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Poptastic fun for wannabes

Inspired by Tony Blackburn's success, teachers are staging their own survival show for charity. George Wright reports

Teachers at a north-east prep school are all vying to be the next Tony Blackburn.

They are aiming to emulate the cheesy DJ in their own version of the TV programme I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Nine staff from Yarm school, Stockton on Tees, have volunteered to be locked in a classroom for three days and nights next week and face being voted out by pupils in "I'm a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here".

Fortunately they will not be expected to eat jungle grubs, handle snakes or negotiate evil-smelling swamps. They will, however, be expected to perform daily tasks set by headteacher Gillian Taylor.

These will range from short speeches on "nonsense" subjects to physical and mental tests.

Pupils at the co-educational school, which charges pound;5,037 to pound;6,012 per term, will pay 20p each time they vote for their favourite teacher. Parents will be able to vote in multiples of pound;5 for their favoured survivor.

On Tuesday the volunteers will spend the night in the resources centre.

Three will be voted out each day until three "finalists" remain to battle it out to become the winner on Friday.

The staff will still be expected to take their normal lessons each day.

Ian McKay, the school's information technology co-ordinator, dreamt up the scheme after a particularly late finish following a recent parents'

evening.

He said: "One of my colleagues was joking about how we live at school because of the amount of time we spend here, so I thought why don't we actually do it? We're not trying to make a big political statement, it's really just a bit of fun to raise money for good causes."

He predicted that the Tony Blackburn wannabes will all rub along, and did not expect Tara Palmer-Tompkinson tantrums or Nigel Benn sulks, but he admitted there could be a scrum for the shower each morning.

Mr McKay, 28, said: "It will be a very interesting experience for all of us, and hopefully we won't fall out quite as badly as the celebrities did in the television show.

"If we do have any spats, I'm sure it will just make it more interesting for the voters and help raise more money."

The school hopes to raise pound;4,000, to be split between five charities; Butterwick Hospice, RNLI, Teesside Hospice, Multiple Sclerosis and Macmillan Cancer Care.

The winner will receive a prize of a night in a hotel, including dinner and spa therapy, donated by a local company.

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