cars all featuring!”

How did it go?

Making the video was great fun, with far more families getting involved than they thought would. There is so much sadness and negativity in the news at the moment, so the PTA committee really wanted to keep people smiling and say that it’s okay to have a laugh. From speaking to Sarah, it’s obvious how much those who work at St Andrew’s are truly invested in their jobs and really miss interacting with their students. She reports that the video, Received some lovely feedback from staff, students and their families thanking us for helping them feel connected.”

I absolutely could not have done it without the wonderful PTA committee who bring so many different skills to the table.”

What’s next?

It’s important to remember that not everyone will be comfortable with every activity on offer, So we have plenty of other ideas in the pipeline,” says Sarah.

The next project we have lined up is Recreate a Book Cover’ and it’s been wonderful to see the creative streak in some of the costumes! We’ve been really clear that it’s fun, and you can dress up in anything you can find around the house, so there doesn’t have to be a financial element. We’re also taking a leaf out of the supermarkets’ books and running a click-and-collect (socially distanced) Father’s Day shop. This is something we’ve done in the past for other events, and the children really enjoy it.”

With thanks to Sarah Clayton and the St Andrew’s Primary PTA

Want to make your own marvel? Organising a viral video challenge for your own school community?

  • When asking for help, reassure that volunteering can be on a one-off basis rather than a long-term commitment
  • When using photos/​videos of children as a part of your project, make sure that parents and families know exactly how these will be used, and that they’ve provided full consent