Graeme Burgess, Headteacher, Balsall Common Primary Academy, Solihull (719 pupils) told us: 'Our dads-only Scalextric night has been running once a term for four years now. A parent and I both had an interest in Scalextric racing, and I had been running a lunchtime Scalextric club for pupils, which had proved popular. The idea of a "dads-only" evening was to get dads more involved with the school, through an event that would hopefully be of interest and at a time when they were free. Furthermore, funds could be raised!
There was some initial trepidation on my part – what if mums felt alienated? What if no-one came? These concerns proved unfounded, as since then there has been no shortage of dads wanting to race! Our last event took place in November. Dads signed up in advance, paying £10. The race order was drawn up, the track prepared, prizes purchased and the kitchen staff were briefed to prepare the food.
On the night, racers arrived at 7pm for a preliminary view of the track and the cars that they would be racing – we change the track layout each time, based on one of the Grand Prix circuits. The score sheet organised the racers so that over four heats and five races each driver raced each of the cars. This kept the race fair since each car performs differently. We provided food: pork pies, black pudding, red onion and sausage rolls. Dads brought their own drinks with them, so we didn’t need a licence.
Trigger fingers were readied... and they were off! In the event of a car malfunction the racer was eliminated from that heat! Finishing orders were entered onto a spreadsheet – the data projector hummed away and dads could scrutinise the emerging race order! At 11pm the racing was over and the podium was populated. This was a wonderful event which put me on first name terms with about 50 dads. It did take time to organise, and cars need replacing from time-to-time, however, the outcome has been fantastic with about £200 raised at each event.'