Competitive school takes up challenge

Sue Tomkys conducts the orchestra at St Joseph’s Primary School in Headington. Picture: OX53045 Greg Blatchford

Sue Tomkys conducts the orchestra at St Joseph’s Primary School in Headington. Picture: OX53045 Greg Blatchford

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

PUPILS have turned newspaper sellers at an Oxford school to support its bid to win £7,500 of improvements.

For the fourth time, the Oxford Mail has teamed up with Abingdon-based construction company Leadbitter to offer one primary school a makeover.

St Joseph’s Primary School, in Headley Way, Headington, wants to improve its music room.

The project has been shortlisted for the final, and it is now down to the school to collect as many tokens, printed in the Oxford Mail, as possible.

Headteacher Sue Tomkys said: “We have been bringing copies of the Oxford Mail into school so parents can buy them in the playground in the morning, afternoon and at after-school club.

“We have also had a couple of collections where the money we raise will go towards buying copies of the Oxford Mail and we are fully entering the spirit of the campaign.”

She said families were rallying support in their workplaces, particularly at the John Radcliffe Hospital, where many of the pupils’ parents are employed.

Mrs Tomkys said: “The children are massively excited.

“They really enjoy a challenge and they quite like the competitive nature of it.

“I think they would be absolutely thrilled if we won and it will make a much bigger difference than you would think something quite small would do.”

The school has a big focus on music, with 90 children in the school choir, and 34 in the orchestra.

All Year Three and Four pupils learn a brass instrument free of charge, meaning every single child who comes to the school learns to play an instrument.

Mrs Tomkys said: “The school invests a lot of money into providing exceptional musical opportunities for children at this school.

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“But I don’t think this is something we could go ahead with without the money, because we have to think about what we need in the longer term, and to keep capital money to pay for things like roofs and windows.”

Profiles of the remaining finalists will be published tomorrow and Monday, with vouchers printed alongside them. Supporters need to send tokens to their chosen schools by Tuesday.

They will then be totted up and each voucher weighted according to the number of pupils at the school, to ensure that smaller schools have an equal chance to win.

The gold voucher printed on this page is worth five normal vouchers.

The winners will be notified next week, with the work carried out by Leadbitter during the summer holidays.

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