A proper pampering was available for staff, students and visitors to Beal high school in Redbridge, east London, when students with autism in the school's communication and learning department organised a fund-raising day in aid of the National Autistic Society, making pound;1,200 in the process.
About a dozen students aged between 13 and 15 wrote letters, made telephone calls, designed, photocopied and printed posters and took them to local shops, welcomed visitors, manned stalls and even opened the day with a short speech. Hundreds of local people came into the 11-18 mainstream school, according to tutor Pam Degun.
They had a choice of flambe French cuisine produced by catering students from nearby Redbridge college, and manicures, pedicures and massages from beauty students at Waltham Forest college, all giving up time to support the day. After being approached by students, local companies donated food, beauty products and raffle prizes.
"I think they learned a lot of literacy and numeracy, but the most important thing was the social communication," Mrs Degun explained. "They were very nervous: they had to handle the money selling raffle tickets, explain to customers what beauty treatments were available, tell children where the lucky dip and face painting were.
"The day before, when they were decorating the hall and putting balloons up, they said, 'Is it really happening?' They didn't believe it was real.
But on the day, they mingled so well, I couldn't believe it."