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.
Supporting the School can take as little or as much time as you have. It loads of fun, builds friendships and can also build your skills. As an added bonus it will help your children too.
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).
Who are these "Friends?"
The Friends are a group, who organise a programme of social and fundraising events throughout the year. Some of them have formal roles like Chair and Treasurer, some take on an event like Bingo or The Fete, some read every week, and some just say Yes! when help is needed. And then others don't have a minute to spare so just shop via the Giving Machine (more of that later) and subscribe to the School Lottery and sleep peacefully knowing they are doing their bit. Every contribution - big or small adds to the pot.
They aren't just parents either - any member of the community can help, particularly family members , like aunts, uncles and God Parents who want to be a bigger part of the childrens' lives, retired grandparents who want to still use their skills etc.
What is the ££££ used for?
The money raised pays for every child in school to go to the Pantomime in Salisbury just before Christmas. It also pays for Santa to visit the School and provide a gift for each child. On top of this The Friends also like to focus on an additional project each year.
This year we are raising for Virtual Reality Headsets - the children have already tried these out on a visit to the International Space Station where they experienced weightlessness (I know - wish I'd had a go!!). Now we have our own set in school the first outing was to a virtual Firework displays as part of the Fire curriculum subject. The kids all loved it but a few of them had never been to a real firework display so they were absolutely blown away! We are trying to raise more money so that there is a Headset for each child in the class so that they no longer need to share and can get more time on them.
We are also raising money for a new shed to store equipment. It is hoped this project will be completed soon.
In the past we have raised funds for
- electric pencil sharpeners for each class. It sounds like a small thing but it is an everyday chore that now takes the TAs far less time freeing them up to do more with the children (and to not have sore fingers!)
- 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. I'm sure parents have been thankful for this area too on rainy pick-ups!
- 20 more iPads for the school, so each child in a class has access to them for lessons.
- 30 portable laptops for the children to use in class.
- a playground revamp, creating a wild garden with hard landscaping including wooden walkways, and adding bug hotels and wildlife friendly areas.
- resurfacing the large outside space around the blue sail using artificial grass.
- a the spacious quiet area in the corner of the playground which gives a calm space for children who want to avoid the hubbub of the main playground. The space can also be used by teachers as an outdoor classroom during the school day.
For more information please contact Sam Cotton (Chair) on: 07749 412738, email. firstname.lastname@example.org
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 but you can still get involved even if you can't make this time slot.
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 to easily 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!
The Giving Machine - donate at no cost to you!
We encourage parents, friends and relatives to sign up to the Giving Machine. This is a website that gives a small commission to the school when you shop online. It costs you nothing to do - just do your regular shopping at your usual sites, eBay, Amazon, etc etc. via the Giving Machine. For every £10 you raise from your shopping £5 will be given back to you to spend on school trips. It raises money for the school and give you FREE money.
It 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
Mere School Lottery
This is another no brainer for those short of time to help or grandperants and extended family who'd like to be involved. Tickets are £1. So sign up and be in with a chance to win. Your ticket is entered into 2 draws each week - a local draw where one ticket from our school will win (current prize around £60) and a National Draw where you could win £25K. One mum from our school has already won this top prize so well worth getting your ticket!
The Friends of Mere School is now a registered charity. So if you want ti make a donation (or need to for Tax purposes!) then please get in touch.
2. What activities do the Friends organise?
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.
Last year we successfully combines this with sports day which worked well. It didn't raise quite as much as it could have but worked for the small team that we had in place. Helpers to man stalls are needed for next year and all ideas are welcome.
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. Helpers are needed to bag popcorn the day before the trip.
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. For those whose children are just starting school this is a brilliant way to understand how your child is learning (i.e. what Phonics actually is!) and gives you a great insight into how you can help them. I promise you will come out of this with new skills!
Bags for Schools 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. Volunteers needed to do this;
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.
3. Who is on the Committee?
For more information please contact : Sam Cotton (Chair) on: 07749 412738, email. email@example.com
Current Committee Members:
President: Catriona Williamson (Headteacher)
Chair: Sam Cotton
Secretary: Victoria Wagland
Treasurer: Lucy Ralph
PR & Charity Fundraising: Sarah Talbot