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Pupils-in-boots bring home the bacon

It resembles a scene from some bizarre dream. A field fills up with children, waddling in Wellington boots with jelly spilling over the sides.

These are the lengths to which All Saints' junior school in Fleet, Hampshire, is prepared to go to ensure it has enough money.

The children were taking part in a sponsored walk which contributed to the pound;5,000 that pupils raised last year.

Added to grants from every conceivable source, consultancy work by the headteacher at pound;300 a day and payment for showing prospective teachers the school to encourage them into the profession, the school generated more than pound;850,000 last year.

Janet Roberts, headteacher, said: "Because we are a successful school, people are attracted to us. All these little bits, like pound;10,000 here and Pounds 5,000 there, build up to quite a big sum. The pupils come up with their own fund-raising ideas - they're brilliant at it."

Pupils are currently trying to raise pound;50 in each class to pay for new play equipment to use at breaktimes, while also helping to support a school in Gambia.

They also enter pupils into every competition they can find, often winning pound;500 or pound;1,000 for the school.

All this serves to bolster parents' confidence. Mrs Roberts said that when she first arrived 14 years ago, there was much less parental involvement.

Parents now raise about pound;15,000 a year, some of it as gifts in thanks from those whose children are leaving.

Mrs Roberts said staffing is always the top priority for any extra money.

The school has been able to offer 10 per cent planning, preparation and assessment time for staff for many years, she said.

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