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Show me the money

What do you do when you've raided the head's secret jam jar but still need pound;249.50? Read Michael Thorn's funding advice

BYLINE:he recommended minimum fee for a visiting writer is pound;250 a day plus travel expenses. During a book week you may wish to invite more than one writer, or a large primary or secondary school might want to use several authors for various age groups. So, for planning purposes, you have to be assured of a budget of several hundred pounds.

The funds don't need to come from a single source. Money could come from any one, or a combination of several, of the following.

* School budget: if the visit is primarily aimed at encouraging writing, you could use funds from the English allocation.

* Standards fund: demonstrate that participating teachers will undergo professional development, particularly if they sit in on a workshop, and you can legitimately use the relevant standards fund - if it is primarily for enrichment, you could use the study support element of standards funding.

* School or PTA fundraising: profits made from the sale of school uniform, book bags and so on, or a portion of the funds raised at a summer fairs, could be fed back into school in this way.

* Separate fundraising: the school council could organise a fundraising activity specifically to help finance an author visit - this might be a used-book sale, or a sale of the author's own books.

* Book-signing: sometimes an author will want to supply their own books. If you have a good relationship with a local independent bookseller, you could invite them to run the book-signing stall. Otherwise, it can make financial sense to organise it yourself.

If you order books direct from the publisher (sale or return), most will offer a trade discount. Part of this can be passed on to children purchasing books on the day and the rest (profit from sales) can go towards funding the event. You will need a sympathetic bursar, for whom this will mean extra work.

* Arts Council funding: Apply to your regional Arts Council office, but funding is now geared to longer projects that can be seen to have a lasting impact. A week's residency stands a better chance than a day visit. See www.booktrust.org.ukwritingtogetherpack.pdf to source extra funding.

Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm Primary School, Hailsham, East Sussex

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