“Happiness through education, education through happiness” is the motto teachers and pupils at Buckholme Towers School in Lower Parkstone live by. However, headmaster Iain Robertson explains that education is just one of many parts involved in schooling and that encouraging children to support local causes is vital to ensure they become well-rounded individuals.
Staff and pupils at Buckholme Towers School have first-hand experience of what it is like to be on the receiving end of community support. In March, the school was devastated by a fire, but thanks to local people the teachers were able to continue lessons within 48 hours. Temporary classrooms were set up in the hall at Parkstone United Reformed Church and the community helped to build a safe pathway from the back of the church to the school so the pupils could avoid the busy road. The refurbished school reopened on the first day of the new school term.
“Experiencing kindness and support from other people really hit home to me just how important it is for the pupils to go the extra mile and give something back to the community,” Mr Robertson says. In light of this, the school gave the new term a positive kick-start and has already helped a number of local causes. This September, Buckholme held a fundraiser and donated money to a series of charities including The Butterfly Foundation in Bournemouth, a charity working for families who have suffered domestic violence, IrisCambodia.org, an orphanage in Cambodia and Poole’s Forest Holme Hospice in return for the excellent support the school’s caretaker, Alan John, received during his last days.
The pupils and their families also filled more than 100 bags with clothes, toys and books to boost stocks in the British Heart Foundation’s charity shops. They worked alongside local radio station Wave 105 as part of the charity’s national campaign ‘Bag-a-Thon’ to encourage others to donate items.
Most recently, Buckholme teamed up with Churchill Retirement Living in ‘The Big Little Bake-Off’ to launch a series of events hosted by the retirement company to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Ten pupils from year five judged cakes made by apartment owners and awarded the winner with a handmade rosette. Mr Robertson said: “We try to encourage pupils to get involved with a range of different charities in all kinds of ways so they understand that helping others can be fun and they will gain lots of valuable experiences in the process.”
He continued: “A large percentage of Buckholme pupils achieve places at local grammar schools and this is undoubtedly one of the success criteria for many of our parents. However, just as importantly, pupils leave Buckholme confident and eager to learn, they are good communicators and they understand that by giving a small amount of their time they can do wonders for people in less fortunate situations – these things, as much as the academic results, are how we measure our success.”