‘Parents stepped in to support staff who didn’t have time to run our annual bonnet parade’

Wardley Primary School PTA stepped in to save the annual Easter bonnet parade

‘In February 2018, our headteacher at Wardley Primary School in Gateshead announced that, due to time constraints for staff, there was not going to be an Easter bonnet parade for the first time in years. We wanted the KS1 children to be able to take part in this tradition, so the Wardley POP (parents of pupils) was formed to take on the task. 

We liaised with school staff to organise a date and arrange a staff presence for child protection and safety. Once this was done, parents and older children organised everything else. They planned which stalls and activities to incorporate and how many helpers were required. It took around 20 parents and staff members to cover stalls and organise the children.

We sent out letters to all children from nursery to Year 2, inviting them to take part for a £1 entry fee. The children made their bonnets at home to bring in on the day. 

The event was held at the end of the school day, which meant parents could sit and watch while being responsible for their own children. Staff escorted the children taking part to a classroom to get ready, and we arranged a catwalk with music in the school hall so they could show off their creations. The judging panel was made up of three staff members to keep it impartial, and the catwalk was compered by a parent, who introduced each child as they took their turn. We let less confident children go on stage with friends or siblings. 

Everyone who took part received a packet of sweets and a certificate. The judges gave their results of first, second and third place, and we awarded Easter-themed prizes. The prizes had all been donated to minimise spending. 

We sold baked goods for 50p and also held a raffle, chocolate tombola and name-the-rabbit competition. The event raised over £300. Other schools running this event could charge more, but we decided this pricing would work for us. 

Everyone enjoyed the parade and POP now holds a variety of events for the school, including uniform sales, coffee mornings and afternoon tea.’

Claire O’Halloran and Gilly Kirby, Wardley POP, Wardley Primary School, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear (300 pupils)