We were pleased to be contacted by BBC Children in Need earlier this term to congratulate us on being in the top 200 schools in the UK for raising money for the charity last year. They asked whether we would be happy to be included in any media coverage of the event this year, and when we agreed we expected to possibly send in a report and photos of our fundraising activities this year.
Little did we know that the BBC Children in Need team had much grander plans!
We were contacted at the end of October to ask us if we would host a Spotacular launch event at the school to include a guest appearance from Olly Murs, who was keen to return to the school he attended. Obviously we said that we would be delighted for this to happen and so the date was set for Monday 7 November 2016.
We selected students according to achievement and attendance and, for Year 11 and sixth form students, positions of responsibility and contributions to the school community. The criteria for selection was 35+ conduct points (achievement points minus any behaviour points) and then 97%+ attendance for the first half term. The parents and carers of these 201 students were sent letters and invited to a Children In Need event, but the star of the show had to be kept under wraps.
On Monday morning, students arrived at the theatre with their tickets in time for a 9am start with a good number wearing spotty outfits and Pudsey attire to celebrate the occasion. Once the theatre was full Mrs Kelly welcomed the students and congratulated them on their fundraising last year and revealed that there was actually a special guest performance, teasing students with the detail that he used to attend the school and (the dead giveaway) that he has performed at the school once before, when he arrived by helicopter with Simon Cowell as a then X-Factor contestant.
The curtains were pulled back to reveal Olly and his band as Mrs Kelly introduced him to a stunned theatre who were amazed and delighted to be treated to an acoustic performance of Olly’s latest single, Grow Up. Olly then selected the students with the best costumes and attire for photographs with him for the BBC Children in Need 2016 launch campaign.
His final request was a walk around school, without cameras. He spent about 20 minutes walking around with Mrs Kelly and his team and later tweeted and posted on Instagram about how great it was to take a trip down memory lane at his old school.
It was a wonderful event and the students who were lucky enough to be selected to see his performance will, no doubt, remember the experience for a long time to come.
A Year 9 student, Shannon Raymond W3, was nominated for the Jack Petchey award last month for being a caring and conscientious student. Shannon has chosen to spend her award money on cakes and sweets to be sold at break and lunch times during the week commencing Monday 14 November, with all monies going directly to Children in Need.
Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form have pledged to beat the £1,598.73 raised last year for BBC Children In Need for this year and we will be pitting the houses against one another to see which house can raise the most money. There will be a variety of events next week leading up to a non-uniform day on Friday 18 November 2016. Please do send your children in with change for cakes and sweets throughout the week plus a donation for the non-uniform day on Friday.