Coconut shys and cake stalls at school summer fetes are adding up to a substantial funding boost, parents' organisations say.
Large sums of money can be raised
With the school fete season drawing to a close, head teachers are feeling the benefit of active parent-teacher organisations.
Government figures for England suggest schools raised £244m last year from parents, businesses and churches.
Fetes can raise anything from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands.
Some state schools in affluent areas are known to bring in profits of between £10,000 and £20,000.
The fete is often a school's main fundraising event of the year and some PTAs (parent teacher associations) are becoming adept at drawing in local sponsors and donations of various kinds.
The National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations estimated that last year its 12,700 members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland raised £68.5m to enhance children's education.
Their survey suggested that on average PTAs raise £5,400 a year for their schools.
Spokesperson Margaret Morrissey said: "Never under-estimate the value of parents with bin bags organising these fetes.
"Parents are very innovative and are always coming up with new ideas.
"But we do wonder: with all the extra funds going to education why is there such a desperate need for money?"
Schools themselves can raise substantial amounts by letting out halls for clubs and other activities.
Government figures released earlier this year for 2003-04 suggest schools in England are raising more than £1.5bn a year from businesses, parents and local clubs.
'Treat for teachers'
Money raised from fetes often goes into a PTA fund, which is then passed on to the school for various projects or resources.
At St Paul's Church of England Combined School in Wooburn Green, Bucks, the £4,000 raised from this year's fete will be split between the school's teachers.
Each will receive £500 to spend on whatever they would like for their classrooms.
Head teacher Ruth Goddard said: "It was a splendid day and the good weather really helped to pull in the crowds.
"They raised far more than they expected and the extra cash means a huge treat for the teachers."