It’s That Time Of Year – Muck Up Day

Muck Up Day Celebrations

For many teenagers across the country, this week includes one of THE most important dates in the school calendar, Muck Up Day.  For those sitting their A’levels this is officially their time to let off some steam before the start of the exams, but also to celebrate the end of an era as they say a fond farewell to their school days and head off into the big wide world.

What constitutes Muck Up Day varies from school to school.  Some simply opt for a themed dress up day. For others, however, this is a little bit too “sensible” and instead involves weeks of planning and preparation akin to a Mission Impossible movie as the students seek to surprise and outwit their teachers with something a bit different – classrooms filled with balloons, sellotape over staircases, marbles strewn along hallways, teachers’ cars wrapped in clingfilm – the stuff of logistical precision and creativity.

For those leaving school, Muck Up Day is the opportunity to leave a personal impression beyond the classroom or the sports field.  From the schools’ perspective, however, the impression they leave has to be the right one.

They want their departing students to remember that not only are they setting an example to those pupils left behind but also representing the school in the local community.  They want them to do themselves and their school proud and leave with their heads held high.

There have been reports over the years of some Muck Up Days getting out of control and as a result some schools have put in rules limiting what can be done, which goes some way to defeating the whole point of the harmless fun and chaos that the day is supposed to create.

Harmless, however, is the operative word here. Everyone has to enjoy the joke and the fun needs to be conducted within certain parameters.  No one wants to be confronted by anarchy, but a little bit of chaos is to be expected.

Of the parents I have spoken to about the guidelines from their teenagers’ schools, the general rule of thumb seems to be that any pranks should not cause serious damage or endanger anyone – all of which seems perfectly reasonable, but may of course be open to misinterpretation by a bunch of lively teenagers.

There are some iconic Muck Up Day stories that do the rounds, the most popular being the three pigs that were brought into one school and numbered one, two and four resulting in the teachers wasting their whole day looking for the pig wearing the number three that of course didn’t exist – pure genius some might say.

There is also the infamous story of the school whose leavers’ put up a series of posters for several weeks prior to Muck Up Day saying simply “They Are Coming”, until almost every noticeboard in the school was covered.  The night before Muck Up Day the signs suddenly disappeared and when the school opened the next morning every classroom, corridor, changing room and broom cupboard was full of hundreds of garden gnomes – a costly prank for sure but no doubt worth it for notoriety alone.

I have also heard of a story closer to home that involved a cow being left in a school hall which was on the second floor of a building.  Unfortunately whilst cows are quite happy to be led up stairs they are less keen on being led down, so it had to be airlifted out of the building at great expense to the school and presumably great distress to the cow.

Jokes and pranks aside, however, there is of course the more official aspect to Muck Up Day, it is actually Leaver’s Day and a chance for the school to celebrate their pupils’ journey from child to adult with awards for their achievements.

Pupils leave clutching medals, cups, a leaver’s book full of pictures, personal anecdotes from friends and teachers as well as the obligatory “Year of…” hoodie!  Yes it would seem you are never too old!  Where would we be without a summer of spotting fellow school leavers at home and abroad?

With my own teenager leaving school this year the stress of exams has taken somewhat of a back seat as the excitement mounts in anticipation of Muck Up Day.   My son’s school has arranged a full day of activities starting with a leaver’s breakfast and including performances from bands, magicians and comedians before moving on to the formalities of prize giving and the leavers’ photograph.

The school has issued the customary “plea for support” email to parents asking us to reiterate the need for exemplary behaviour along with a reminder from the local police that there should be no significant disruption by way of carnival style marches or parades in the immediate area.

In terms of specific plans, we like many other parents no doubt are in the dark.  There has been discussion of a need to meet with friends at 6am on Muck Up Day and lots of covert whispering but nothing that will risk any best laid plans being foiled.   Secrecy is paramount, so like everyone else we will have to wait and see.

One thing is sure though, it will be an emotional day for our country’s school leavers in more ways than one and however they choose to celebrate and leave their mark, for them at least it will be worth it as to quote my teenager  “You Can’t Put A Price On Memories”.





  1. June 4, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    We do not have this over here, but back in the day…WAY back when I was in high school, they did let the seniors celebrate & it was AWESOME!!!! I don’t think they could let this generation police themselves though! Cool post!


    • Jo
      June 5, 2017 / 1:50 pm

      Yes I think the concept is alive everywhere and just takes on different forms. The policing of the whole thing is the headache. #bigpinklink

  2. June 1, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    This is the first time I’ve heard of this Jo! It hasn’t made its way to Wales yet but I’m sure it will soon. If I was a teacher, I’m not I’d want a load of kids tampering with my car! On the other hand, it is such a big day for the kids I can understand that they want to do something memorable! #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • Jo
      June 6, 2017 / 2:53 pm

      That does surprise me. No I wouldn’t be very happy either if students messed with my car for sure – at my son’s school the teachers don’t bring them in that day! They have obviously learnt the hard way. #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. May 27, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    I don’t think we have this in the US, but that may be because everyday is a muck up day, with mr t and his band of merry morons! What a memorable day for schools though! Awesome! #bigpinklink
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    • Jo
      May 30, 2017 / 2:59 pm

      Ha ha yes Lisa I can see that is probably the case unfortunately! #bigpinklink

  4. Jo
    May 26, 2017 / 8:42 am

    I hope it is fun and that they all emerge relatively unscathed and not too emotional. #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. May 25, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    You definitely can’t put a price on memories, and some of those stories sound awesome!! I think the pig one was my favourite! I would’ve absolutely loved to be part of something like that when I left school, except-my school did not do this!! I have only heard of this in the US-all I got was a leavers photo… maybe it wasn’t a thing way back in 2002 when I left school?! An exciting and scary time-I remember it well! I hope your teen has an awesome muckup day!
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:56 am

      2002! Oh wow you spring chicken. I totally can’t remember anything from my day in the 80’s and it certainly wasn’t this much fun for sure. Shame. I think I would have loved it. Can’t wait to hear all my son’s stories later. Thanks for commenting. #BigPinkLink

  6. May 25, 2017 / 2:15 pm

    I’ve never heard of this! Round here though ‘school’ ends after GCSEs, and then teens move on to college for A levels, but at neither was there really a ‘leavers’ day’ . #tweensteensbeyond
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:41 am

      I don’t remember having one at that age but it is quite a big deal at the schools in our area. It’s a day to take cover for sure. #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. May 25, 2017 / 1:14 pm

    Wow – had absolutely never heard of this. Wonderful idea – providing – as you say, it stays within reason. Why not. It’s worthy of celebration. I imagine our primary leavers assembly and day with crying 11 year olds will be very tame in comparison. Love the stories. #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:44 am

      Oh Nicky yes that is a big day. I remember crying loads when both mine left Primary School, with Secondary School it is more emotional for the teens really because as a parent you are not as heavily involved with the school as at Primary. Good luck with yours. #TweensTeensBeyond

  8. May 24, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    I have never, ever heard of ‘Muck Up Day’!! My eldest is in year 11, so I am now waiting with baited breath to see what happens next year 🙂 #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:45 am

      Oh yes I can imagine you would write a very funny piece about Muck Up Day actually so let’s hope yours gets to have one. #TweensTeensBeyond

  9. May 24, 2017 / 9:45 am

    This really made me smile! My son is in year 11, so we have yet to experience this. I’m not sure it’s a big thing at his school or I suspect he would have told me about things that have happened in previous years. Apparently there’s just usually a load of year 11s setting off the fire bell. Yawn.

    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:47 am

      Ha ha that is funny, that is probably the extent that we went to back in the day. To be honest I don’t think they get away with quite as much as they used to. I have heard of some really outrageous things but some were too alarming to print. #TweensTeensBeyond

  10. May 24, 2017 / 3:58 am

    I can honestly say I’ve never heard of this.,. God that makes me feel old! We don’t have this in New Zealand but then again my kids are homeschooled . Oh no. what should I do when my son finishes his exams??? I might just tie a ribbon round the dogs collar and leave it at that…?
    Great post! Liz x
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:48 am

      There is a challenge for you Liz! You have time to start planning something outrageous! #TweensTeensBeyond

  11. May 23, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    oh i’m so glad this never happened when i was in school, all we did was sign one another shirts on the day we broke up for exam leave and then i didn’t see anyone again for almost 20 yrs.

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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:49 am

      We didn’t do a great deal either, I really struggled to even remember the day I left school! #TweensTeensBeyond

  12. May 23, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    Wish we’d had these when I was at school – sounds such a laugh and a good release after the pressure of the exams. I’ve heard stories of things getting out of hand and hideous pranks being played and pupils turning up to school at 8am plastered, but hope your son has a blast. Good luck to him in his exams. #tweensteensbeyond
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:50 am

      Yes we have had several emails regarding the boys turning up plastered and the consequences of that! After school is fine apparently but not before. #TweensTeensBeyond

  13. May 23, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    we don’t have this in the States – we’d find some way to have it get out of control. looks like a lot of fun though. #teenstweensbeyond
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:51 am

      That is interesting as I always thought it was a quite a big deal in the States but then you do do Proms in style. #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. May 23, 2017 / 11:42 am

    I don’t know if our school does this. I can’t remember my daughter in year 10 ever mentioning it. Have to quiz her when she gets home. The number 3 pig is brilliant. But what if there was a number 3 that no-one found……#TweensTeensBeyond
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:52 am

      Good point Cheryl! Maybe there really was a number 3 and he has never been found. Doesn’t bear thinking about does it? #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:52 am

      Yes the poor cow is the most distressing story but I have to confess to giggling too. #TweensTeensBeyond

  15. May 23, 2017 / 11:11 am

    haha the pigs one is hilarious! That is genius. We did the usual toilet paper everywhere and most of us brought water guns to school filled with food dye and shot each other. Of course that was in the 90’s. #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:53 am

      I read that Muck Up Day was big in Australia and it sounds like you certainly left your mark. Mine was in the 80’s and I definitely can’t remember doing a great deal. #TweensTeensBeyond

  16. May 23, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Never heard of this before but it sounds like great fun. What a fabulous idea – a day dedicated to pranks. The pig prank was pure genius, I feel for the cow, though.
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    • Jo
      May 26, 2017 / 8:54 am

      My youngest can’t wait until it is her turn! It takes a lot to keep thinking of new pranks. There are some I picked up which were very clever. #TweensTeensBeyond

  17. Oldhouseintheshires
    May 22, 2017 / 11:24 am

    Brilliant! My eldest has her AS Classics today whereas my youngest is not looking forward to muck up day as,of course, he is in year 10 and I think the year 11’s may target them!! All good fun though! ??#bigpinklink

    • Jo
      May 22, 2017 / 11:30 am

      Good luck to your daughter! That is funny about your youngest, you tend not to think how the other pupils in the school feel as the focus is so much on the those doing exams and those leaving. Let’s hope the fun is universal! #bigpinklink

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