PUPILS at a Birmingham secondary raised pound;8,000 for Afghanistan by paying not to go to lessons.
The 1,350 pupils at Moseley school in a deprived part of the city have been commended by the United Nations Children's Fund for managing to raise one of the highest amounts so far of any school nationally.
A joint appeal is being run by UNICEF with The TES to help children in Afghanistan get back into school.
Professor Ted Wragg of Exeter University said: "It is absolutely brilliant. It confirms that British pupils are top of the world league for caring about people."
Moseley school pupils held brainstorming sessions and came up with some novel fundraising ideas. A popular event which raised more than pound;2,000 included paying pound;1 to skip a lesson. Pupils also put on an evening of entertainment with a comic play in Urdu, a Bollywood-style dance and Shabaab, traditional Pakistani music.
Sixth-former Zulakha Bi choreographed the dance and pupils practised every day after school for two weeks before the event. Zulakha said: "I felt proud that we raised that much money. I feel we have helped people who really needed it."
Alia Tabasum, 19, acted in the play and sold candles and cards. She said:
"I was astounded that we managed to raise that much."
Samera Shabir, 17, who helped organise the event, said: "It was a really good opportunity to help children in need. We have so many opportunities here in the UK and we are so lucky. I would like them to have the same things we have here."
David Peck, Moseley headteacher, is very proud of his pupils.
"There was an overwhelming sympathy for the people out there from both the children and the teachers.
"I was absolutely staggered that we managed to raise so much. I thought we might raise pound;1,000, but not pound;8,000.
"Everyone here is delighted and very proud. More than half of our pupils are on free school meals and we are in one of the most deprived areas in the country. It is amazing that we raised that amount of money."
Moseley school has a small number of Afghan pupils and is 85 per cent Muslim. It decided to raise money for Afghanistan as part of Eid-ul-fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan when Muslims fast and help those in need.
Linda McCaughey, UNICEF's regional manager, said: "This is a wonderful achievement by the pupils and the community as a whole. As a single donation it has to rank among the highest amount the charity has received from one school."
FE Focus, 39