Running an enterprise competition with Year 5 or 6 children where they set up their own stalls helps them learn business skills, such as profit and loss, marketing, etc. Can they keep half their profits to be spent on something just for their class? This will give you more helpers and stalls, and some families will be more likely to come along if their children have a part to play. Liaise with teachers to get a shortlist of the children's ideas to ensure that none of their stalls clash with PTA-run stalls, or provide a list of stalls you'd like to see to help give breadth to your fair.
'We give our Year 6 Students a chance to run their own stall at the summer fair. It's a competition, and the members of the team that raises the most get a prize of a £10 book token or an iTunes voucher each.
Pupils love coming up with their own ideas and having responsibility for their own stall. We give the children about a month to organise it. We usually have around ten stalls with teams of three to six on each.
Last year, stalls included fastest goal, hook-a-duck and soak the teacher! Parents helped to purchase any props required. This meant that our only outgoing were the prizes, at a maximum of £60. Parents also assisted with running these stalls on the day, as we needed to have a parent helper on each stall in order to sign out the floats. The pupils' stalls made a huge difference to the summer fair, contributing over £1,000 to our overall profit. The chocolate fountain stall, which raised over £350, won the prize. The children love getting involved and are really proud of their achievements.'
Joanne Forde, PTA Chair, Ravenbank Primary School, Lymm, Cheshire (412 pupils)
Grow a fiver
'Our Year 6 Enterprise Week has run for many years. Each pupil is given £5 from the PTA to start their stalls, and then they merge into teams of three-to-five to set up their business. This usually happens around three weeks before the summer fair. There are 30 children in our Year 6 class, making around 6-10 teams. Some groups run games while others make craft items or sell sweet treats. Ice pops always prove popular, even if it's raining!
Those who sell goods usually run their stalls in the week running up to the fair. Staff are always on hand to give guidance to our pupil stallholders. Last year they raised around £300-£400.The money tends to be used to buy the Year 6s a treat or leavers T-shirts. This year, our Year 6 class will donate their takings to the PTA to part-fund an outdoor shelter, a project which is to be a lasting memory of Niamh Curry, a student who would have been in Year 6 this year, but died of cancer when she was in Reception.'
Gail Roe, Chair, Friends of Little Harrowden Primary School, Northamptonshire (210 pupils)