Children’s dreams came true when they got to spend a night at school with their classmates.

The Big Sleepover at Barnard Castle Preparatory School saw 26 children – the school’s two Year 3 classes – stay back for tea, followed by a range of activities and then the chance to bunk down in sleeping bags for the night.

With activities based around a theme of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, the children made pirate hats and flags, decorated treasure chests and acted as stranded sailors in a drama activity before having a bedtime chapter from the novel with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Helped to lay out their sleeping bags on gym mats on the hall floor by class teachers Fiona Killeen and Emma Small, who organised the event, the children managed a few hours’ sleep before enjoying breakfast with the boarders in the school dining hall.

Prep School Headmistress Laura Turner said: “Our Year 3 teachers’ idea for the Big Sleepover was a fantastic opportunity for the children to enjoy a night away from home in familiar and safe surroundings with their friends.

“There was great excitement ever since we announced it as it’s the first time we’ve done this event. Next year, when these children are in Year 4, they will get to go on their first residential so the Big Sleepover has given them a taste in preparation for that.”

Mrs Turner added: “With our boarding provision it’s no hardship for us to provide a cooked tea and breakfast for the children and they all really loved the experience.”

Fiona Tweddle, mum to Theo, eight, of Darlington, said: “It was lovely to see the children having so much fun, and a massive thank you to the staff for making it possible.”

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