Ever dished out money from your own pocket on resources to improve your classroom? I’m guessing the answer is yes. According to the UK Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) over 90% of teachers buy supplies for their pupils from their own pockets, averaging £250 a year. Ludicrous, but it’s so easily done.
You want a nice workspace because you spend most of your time in your classroom; you also want your pupils to have brilliant supplies to aid their learning journey and enhance their classroom environment. However, with budgets being tight it’s not always possible.
To help our fellow teachers out, we’ve put together five simple ideas to help you make your classrooms simply awesome on a low (or no) budget that will help you to thrift, raise and save to your heart’s content and bag yourself those elusive dream classroom supplies.
Don’t be afraid to ask for things people are throwing away. Remember, other people’s trash can be your class treasure. Old chairs, bookshelves and cupboards can easily be up-cycled. A little makeover with a lick of paint or some fancy paper can turn an old bookcase into the loveliest of libraries or an old table into a delightful desk. Be sure to check out the Freecycle network in your area too!
Choose a really awesome item (or a few) every year that you’d love to have in your dream classroom. Make it your class goal to fundraise enough to get your hands on it.
Perhaps write a letter to parents, the school community or the local paper or make a poster to display around school outlining your mission and goals for the product. Then get the kids involved and run a fundraising event or two. The possibilities are endless here, host a movie night for KS2 or story night for KS1 and sell tickets and snacks, or set up a car wash, washing parents and staff cars for a small charge. An art gallery using pupils’ artwork turned into fundraising products for parents to purchase works well too.
If your school use social media then utilise those networks and get social. If your school/class isn’t on social media, then it’s certainly a good idea to consider it. You could set up a class group/page and use it to make new connections in your school community. Try requesting items you need or would like to be donated. Do any of the parents work for local businesses that would be willing to contribute items? Or have any unwanted items at home? Furniture, plants for an outdoor area, old pots and pans for a mud kitchen or books or cushions for a reading area? The possibilities are endless.
If you’re lucky enough to have a high parental and community involvement school, then no doubt they would be keen to help. They may not have the money to pay for items with a high price tag but could be willing to pay for an item costing a few pounds or so.
Affiliate marketing could be your saviour here. Amazon or sites like School Angel run affiliate programmes meaning if you compiled a list of small items that you’d love to have in your classroom such as pens, paper, books you could send the links to your school community and ask them to donate these small items to their child’s classroom.
Because these sites will pay you a small percentage of all purchases that you refer to them, over time you will earn enough claim back money to redeem on bigger items for your class.
If you must spend your own pennies then do it wisely. Pound shops or charity shops are an amazing starting point. A bit of creative thinking and a few thrifty buys can allow for some genius classroom decoration and learning ideas. Check out these pound saving ideas for awesome classrooms.
One last thing….
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