As an outside alternative to a mini-prom, how about getting everyone dressed up for a garden party? Ask the children to vote on a menu to get them involved. For decoration, use fairy lights, flowers and bunting made from old school uniform. You could even add a theme – how about red carpet, Alice in Wonderland or a masquerade ball? After a slap-up meal, get some music playing (ensuring you have the correct licence) and everyone dancing to bring some festival atmosphere to the school field.
Leavers’ BBQ or picnic
It’s not just the pupils who are leaving – parents will be saying goodbye to the school too. So why not bring everyone together for a farewell barbecue or picnic? Host it in the school field, and ask everyone to bring camping chairs or picnic blankets. Buy food in bulk, making sure the meat is good quality (nobody wants gristle in their burger), and provide lots of options for non-meat-eaters. Hire an ice-cream van, and encourage attendees to bring their own booze so you won’t need a licence. Throw in a few outdoor games or a quiz, mixing up ages and abilities so everyone can join in.
- Read our FAQs on catering
- How to run a family barbecue
- The Food Standards Agency answers questions on Natasha’s Law
Send pupils off with a bright bang! A colour run is a fun run with a crucial difference – colourful powder for runners, marshals and spectators to throw. Encourage runners to wear white for the full rainbow effect. The powder is made from cornflour and non-toxic dye and cashes away easily without staining clothes or the ground. It’s quite costly, so see if any local companies are happy to sponsor it or charge participants enough to break even.
- Read our colour run step-by-step
The US-style prom has become a popular choice for leavers. Pick a theme, such as grand ball, enchanted forest, or disco fever, and recruit volunteers to help with decorations. Secondary schools tend to hire venues for their proms, but for Year 6 leavers, you can make use of school premises, serving food and soft drinks, planning a few party games and leaving lots of space for dancing.
- For advice and inspiration including licensing information, visit step-by-step: leavers’ prom
Take advantage of the summer evenings and run a treasure hunt around the school grounds, giving pupils a chance to explore their school one last time. Create a map with clues and set children tasks to complete along the way. These could be themed around the school, containing references to the leavers’ former teachers, school trips and topics studied in their time at the school. Give prizes to those who complete the hunt – these could be yearbooks or other parting gifts. Have a cake stall and plenty of celebratory refreshments available at the end.
- Read our trails and hunts step-by-step
Break the rules day
A fun twist on non-uniform day, but with more profit potential as pupils have to pay for each rule they break. Draw up a list of rules and consult with school staff beforehand to ensure they won’t cause too much chaos – then charge a small amount for each rule broken. Rules could include ‘you must wear your school uniform’, ‘you must not have a ridiculous hairstyle’, ‘you must only drink water’, and ‘you must not have chocolate in your lunchbox’. You could also incorporate some leavers’ traditions with rules like ‘you must not sign each other’s T-shirts‘ – just make sure parents know! Share your chosen list of rules well in advance so children can decide which ones to break and parents can work out how much it’s going to cost them.
Who doesn’t love an obstacle course? Create a crazy challenge using whatever equipment is available to you – this may be hula hoops, footballs, cones and hurdles. Lay out your course on the school field, being sure to give it a test run to make sure it all works as intended. Invite leavers to run the course, with fellow pupils stationed around the area ready to spray them with water pistols, bubbles and even coloured powder. Place a photographer at the most exciting part of the route to take a souvenir photo of each runner.