Now you can use pupil creativity to fundraise for your school, writes Carolyn O'Grady
Next to her computer at Claremont Fan Court school in Surrey, Alison Walls, deputy head of the lower junior school, has an unusual mouse mat. It is a picture of a cow with a daisy in its mouth and was created by a pupil.
Similar examples of school artwork can be found next to the computers of many of Claremount's parents - and on coasters and place mats.
They are the products of a fundraising scheme organised by the school in association with FunMats, a company which makes coasters, mouse mats, place mats, canvas bags and T-shirts - all of them displaying children's artwork.
The idea is simple: every child produces a signed picture on a special drawing frame provided by FunMats.
Claremont pupils were encouraged to draw whatever they wanted, and children in the nursery used handprints for their pictures. FunMats put the designs on coasters and the school offered them for sale, accompanied by a form inviting parents to order additional coasters and other products. Any coasters not sold were returned to the company - and Claremont kept the profit.
FunMats sends out a step-by-step guide on how to complete the project.
Claremont bought the coasters at pound;1.50 each and sold them for pound;2. Mouse mats can be bought for pound;4.25 and sold for pound;5.50, and cork-backed place mats for pound;3.75 and sold for pound;4.50. Last year the school made more than pound;400 and bought some new classroom chairs with the funds.
"They made ideal Christmas presents, especially as everything is easily postable," says Ms Walls. "There was very positive feedback from the parents and many ordered other things as well."
Another fundraising option is offered by the Leaver Bear Company, which provides teddy bears. Designed primarily to be presented to school leavers, the 20-inch bears come smartly dressed in shirts or jumpers which match the school's uniform and are embroidered with an exact miniature of the school logo and the year in which the pupils leave.
They can also be presented in other contexts - as a "thank you" to the families of exchange students (in which case they sport the joint logo of the schools in both countries), as sports team mascots, or to commemorate an event.
Leaver Bears' new product is the Cheerio Chimp. Bears and chimps cost pound;6.60 plus VAT. Many schools buy these toys to give to Year 6 pupils, but they can also be bought in bulk by schools or parent-teacher associations to be used as a fundraising project.
Simply Stuck offers a range of labels and stickers. There are iron-on labels which will go through the washing machine and tumble dryer, as well as stickers for shoes, lunch boxes and drinking bottles.
Stickers come in packs of 50 or 100, or in larger mixed packs containing 150 of each type. Schools giving out the order forms - stamped with the name of the school - will receive 50p for every pack of labels purchased and pound;1.50 for the larger mixed packs.
The Leaver Bear Company