The Friends of Mere School (FOMS) - Mere School PTA
Welcome to ‘The Friends of Mere School.’ Our aim is to enhance the workings of our school, and to ensure that all the children benefit from our activities and fundraising.
Support us at no cost to you by doing your online shopping - simply click before shopping via the following link - The Giving Machine
Research shows that children do better at school when their parents are involved, so we encourage every parent to contribute in whatever way they can. All input is very welcome, no matter how small or irregular. Parents and carers are welcome to become involved with the Friends (PTA) either as part of the committee, on a more casual basis by helping at an event, or simply by contributing ideas and comments through our Facebook group (see below).
The Friends are a very active group of parents, who organise a programme of social and fundraising events throughout the year. This pays for every single child in school to go to the Pantomime in Salisbury just before Christmas. The Friends also like to focus on an additional project each year. We have recently bought 20 more iPads for the school, so each child in a class will have access to them for lessons. In the past we paid for 30 portable laptops for the children to use in class.
We raised funds for the first phase of a playground revamp, creating a wild garden with hard landscaping including wooden walkways, and adding bug hotels and wildlife friendly areas. The next phase was resurfacing of the large outside space around the blue sail using artificial grass, which was completed during Summer 2014. We were extremely lucky to receive a generous legacy to fund this and we were helped to oversee the project by Pete Down from Kingsmere Surfacing and Nick Howell from Howell Landscaping. This transformed playtimes for the children.
Thanks to our successful Auction of Promises in March 2016, we have recently completed a new, spacious quiet area in the corner of the playground. This gives a calm space for children who want to sit and read, talk or just avoid the hubbub of the main playground. The space can also be used by teachers as an outdoor classroom during the school day. The last phase saw fixed seating added to the area.
Our current project (Summer 2017) is to create a covered area for the children of Year 1 - so that they can take their learning outside whatever the weather, and to improve their outside play space.
For more information please contact Sally Ashlin (Chair) on: 07905 859745, email. firstname.lastname@example.org
FOMS Facebook Group
We have a very busy Facebook group, giving you instant access to information and feedback from other parents. See www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsofMereSchool/
1. How can I get involved?
We have regular PTA meetings in the library (usually on the first Friday afternoon of each month at 2.15pm, but please check first), and you are warmly invited to attend. The meetings are a chance for parents to suggest and help plan forthcoming social and fundraising events.
You can also support us at no cost to you by using The Giving Machine when you do your online shopping. We have already received more than £1100 since 2014 - please see The Giving Machine for details. It's easy!!
Increasingly, we are using the Friends Facebook Group to communicate directly and quickly with parents. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsofMereSchool/
All parents and carers of children at Mere School are automatically voting members of the PTA. The PTA committee is elected at our AGM in April.
There is a PTA notice board outside Blue Class where all information regarding events and meetings is displayed. We also have a noticeboard outside the front entrance where there is usually a list of forthcoming events.
The Friends of Mere School have their own Facebook page, offering the chance for parents easily to share information, ask questions, give feedback and generally find out what’s going on. This is a ‘closed group’ which only parents of children at Mere School can join and contribute to. Request to join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsofMereSchool/.
It is a very lively community and there is always someone on hand to answer any queries you may have about school life or life in general!
2. What activities do the Friends organise?
The Giving Machine - donate at no cost to you!
We encourage parents, friends and relatives to sign up to the Giving Machine, which is free of charge and easily raises funds for our school. We average about £30 per month in donations, just by people going via The Giving Machine to do their ordinary online shopping. Sign up at http://www.thegivingmachine.co.uk
We have raised funds for charities such as the Lullaby Trust and Help for Heroes, with various activities and donations after school performances. Funds raised by the Fireworks Festival went towards the wildlife garden, new playground markings, and the purchase of 20 school iPads.
The twice yearly Bingo is a great social and fundraising success, bringing together people of all ages - both from the school and the wider community in Mere. Prizes are donated by parents during twice yearly non school uniform days. Helpers are needed to set up tables, bag up prizes, man the doors/sell raffle tickets, help with teas and coffees, and clear up afterwards.
School discos - end of each term:
The school disco is held at the end of each term and is hugely popular with all the children. Helpers are needed to oversee entry, snacks, and to set up/clear up afterwards.
Summer Fayre, Table top and Jumble Sales:
A jumble sale in 2014 raised £350, with a further £250 from recycling via the Rags2Riches scheme. Helpers to sort donations and man stalls are always welcome. Helpers to man stalls at the Summer Fayre are also needed. The Summer Fayre and Table Top Sale raises approximately £1300 for school funds, so these are important events for our school.
We are also always grateful for people to help distribute flyers and put up posters.
Parents help to man the stands selling new books during Book Week, and the second hand book stall.
Panto Trip - December: The Friends of Mere School pay for every child (approx. 200) plus staff to go to the Pantomime in Salisbury. The £2000+ cost of tickets is met by fundraising throughout the year.
Parents can help in classes during the school week by listening to individual children reading. You can also read a story of your choice to your child’s class during book week. See your class parent for more information.
Blue Bag collections:
Donate your unwanted clothing and textiles to the Blue Bags scheme. The school are paid by weight of goods received. Bags are sent home in the book bags with deadlines.
Bedtime Stories/Hot chocolate:
Volunteers are needed to help make and serve Hot Chocolate to the children during the bedtime stories evening, and to help clear up afterwards.
Volunteers ‘elves’ help Santa. Funds raised by the Friends ensure that every child receives a lovely gift (usually a book) from Santa when they visit the grotto. Watch a video of the children's reaction to Santa's visit to the school hall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQGxTXrrcw.
Ice Lolly Friday:
Each year we raise approx. £300 throughout the Summer, selling ice lollies in the playground after school on a Friday.
Fancy Dress Library:
The Friends have a collection of fancy dress outfits which are available on loan for performances/dress up days at school. The clothes rails can be found by the stage in the hall. Please ask at the school office for access.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of some school parents with talented gymnast children, The Friends of Mere School set up a community gymnastics club in 2014. With great facilities already available at Mere School and fantastic coaches, Gymbuds is a huge success. This is open to all members of the community, whether children are at Mere School or not.
Find out more from the Gymbuds Facebook page, or email email@example.com
The Fireworks Festival was a major event for the Friends, organised by a sub-committee. The first Festival in 2011 attracted around 2000 people, and in 2012 this was closer to 3000. In 2013 we decided to hold a smaller fireworks event for local children which was very well received, and in 2014 we held a large party to celebrate 10 years as a primary school, with fireworks finale.
3. Who is on the Committee?
For more information please contact : Sally Ashlin (Chair) on: 07905 859745, email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Committee Members:
President: Catriona Williamson (Headteacher)
Chair: Sally Ashlin
Secretary: Lisa Butler
Treasurer: Lucy Ralph
PR: Rachael Hansford
Thanks to its former life as a Middle School, Mere School is blessed with a large site and play area for the children. However, the playground needed some improvement.
The success of the Fireworks Festivals in 2011 and 2012 meant The Friends were able to fund the creation of the new wildlife garden in 2012, as well as contributing to new playground markings, playground benches with games, and providing a new long jump.
Thanks to a generous legacy left to the school in 2013 by a local resident, we completed a large amount of resurfacing using artificial grass. We also purchased additional play equipment to transform the outside space. Reception class play area was also revamped, giving the younger children an impressive outdoor space of their own leading directly from the classroom.
A spacious quiet area was completed in Winter 2016 and provides a calm area in the corner of the playground.
Development is ongoing - The Friends are constantly liaising with teachers to find out what resources are needed to improve playtimes for children.