The role of “Friends of Beaudesert” is primarily a social one. Our aim is to enrich the general education and lives of the children by providing many varied activities outside the school curriculum and throughout the year. We feel this is an excellent way to extend relationships between staff, parents and pupils with the opportunity to have a lot of fun along the way! It is not a PTA.
|Sophie de Rouet||Treasurer|
The role of Friends of Beaudesert and key events throughout the year
By Stephen Kinsella, Chair, Friends of Beaudesert.
I am often asked by parents generally new ones but also some who have been connected to the school for years, what is this “Friends of Beaudesert?” The short answer is that it is all of us. All parents with a child at the school are automatically a member of the Friends and are entitled, indeed very much encouraged, to take part in its activities. They can do that by volunteering to help with a single activity that interests them, or in joining our small committee that oversees the general programme and which meets once each term to plan ahead.
Frequently I find myself following up by explaining what the Friends is not. For instance it is not a parent-teacher body of the kind found in other schools. It is not here to represent the views of parents to the school or to play any role in the governance of the school. Our main focus is to organise a number of in-school activities, primarily for our children but also some from which parents and family can benefit.
So we try to ensure that we organise at least one event a year focused on each year group in the school. Many of those events have been running for so long they are almost a tradition, though we do from time to time ask ourselves whether they should be replaced or refreshed, and we are very much open to suggestions from parents.
For the Pre-prep we assist with the children’s Christmas Party and we also organise an Easter Egg Hunt enlivened by one of our ever-willing gap students in an Easter Bunny costume. The Scavenger Hunt for Year 3 is always popular as the children solve the clues concealed throughout the school grounds.
As we go up the school the activities tend to become more demanding. Year 4 take part in the Circus Skills workshop with trained performers, though we do ask them to seek your permission before trying to replicate any of the juggling or balancing at home. Probably the most popular of our challenges is the It’s a Knockout, again run by a professional outside firm, which the children are able to do twice in Years 5 and 6. They get to throw themselves at and over various inflatable obstacles and to run around in Sumo suits. There is always at least one who falls over and then realises that it is impossible to get up unassisted, which is where the parents present can make themselves useful. We are also on hand to serve hot dogs and other refreshments. Finally for the older pupils we organise the Leavers’ Disco at the end of the summer term, though it is for both Years 7 and 8. Parents with children in that age group will not be surprised that having put up the decorations and set out the soft drinks, we are expected to make ourselves scarce and certainly not to embarrass our children by demonstrating any dance moves.
We recognise that many parents can find it difficult to get to know others at the school. With that in mind, but also to raise funds that we can use to pay for the activities mentioned above (all of which are paid for by the Friends) we have a number of other events. Recently we began organising impromptu coffee mornings at William’s in Nailsworth, where those interested can gather after drop-off. Keep an eye on your email for details of the next one.
What is not in doubt is that our Fireworks Night remains very popular, which is just as well as it is responsible for the bulk of our fundraising. Those who have been in previous years will know what a high standard of display they can expect. The Friends also run the various food and other stalls, provide the lighting etc.
It could appear from the above list that being on the Friends committee involves quite a commitment, but in reality because so much of our programme is predictable and follows on from previous years, there is not so much to do. A core committee of 8 or 10 drawn across the year groups is enough to supervise the core programme and we welcome ad hoc involvement, for instance from a Year 5 parent who wants to be present for the It’s a Knockout or someone who whats to host a coffee morning. And if any parent has a bright idea they would like to pursue we are always more than happy to consider it.
We look forward to seeing you (and your children of course) at our events throughout the year.