Cartmel C of E Primary School

Cartmel Racecourse is managed by a small team and everyone tends to know a little bit about everything that happens — so the whole team was very enthusiastic when I told them about the Bright Star project. We'll all be interested to see how the project develops.

I attended the school's first meeting, where the Head Mistress Rachel Battersby announced that the children would be entering the competition. All the children were present — all age groups — and it was made clear that they would all be encouraged to participate. We discussed the meaning of the word 'enterprise' and there were some interesting ideas about what the definition might be. More than one child suggested that it was something to do with the competition: Enter — Prize.

Having talked about the nature of business enterprises, we broke the subject down into three types of enterprise: manufacturing products, staging events and providing a service

We were conscious that we wanted to talk about business ethics at an early stage — to get the children to consider whether it was good to make money at all costs and in every situation. There were no right or wrong answers, although we were helped significantly by one child's suggestion that we might provide alcoholic drinks for adults. It generated some laughter, but it also enabled us to talk about the legality of some enterprises

The children divided into their class-groups and went away to talk about the three aforementioned 'types' of enterprise. They then returned to the main hall and shared these ideas with the larger group — each class presenting their ideas to the other age groups.

As well as many fantastic ideas, it was terrific to see all the children being given the chance to engage — and seizing that opportunity with such enthusiasm. It is a great school and I am really looking forward to seeing more of the children as the project advances.

Jonathan Garratt
Managing Director, Cartmel Racecourse

Following on from our brainstorms, the ideas decided upon were the 'Auction of jobs — Service Day' and 'Reading poems and stories'. Our decision is based on the desire to tie our business into the village in which we go to school/live and work in. We are eager to share our Christian Values with the wider community, creating events which will serve them and focus on the primary school being at the heart of this community.

The School Council met and approved these events and I shared with them that the Year 6 children would be invited to apply for specific roles within the business: Managing Director, Financial Director, Project Manager x2, Head of Design and Events Manager. Although there will be a whole school engagement with the competition, we felt it was important to give the Year 6s leadership experience in a variety of roles. Applications are now in and interviews will be taking place later this week.

Meanwhile, classes are continuing to discuss further ideas for the two events. Each class has been asked to create works connected with Cartmel, through their literacy or topic work. They can use a range of writing genres and may even decide to perform their work musically. We then intend to hold a 'Poetry and Music Evening' in school, in which members of the wider community may also contribute, sharing their stories/poetry/song about our village. This will be a ticketed event. It is intended to develop the already strong links with the people of the village and be an oral history record from the contributors. We are also proposing to develop the works into a booklet to be sold on the night and hopefully in the local shops. We want something that will be a lasting legacy of the competition and a record for future generations to enjoy.

Rachel Battersby
Headteacher, Cartmel Church of England Primary School


Our leadership team met early in the week to discuss roles within the planning of the two events. Our Events Manager had arrived fully armed with a special notebook, already full of ideas for the event! Actions from the meeting included:

Following the meeting, the children were buzzing with excitement. Our Events Manager emailed Mr Garratt that evening to arrange the visit for Friday. Emily-Kate, Euan, Maisie and I went to meet Lois at the Racecourse to look at the space. We discussed the positive elements of the room for our event, took photos of the space and looked at access, fire exits etc. Euan had even brought along a retractable tape measure (totally unprompted) with which to take measurements of the 'stage' space! We discussed opening the bar, selling drinks, sweets and IT/microphone capability, should we need it. We thanked Lois for showing us around and said we would be in touch to confirm if we would like to use the space on the planned date of 8th March. Lois remarked how impressed she was with the children's passion for the project and with their sparky ideas!

On the walk back to school we all discussed the pros and cons for using the different venues in the village. The children loved the Grandstand at the Racecourse, though I had reservations — thinking the space at the village hall more intimate for our evening together. However, such was their passion and their ability to give me the positives, that we decided together to go for the Grandstand and think about making the space more 'cosy' through set design.

Having decided this, we took a detour to the local Vintage Shop in the village to talk to the owner and see if she would support us in finding furniture and props to create a 'front room' style set in our space. We are thinking along the lines of a big armchair (for the storyteller), rugs, a standard lamp, fire, table, tea tray etc. Our Head of Design is going to work on the set design also with her deputy.

We also called into three local shops en route, to ask the owners if they would be kind enough to contribute prizes for our raffle on the night. The Cheese Shop, Wine Shop and Brewery all agreed to donate generous gifts.

On the remaining walk back we were all sharing ideas and chattering away with excitement over the event! The children arrived back to share their ideas with Class 3.

The whole team is brimming with enthusiasm for the project and were great ambassadors during the collective worship this week, when they stood up to tell the whole school about their newly appointed roles and what they would each be doing. It seems we have the 'Bright Stars Bug' at Cartmel!

Rachel Battersby
Headteacher, Cartmel Church of England Primary School

The majority of our Year 6 class applied for a role within the leadership team of the competition. The children completed application forms and then had an interview with the Headteacher, looking at qualities and skills which may be relevant for each post.

The children performed brilliantly at the interviews, with excellent eye contact, presentation skills, firm handshakes and well thought out responses! So impressed were we that each child gained a 'Courage Sticker' for their efforts in our Celebration Assembly on Friday (courage is our current Christian Value in school).

The following applicants were successful and many congratulations should go to them all:

Their deputies are Jacob, Allasandro, Anna and Flo.

The main team will be meeting with the Headteacher next week to decide on a forward plan for organisation of both our events.

Teachers are currently working on stories and poems about Cartmel with their classes. The opportunity to write for the evening is also being opened up to the community of Cartmel.

Rachel Battersby
Headteacher, Cartmel Church of England Primary School

Having gathered in the stories and poems from the children, I had the remarkably difficult job of selecting work for publication in our collection of poetry and prose.

Just some of the work our children have produced in preparation for our 'Storytelling and Poetry Evening' this Wednesday. It is being printed professionally and the printers and Racecourse are both sponsoring us to do this!

Write-up of the Storytelling and Poetry Evening
by Rachel Battersby, Headteacher

The Bright Stars Leadership Team worked extremely hard to plan and manage the event. Emily-Kate called into the local shops and businesses to collect the raffle prizes so generously donated.

Then along with Euan and Rhiannon, we returned to the vintage shop, complete with drawings of things we needed for the set. We gathered hats, scarves, a handbag, walking cane, rug, teapot, tea tray, cushion, mohair throw and walked back through the village carrying everything! My office looked like an antique shop for a few days!

We borrowed a hat stand from a parent, a standard lamp from our Office Administrator, I brought in tables and a fire and with help from a willing parent with a van; we picked up the storytelling chair from the vintage shop! After a few car loads back and forth to the racecourse, everything was deposited, ready for the Leadership Team to set up.

In the afternoon of 8th March, the Leadership Team came down to The Grandstand to set up. We discussed the introductions for the evening and the children rehearsed their lines.

We then set the 'scene', a grandma's front living room, with all the furniture and props we had gathered. We thought about the focus for the evening (the chair) and where the best place on the 'stage' was; slightly off centre to the left (your eye is drawn naturally there, as if reading a book — left to right). We then positioned the other furniture around this, continuously stepping back to the 'audience' to examine it. We moved things around, had countless discussions and finally settled and agreed on it! Then we took to set dressing; adding finishing touches, such as hats, teacups, biscuits (!), books and daffodils! We hope you agree that the finished set looked very homely!

On the night, we were totally overwhelmed by the turnout! We had sold 45 tickets prior to the evening and so had put 60 chairs out. People just kept arriving ... and then some more ... and then even more! It was wonderful. There were parents, grandparents, Governors, staff, members of the wider community and friends from church. We had to get more and more chairs out, until the room was packed!

Now, this could have proved daunting to the young people, about to individually read their creations to the crowd. Yet, each child got up, sat in the chair and read with such confidence and expression. It was incredible to witness the support and trust in the room. All fell silent each time someone sat in the chair and clapped madly as they finished. There was poignancy, humour and much to celebrate about our wonderful little village of Cartmel. We lost count of the number of times Unsworth's Yard Brewery or The Red Pepper were mentioned. The famous Sticky Toffee Pudding also took a starring role, as did the magnificent 12th century Priory.

The poem given to us by the niece of Trish Johnson (our volunteer who sadly lost her life last month and in whose memory the evening was for) ended the evening beautifully and we hope we did her proud. The charity we are donating to from the Bright Stars Project is St. Mary's Hospice in Ulverston, who cared for Trish towards the end of her life.

The emails from audience members that evening are testament in themselves. We were so fortunate to have such support. We raised around £550 on the evening, from tickets, our collection of poetry and the raffle, with money still coming in from selling the poetry! A huge well done to everyone for their creative writing, courageous performances and entrepreneurial skills.

Rachel Battersby
Headteacher, Cartmel Church of England Primary School

Some Comments on the Storytelling and Poetry Evening

' A quick note to say how FANTASTIC the event was last night.
The children have really done an amazing job.
I was so impressed when Emily-Kate wrote to ask me whether the school could use the Grandstand — and I know that Lois Clifton (my colleague here in the office) really enjoyed meeting the committee and answering their questions when they came to see the Function Room.
I was incredibly proud to see our logo on the reverse of the booklet that contains some of the writing and many great pictures drawn by the children. I hope that I will be allowed to purchase more copies to send to stakeholders in our business such as the Racecourse Association, British Horseracing Authority and Racehorse Owners Association — I know they will be interested.
It was interesting to note just how many of the businesses in the village were represented in the stories and poems written by the children. If the objective is to engage the chidren with the idea of business — I am sure that has worked. It was notable that some of the children even indicated businesses in the village where they would like to work. I spoke to at least one budding chef and a farrier-to-be.
The quality of the children's writing was excellent — really impressive — and their courage in reading out loud to the large audience was impressive.
At the start of the process we talked about three different types of enterprise that the children could pursue: making and selling things, putting on an event, providing a service. They have managed to roll all three ideas into the one business project. Well done to you — but most of all, well done to the children. '
Jonathan Garratt, Managing Director, Cartmel Racecourse

' Would you please convey a huge 'Congratulations' to your pupils who very professionally and inspirationally presented the 'Stories and Poetry' evening last night. As retired teachers, we know how hard everyone had to work to present such a wonderful, well-rehearsed evening entertaining your audience.
The skills you all presented were just tremendous, as you worked together as a team, shared the many responsibilities and understood the different roles which are part of a business venture. Approaching adults to gain your venue, organising publicity, locating a sponsor for your booklet amongst the many other tasks you set yourself was fantastic. Your enthusiasm and pride just shone through!
Well done also to the 'budding poets and authors' amongst you at school who not only composed their work but also presented it before a large, appreciative audience.
We hope the financial side of the business venture was successful, because after all 'Success promotes success.'
Most of all however, we thought it was wonderful how you have used the Bright Stars competition to put forward a programme which is to benefit a wonderful lady's memory at St Mary's Hospice instead of looking inward for your own resources etc.
A huge well done to the 'poets and authors of today and tomorrow.' '
Mr and Mrs Milner

' What a lovely, heart-warming evening! Congratulations for all your hard work (that was obvious) and well done for caring so much for each and every one of the pupils! I loved the staging of it too!
I hope you raised lots of money and that the children have taken something very positive from the way the adults reacted to them.
You are a true asset to the village and I hope the parents and trustees see it and appreciate you. Trish will be smiling tonight! '

' Just wanted to say what a wonderful enjoyable evening everybody had on Wednesday at the Poetry and Reading evening.
Mums were talking at the school gate yesterday in praise of the event.
It gave the children courage as you said. *** told me her legs were shaking and she had butterflies before she went on the stage but once she had read out loud she felt confident.
Well done to all. '
Niki Sweeney

Blog by Jonathan Garratt, Managing Director, Cartmel Racecourse
The blog also appears as a column in the North West Evening Mail newspaper

When the team from Bright Stars called the racecourse office, I thought perhaps they were going to ask me to sing alongside Sir Tom Jones, on the Cartmel stage, at the end of June. But no, it turned out that Bright Stars is a competition for primary school children, working with a mentor from a local company, to create a money-making enterprise.

Now I love children, almost as much as I love money, so I said yes straight away and thought it'd be really easy. Apparently, though, we're not allowed to send the smallest ones up chimneys anymore and the bigger ones are prone to getting stuck — which is no use at all.

Fortunately the children at Cartmel Primary were given £50 in a golden envelope, which seemed like a good head-start, so I suggested that they put the whole lot on Highland Lodge in the Grand National — giving them the potential to generate a cosy £2,500. Then they told me that the competition closed on the Monday before Cheltenham, severely restricting our options.

On visiting the school, I discovered that the children of Class 2 were studying the story of David and Goliath, which gave me a brilliant idea. "I bet there were loads of people," I said, "who would have paid good money to watch that fight. Perhaps you could stage a fight of your own in the playground."

I'm pleased to say that the children took my advice. Well sort of. They didn't actually put on a fight, but they did decide to create an event and charge people to come and watch. And instead of the playground, they chose the racecourse grandstand as the venue for their Evening of Stories and Poetry Reading. The children read in front of a captivated audience, all of whom agreed that they had been substantially undercharged for the experience at the bargain admission fee of just £5. So when we were asked to pay a further £2 for the accompanying programme, including further writings and pictures created by the children, who could refuse?

It'd be difficult to choose a favourite from the array of obvious talent on display, but one that sticks in my mind was the story of a horse called 'Star' who attended the races at Cartmel, only to discover that it wasn't quite what she had expected. Startled by the loudspeaker, Star galloped through the square... "Past the medieval Priory and the famous Cartmel Cheese Shop all the way to the Primary School. She missed her race and ate all of the flowers in the school garden."

I won't be in a hurry to back Star when she next makes an appearance at Cartmel. But if the children fancy playing up their takings from Wednesday evening, the selection for this weekend is Darebin in the Imperial Cup at Sandown.

Read Jonathan's blog here...

Auction of Jobs

We held our 'Auction of Jobs' just this afternoon and what a success! We always knew we wanted to run events which would serve the community, and this event had many things which hit this target! We had:

Many families contributed and baked cakes for us to sell on the stall this afternoon.

The children in Years 5 and 6 did the servicing and all the children in the other year groups visited the hall for the afternoon. We also had a number of parents and grandparents attend. The shoe shining service was particularly popular, particularly in light of all the rain there has been today!

We raised a grand total of £137.34 on this event alone. A great achievement.

I am quite overwhelmed by the amount of fundraising and work the children have achieved this week. For us though, it's not been simply about the money but the community aspect of service and the teamwork, leadership and creative skills this project has inspired us all in.

I'm not too sure who has enjoyed the project the most, the children or me! It has been a good deal of hard work but the outcomes have been well worth every minute. Seeing the children's confidence in the 'Storytelling' event the other evening was magic and working with our partners, Cartmel Racecourse, a real highlight for me.

Thank you for this opportunity — it's been amazing!

Rachel Battersby
Headteacher, Cartmel Church of England Primary School