It is now a pretty much well-documented fact that capital funding for schools is quite difficult to come by in this current austerity-driven financial climate and that a school can no longer rely on money from the central Government pot if they want to improve their playground or fund outdoor learning products such as outdoor classrooms and shelters.

So now more than ever before, a school has to look at alternative ways of funding these type of projects outside of their school budget and devolved capital funds. But this can all initially sound quite daunting for anyone within a school who has been charged with this task. The usual initial problems or obstacles are as follows:

  • Lack of time. There are simply not enough hours in the day as it is and fundraising is certainly something which is not simply done in one day. It undoubtedly takes plenty of dedication and effort over a period of time in order to be successful
  • Limited communication channels. The majority of schools do have their own website but sometimes a bigger reach is required outside of the local community
  • No overall strategy and plan. This is a must to have because without any “chart or map” as to where you want to go or want you want to achieve, a project can easily go off course quite quickly. And you also need some sort of plan to monitor performance against
  • Insufficient contacts within the community. Outside of their immediate network of parents, Governors and PTA etc, schools do need to have a wider base of contacts who they can call upon to help

But this does not need to be an intimidating task because at the Hideout House Company, we have built up, based on substantial experience, an effective model as to how a school can successfully fundraise for their chosen project.

This plan does not also just rely on one source, such as applying for grants, as we have found that it is always more beneficial (and less risky) to spread out the potential areas for finding these pots of money. Our plan involves donations from the local or wider community; the afore-mentioned grants; sponsorship; services; income generation from lettings; item sales; clubs and events; crowd funding.

A lot of schools are not aware that they are already sitting on a potential money supply and by this I mean income generation from letting out their existing facilities – halls, sports facilities, before and after school clubs, functions at the week-end and even weddings! The Hideout House outdoor classrooms have used in the past for outdoor civil ceremony weddings for example.

Working alongside our partners, we can offer a school help with income generation, marketing assistance (including generation of promotional materials), software tools, workshops and training (online and offline) and tapping into a network of donators. As well as offering general advice and guidance along the way. For example, maximising Gift Aid as voluntary donations to a school can be uplifted by 25% when you claim Gift Aid – we will teach you what contributions are eligible for Gift Aid and how you can administer those donations.

We can also put you in contact with other schools who we have successfully worked with in the past so that you can see how we work and how our methods are tried and tested.

If you would like to know how we can help your school raise money for any outdoor learning playground project you have in mind, then please contact the Hideout House Company on 01865 858982 or email:

How to use humour to engage children learning French at Key Stage 2

While most children learn to read English using a story-based approach, it is uncommon for children learning French at Key Stage 2 to be given the opportunity to learn to read French in the same way. But if you make the stories humorous in either language then the vocabulary and grammar will be easier to remember, your pupils will be more engaged in the learning process, and their confidence will increase as they manage to read a complete story.

Which is why we have produced the Learn French with Luc et Sophie story-based scheme for Key Stage 2.

The storybooks included with the scheme are humorous and based on sibling rivalry with which many children will relate. The stories have also been carefully written to ensure progression of vocabulary and language structures.

Aimed at specialist and non-specialist teachers, the teacher books included with the scheme provide structured but flexible lesson plans based around each story. And that is not all …

… find out what else is included in the packs, as well as seeing sample pages and listening to sample audio files by clicking the links below:

Years 3–4

For more information and to see sample pages for Learn French with Luc et Sophie: Part One, click here.

Years 5–6

And for more information and to see sample pages for Learn French with Luc et Sophie: Part Two, click here.

You can place an order for Learn French with Luc et Sophie: Part One, Years 3–4 (£37.99) and/or Learn French with Luc et Sophie: Part Two, Years 5–6 (£37.99) in a variety of ways, including:

  • on our website by clicking on the above links
  • by phone on 01449 766629
  • by email to
  • by fax on 01449 767122
  • by post to Brilliant Publications, Mendlesham Industrial Estate, Norwich Road, Mendlesham, Suffolk, IP14 5ND.

There’s still time to book Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet for in-school or on stage performances

Fred Theatre is now touring with two Shakespearean classics: Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.

Rehearsals have gone well and I’m confident these shows will get a great response from both pupils and teachers alike.

Our 90 minute adaptations are fresh and exciting re-tellings of familiar and much-loved stories. Each features a cast of six professional actors. We concentrate on the text and producing a faithful representation of the original—just a little shorter!

All productions can be performed in your school; all we need is a space approximately 5m x 5m with room (of course) for the audience. If you have room, and feel it would be a good idea, you can also invite some parents along too, so that they can see what their sons and daughters are studying.

To find out more, simply e-mail Helen in our office,, or call us on 01789 777612. We’ll collect a few details from you and respond with potential dates and a quote.

Both shows also have in-theatre public performances. We are at:

The Cockpit, Marylebone, LONDON 20-21 February

The Bear Pit, STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, 5-9 February

Tickets for the public performances may be booked direct with the venues.

Finally, here’s the latest Fred Fact, #4…

Group leaders, teachers, etc go free at public performances. In addition to keeping student ticket prices as low as possible, we fee it’s only right to include free tickets for group leaders.

Robert Ball
Artistic Director

PS: We had wonderful feedback from students during our autumn tour of A Christmas Carol. Here are just two of our favourite comments:

Very funny but the best scene was when he changed from not caring to caring, it shows that anyone can change (Raymond, year 11)

The superb acting, everything was excellent, I enjoyed this performance (thumbs up, smiley face)(Baker, year 11)