Girl waving goodbye to school

Events for school leavers

What kind of celebration is your PTA organising for the Year 6 leavers this summer? If you need ideas for events, look no further.

Leavers' BBQ (and family rounders match)

A barbecue or a picnic is a great way to get the children and their families together. Remember that your some of your leavers' parents are saying goodbye to the school too. Use the school field, and ask parents to bring picnic blankets or camping chairs. If attendees bring their own alcohol, you won't need a licence. Throw in a rounders or football match to bring the community together one last time. Parents and teachers versus children is the perfect recipe for some friendly competition!

Clare Barnes, PTA Secretary, West Witney Primary school, West Witney, Oxfordshire (309 pupils): 'Every year, our school organises a barbecue for all Year 6 pupils, parents and teachers. Normally this includes a game of rounders where the children are up against parents and teachers. The PTA also gives our leavers a professionally printed yearbook, which includes each child's school photo right from Early Years - if we have it!. The barbecue isn't organised to make a profit, it's just so the school can wish the leavers a fond farewell. The rounders game is held on the school field one evening during the last week of the school term. Our Headteacher's husband runs the barbecue and the Year 6 teachers pitch in, which creates a nice atmosphere for the children. The parents and children arrive at school for around 6pm. The Head and Year 6 teachers set up a rounders game on the school field, and those who want to take part in a game are welcomed into the adults vs children match! After the game we have a barbecue, which includes burgers and hotdogs. For the final part of the evening, the children are encouraged to bring water pistols and we have a big water fight finale! I think they have been lucky the last few years, we've always had a lovely warm summer evening.'

Dance the night away

A disco or mini-prom is a great opportunity for leavers to celebrate with their friends. Provide a special VIP area (complete with bouncer!) at your regular end-of-year disco to make Year 6s feel special. Create a chill-out space with a pop-up gazebo, fairy lights and beanbags. You could even add a theme - how about red carpet or masquerade ball? Set up a photo booth with some fun props, using an instant camera so you don't have to worry about holding images of children. 

Julie Caines: 'We used to organise a Year 6 leavers' party as a thank-you for supporting our events over the years. We provided a disco, hotdogs and ice-creams, drinks and glow-sticks. We took photos and printed them out for the children for free.'

Susan Hopkins: 'I organised a Roald Dahl themed party and managed to buy Wonka Bars online. I also gave out Wonka Bar invites that looed like golden tickets. You might also be able to get edible sweets on rice paper that you could use as lickable wallpaper - although for hygiene purposes, you would have to give everyone their own strip!'

Jemma Orange: 'So far we have done a glitz and glam disco with a buffet, autograph books, a pool party with a Hawaiian theme, a BBQ, and a masquerade ball where pupils made their own masks!'

Snjezana Cormack: 'Leavers disco with the theme... My daughter's year had a celebrity theme, so they all came in dress like famous people and we had a red carpet…'

Superb sleepover

What could be more exciting than a sleepover in the school hall? Get pupils to bring their own sleeping bags and pillows. Set up some games with prizes, then cool off with some tasty treats. Pupils could pitch in with memories about their time at the school as the perfect bedtime story. You will need the relevant ratio of DBS-checked supervising adults to children. Or how about a family campout on the school field, with parents responsible for their own children? Read our step-by-step campover guide at

Graduoke gift

Emma Evans, PTA Chair, Stewart Fleming Primary School, London (480 pupils): 'We wanted something unique - after some research, we came across TDH Media, which produces a personal pop video filmed at school with the children singing along to a track. This sounded like just the novel idea we were looking for! The cost was approximately £10 per child - with a total fee of £565, which included the filming and a DVD for each child. This was slightly above our budget but it was worth the cost and the kids loved filming it. We were so impressed with the finished product! It was very simple. We just picked a song and then spent a day recording it at the end of term. The school actually allowed us to premiere the video in the school hall after the Year 6 production. In fact, many of the parents cried! This year is my first year as Chair and I'm going to discuss leavers' gifts with the school council and see what the Year 6 children want to do this year, but I think the Graduoke is going to be a popular choice!'

Price is £10 per DVD per child for two classes. For more information, visit

Evening meal

Helen Heaton: 'We have teamed up with a local restaurant to organise an evening meal with a set menu, and the children will be getting dressed up. We are also planning for the children to put together a DVD of their school memories, with photos from Reception onwards. This will be presented to them in their leavers' assembly.'

Farewell photos

Jo Roche: 'We bought cheap certificate frames and got parents to submit a picture of their first day at school and a current one in uniform. These were printed on one A4 sheet together with a group photo with all the children's names.'

Garden party

Dionne Doyne: 'A garden party - we bought some very cheap wigs, sunglasses and feather boas, etc and made them some large picture frames where we photo-boothed them! All were very much enjoyed.'

Dapper dinner

Clare Flack: 'Disco and sit down dinner with a theme that the children choose.'

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