What does a pirate do when he loses his treasure chest of teddy bears? He enlists the help of Year 1 children of the seven schools of the Upper Wharfedale Primary Schools Partnership, all 53 of them.
I dress up as Pirate Jake and tell the tale of how, when sending a message in a bottle, I inadvertently hit a sea hag on the head. The sea hag vents her anger by making Pirate Jake forget where his treasure (of Faberge teddies) is buried. Jake's only memory is that the treasure is guarded by a terrible monster who eats pirates.
The only way the curse can be lifted is for Jake to get help from his Year 1 friends. To help the swashbuckling pirate the children colour teddy-bear shapes, make cut-outs of all the tools Jake might need, make a bag to help him carry his equipment, draw a map to help find the treasure, make a sandwich to pacify the monster, and put the events of Jake's story in sequence.
The KS1 teachers of the different schools organise and run the activities.
Jake returns later in the day to collect one of each of the things he needs - each teacher chooses the work of a pupil from another school. While everyone clears away Jake goes off to find the treasure, returning, somewhat dishevelled and dirty, with his treasure chest and a tale of how the children's efforts helped him. Among the teddies are 53 bags of chocolate coins to say thank you to all the children. Of course, the people who do all the really hard work are the KS1 teachers of Arncliffe, Beamsley, Burnsall, Cracoe, Grassington, Kettlewell and Threshfield schools, but we all enjoy a wonderful day, which provides an opportunity for the children from these rural schools to come together. It also gives staff (some from two-teacher schools) the opportunity to work with colleagues from the same key stage.
The whole day buzzes with excitement and ends with a shared sense of a job well done.
Headteacher, Threshfield Primary School, North Yorkshire