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Extend Learning Academies Network Advent Calendar December 2020

At the end of November 2020, we had an idea to create an advent calendar for the 2,975 children and 582 staff at our primary schools.

So, after some thought and technical wizardry, on 1 December 2020 we launched a digital advent calendar for eight schools: Bournville, Locking, Mead Vale, Mendip Green, Milton Park, Oldmixon, Walliscote and Windwhistle Primary Schools.

Each morning, schools, in their class bubbles, opened the virtual doors to reveal their special treat for that day.


The doors revealed treats and excitement that would be happening each day until the end of term.

For the last day of the calendar we decided that, although a mightily ambitious idea, it would be amazing to be able to send every child, all 2,975, of them home with a chocolate surprise. However we were then faced with the problem of how to source and fund almost 3,000 chocolates of some kind at short notice.


We took to social media and issued a public plea across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We also contacted over 60 local businesses.

With help from some incredibly generous benefactors, members of the central team were able to deliver huge amounts of chocolate to the eight schools ensuring every child had a gift to take home.


We owe an absolutely huge thank you to:

  • Uncle Paul’s Chilli Farm who sourced and generously donated 1,500 units of chocolate and delivered them to our office.
  • Buglers Off Licence, Wrington who sourced almost 300 selection boxes and delivered them to us. These were donated by Carly and Paul who own Buglers and the lovely people of Wrington village who purchased selection packs for the children. Thank you also to Bookers who donated some packs when Buglers paid for them and let them clear the shelves!
  • Morrisons, Weston-super-Mare, in particular the wonderful Sheila. Sheila pulled out all the stops to stack our trolleys high with discounted and donated chocolate, and gave us boxes of biscuits for staff at all eight schools.
  • Mr. Iain Kilpatrick
  • Our website provider, Primary Site who were first off the mark and sent us boxes of selection packs.
  • SAS Wellbeing, our wellbeing and insurance provider who sent a cash donation to go towards the cause.
  • John Lewis and Waitrose, who kindly sent us gift cards to use in store to purchase treats.
  • We received another generous cash donation from someone who is happy to remain nameless.
  • All of the central team who counted, recounted and counted again vast amounts of chocolate and loaded and unloaded cars in the freezing rain.