AGM Minutes

Minutes from the Friends of St Thomas More meeting 17 March 2015

Attendees: Andy Lord Stephen Finn Nicole Evans Denise Jacobs Anna Capilli Francis Clare Allen Mary Joseph Tatiana Maioziello Gill Barnes Juliana Duka Kitty Nicolaou Helen Skertchly Kristen Anderson Sophie Uppelini Rachel Evans

Apologies: Oliver Bastien Magda Rodzynska Sally Reckless Lisa Lord Helen McGrath

Meeting started 19:30

Introduction by Andy Lord – Temporary Co-Chair

  • In the constitution there are currently fixed positions – Chair, treasurer, secretary, craft fair rep and Parish rep.

AGM Review of roles

  • He explained that a new committee needed to be voted in and that he was keen for a thorough review of the structure of any committee going forward to ensure that it didn’t discourage people from volunteering.
  • He explained how he was standing in for co-chair Magda Rodzynska while she was on maternity break from the Friends.
  • Andy gave a brief introduction to himself and members of the committee.
  • In addition to these fixed an approach has evolved using sub committees to run the Summer and Winter fairs.
  • It was recommended that if people want to change the roles to suit the Friends going forward then this would be fine especially as finding chairs or co-chairs is of often difficult to achieve

Current Roles

  • Treasurer – Clare Allen was happy to continue with her role.
  • Craft Fair Rep – Rachel Evans was happy to continue with this role.
  • Parish Rep – Anna Capilli was happy to continue with this role
  • Chair – Magda Rodzynska and Stephen Finn stepped down from their roles as co-chairs.
  • Secretary – Andy Lord stepped down as secretary
  • It was agreed that the chair and secretary roles would be changed to the title of ‘friends co-ordinator’ to allow greater flexibility
  • It was agreed that a teacher or other school representative should be a member of the committee
  • It was agreed that a wider committee of interested persons would be listed to share the workload more effectively.
  • These changes will need to be amended into the constitution.

New Committee

  • Friends Co-ordinators: Gill Barnes, Nicole Evans, Denise Jacobs, Sophie Upellini, Kristin Anderson, Tatiana Maioziello.
  • Treasurer – Clare Allen
  • Craft Fair Co-ordinator – Rachel Evans
  • Parish Rep – Anna Capilli
  • Committee – general members – Helen Skertchly, Stephen Finn (Craft Fair Kitchen), Juliana Duka, Kitty Nicolaou.
  • Event posters / arrangements – Oli Bastien to be asked if he is happy to continue in his valued role.

Events Review

  • A good amount of money has been raised for the school in recent by concentrating on the main 5 events – 2 x craft fairs at Exeter Hall, 2 x school fairs and the St Thomas More day International food night.
  • In addition to this there are Summer and Winter discos.
  • A discussion was held with the outcome being that more community focused or smaller, simpler events should be held and all agreed that this was a good idea going forward.
  • A review is needed as to craft fairs and Summer/Winter fairs going forward.
  • It was agreed that the ongoing push to re-instigate the parental voluntary donation each term should be continued now the academy status has been settled. It is understood that this is being looked at in detail by the governors.
  • Events
    • A separate meeting to discuss summer events will be organised shortly by the new committee.
    • AOB
      • Nicole Evans suggested the Friends should sign up with ‘just giving’.

      School website co-ordination requires improvement.

Minutes from the Friends of St Thomas More meeting 30th September 2014

Attendees: Stephen Finn, Andy Lord, Clare Allen, Rachel Evans, Anna Malik, Tatiana Maioriello, Jakub, Magda Rodzynska, Anna Capilli, Catherine Button, Helen McGrath

Apologies: Mrs Julia Hamper (Principal), Caroline Doran, Nicole Evans, Carol Ye, Nancy Firkin, Cynthia Howard, Nickie Rogan, Adina Talas, Oliver and Torild Bastien

1. Andy Lord welcomed everyone gathered and explained the reason why he was in charge of the meeting – Magda suffered from voice loss. Then, he introduced the Committee members and briefly explained again the role of Friends.

2. Clare Allen – the Treasurer – gave a financial report mainly covering last couple of years profit and Friends contribution to several big projects which happened over the summer holidays:

• Foundation Stage garden and Forest School area refurbishment, including paving stones; the estimated contribution when all invoices have been received and paid is around £5000.

It was stressed that the Forest School area would be used by the entire school and Year 5s for example had already used it for their bug hunt and watch lesson.
• 8 digital cameras purchase; cost: to be confirmed.

• Laptop trolleys purchase; cost: £1,500.

• School Curriculum books for every year group (topic books) – this will be broken down throughout the year and the estimated cost is approx. £700 per term.

• Year 6s leavers do – £400; this will be Friends’ maximum annual contribution for that purpose to make it transparent and fair.

• Friends agreed also to pay for the School Library upgrade – details and cost to be discussed.

• Friends also started building a supply of items frequently used during fundraising events and so far a gazebo and Coconut Shy equipment had been bought. Friends are also looking at buying a shed that will be used for storage of Friends’ items which are currently scattered around the school.

Last year there were discussions with the previous Head, Mrs Buller, of investing the money raised by Friends towards the installation of the hot kitchen in the Hall and purchasing laptops. However, a grant was found for the kitchen and the Multi Academy made a decision to buy laptops for all of the DBMAC Schools as it facilitates their maintenance for example. Therefore, Friends of St Thomas More could contribute towards all of the above projects instead.

Helen Mc Grath noticed that Friends’ involvement and all the contributions do not receive enough publicity in the School Newsletters, on the website etc. These should be promoted more in order to increase awareness of how all the money raised is being used, and hopefully in that way encourage parents to volunteer their help and support.

3. Plan for this Academic Year – Magda Rodzynska briefly explained (in whisper) that a decision was made to stick to the main big events: the Craft Fairs, Christmas and Summer Fairs, the International Food day and the discos. The reason for that is these events raise a similar profit in comparison to previous years where many more smaller events had been organised inbetween the big ones, and there is less pressure on parents and the Committee (Friends).

Magda also thanked Stephen Finn and Rachel Evans for their help with organisation of the events. Stephen has been responsible for all the logistics related to organising the kitchen during any friends’ events, especially the Craft Fairs, and Rachel a few years ago took up the big job of finding and keeping in touch with stall holders for the Craft Fairs in November and March. They both agreed to continue.

As part of the promotion of Friends, Magda informed that a new Friends’ noticeboard was being created. It can be found in the big playground by the Year 2 classroom. Moreover, Magda is liaising with the School Office to keep the Friends’ section of the school website up to date.

While discussing plans for this Academic Year, several other points were brought up by the Committee and the Attendees:

• What are the priorities of the School in terms of future projects? In what do the available funds need to / can be invested?

• Shed / storage for Friends of St Thomas More – this subject was addressed last year and it was agreed that Friends desperately need their own shed where supplies and donations, etc can be kept. Space for the shed was designated (on the side of the school where the side entry to Foundation Stage is).

Friends would like to resume work on the project asap.
• Can Friends use the kitchen area in the Hall for their events?

• Promotion of Friends:

• A suggestion was made that was met with approval during the meeting to have a visual representation of how much Friends raise for school projects (like a thermometer or a beanstalk) that would be placed in a place where most / all parents can see it, such as by the School Office;

• Suggestion box – open to all pupils, teachers and parents for suggestions on what Friends could raise money for, or other fundraising ideas; this would be placed next to the above mentioned “moneymeter”;

• Could Friends be provided with lists of email addresses for each year group in order to inform all the parents effectively of upcoming events? The current database needs updating; Miss Button offered to talk about this to the Head Teacher;

• Frequent and regular promotion of Friends in School Newsletters;

• A display of information on Friends during Parent Evenings;

• New bike / scooter rack with greater capacity – this was another thing discussed last year. The current rack is getting heavily overloaded most days and it has no cover from the rain. Moreover, its current location is not ideal as very often parents and children putting in / taking out their bikes and scooters cause obstruction to the main gate. Suggestion was made to have the new rack placed on the other side of the gate.

• Minibus – there were complaints from the children who use it about its cleanliness. Friends therefore propose that part of the raised funds could be used to have the minibus valeted once a term in the car wash across the road.

4. November Craft Fair – it is one of the biggest money spinners amongst Friends’ events. It happens over two days and usually attracts a lot of attention, not just from the school parents, but from other inhabitants of Kidlington and neighbouring villages / towns.

The question was raised whether the Fair should stay a 2-day event or to change it to one day as of next year.

In answer to that the following arguments were given:
• There are 46 stall in total to hire each day. For this year Saturday is fully booked, but there are 15 vacant stalls for Sunday. A suggestion was made to offer a discounted price for stall holder wanting to book for both days.

• Cover for the Kitchen – this has recently been an issue as it is difficult to find enough volunteers. Normally 3 / 4 people are needed per hour.

• Clare Allen checked her records that last year Sunday generated more profit than Saturday

Finally, a decision has been made to keep it as a 2-day event, definitely for this year, but the question may be discussed again in the future.

Other action points:
• Clare will find out the cost of the Exeter Hall hire.

• Signs advertising the event have to be put up 3 or 4 weeks prior to the event, especially in the area of Sainsbury’s, so the stall holders get enough advertising.

• It was suggested that parents could be given leaflets / flyers which they could then give out to their friends and neighbours in hope that this will interest even more people in the Fair.

•Tatiana Maioriello offered to speak to her husband about a possibility of donating a voucher for a Family meal at his restaurant; plus to find out if he might be willing to donate pizzas to be sold in the Kitchen.

• Stephen to find out if oven can be used in Exeter Hall

Finally, it was decided that no event committee is needed for the November Fair as Stephen Finn and Rachel Evans take care of the biggest chunk of the preparations – the Kitchen and Stall holders respectively.

Oliver Bastien and Andy are still responsible for the advertising of the Fair.

Magda and Andy will take care of the rota and flyers asking for donations of raffle prizes and cakes.

5. Christmas Fair – The following parents volunteered for the event committee: Tatiana Maioriello, Clare Allen, Lisa Lord.

An email will be sent out by Magda asking for more volunteers for the Committee.

Andy Lord read out from the notes prepared by Magda what preparations are needed for the Christmas Fair. The main issue each year is finding a willing dad to take up the role of Father Christmas. Santa’s helper is also needed.

Friends will consider buying Santa’s outfit to be kept at school for this year’s and future use.

A crib sheet will be supplied to the Event Committee for guidance.

Mrs Pollard will need to be approached to find out if she is happy to be in charge of Secret Santa again this year.

6. School Disco – the Attendees after a short discussion agreed for the discos to be changed to New Year discos instead of the Christmas ones. The date is to be confirmed. Magda needs to advise Becky Kershaw of the change as she organises the DJ.

12 October 2011

Attended: Margot Buller (Head); Laura Doherty (Chair); Louise Simmons (Secretary); Dot Edwards (Treasurer); Maria Page; Jenny Horobin; Torild and Oliver Bastien; Andrew and Lisa Lord; John Minogue; Anna Rinaldi; Adina Talas; Gill Barnes; Sally Barber; Magdalena Rodzynska; Madeleine Dempster; Natalie Keates; Jeanette Cowley; Clare Allen; Helen McGrath;  Nickie Rogan; Nicola O’Mahoney; Rachel Evans

Apologies: Anna Capilli; Julie Finn; Becky Kershaw; Nicky Carter; Fenty Prior; Bridget Guiste; Helen Seacole; Karen Ward; Katie Bray; Teresa Mahoney; Barbara Young; Caroline Doran; Joanne Deacon

Chair introduced herself and thanked everyone for coming.

The Constitution of the Friends of St Thomas More was circulated to all present and the Chair explained what the Constitution is.

The present Committee Members were then named and a list of the Class Parent Representatives was circulated to all present.

Mrs Buller (Head) took over the meeting for Re-election of the Committee, which happened as follows:

Chairs:  Magdalena Rodzynska (Foundation); Gill Barnes (Key Stage 1); Sally Barber (Key Stage 2)
Nominated: Mrs Buller
2nd: Nickie Rogan

Noting that we now have 3 Chairs covering the year groups within the school the constitution should be amended to reflect this.

Secretary: Louise Simmons
Nominated: Mrs Buller
2nd: Laura Doherty

Acting Treasurer: Clare Allen
Nominated: Mrs Buller
2nd: Gill Barnes

Parish Representative: Nickie Rogan
Nominated: Mrs Buller
2nd: Laura Doherty

Craft Fair Co-ordinators: Rachel Evans and Natalie Keates
Nominated: Laura Doherty
2nd: Dot Edwards

BBQ Co-ordinators: Maria Page and Nicola O’Mahoney
Nominated: Mrs Buller
2nd: Laura Doherty

Formal thanks to Laura Doherty for all her hard work as Chairperson for the last 2 years and a huge thank you from the whole School for all the new playground resurfacing.

Chair’s Report

We had a very successful year fundraising and were able to spend £18,750 to resurface the adventure playground and the nursery.  This has enabled lots of playtime for the children, mixing of year groups and lots of rolling around on the artificial grass without getting dirty or traipsing it indoors.

However £6,000 is still needed as our funds did not completely cover the resurface of both areas.

Thanks to all the Class Parent Representatives for last year, you all do a magnificent job and thank you so much to all of this year’s volunteers.

Thanks to the Friends’ Secretary, Louise Simmons, for all her jolly emails and communications.

Treasurer’s Report

Dot Edwards circulated a summary of the Friends’ account to those present.

It showed that we raised £8,000 last year, of which the Autumn Craft Fair accounts for half.  The Craft Fair is hugely successful at fund-raising.

The BBQ this year wasn’t as successful as in previous years, which was a shame so we hope to improve on that for next years!

Car Boot Sale was a new and good idea, which we received stacks of cakes for.  This should be repeated in the future as it was certainly worthwhile.

The misc expenses accounted for: Yr 6 End of Year Trip; Yr 6 Leaver’s Party, Alcohol Licensing and anything else that didn’t fit into one particular category.

Judging by our accounts we can clear the £6,000 deficit in one year.

Head’s Report

Pleased to say that we’ve used the entire Friends’ Funds on the playground and nursery refurbishment and she is thrilled with the results.

During the course of the year (2011/12) we will decide what our new project will be once the £6,000 deficit is paid.  However it was mentioned that carpet is much-needed for Yr 5 and Yr 6 Classrooms and also the middle room in Foundation Stage.

Mrs Buller said that we will also work towards fund small projects over the course of the year, such as replacement of library books, as well as paying back the £6,000 deficit.

She was pleased to report that apart from the carpeting of the 3 classrooms that the Friends’ has achieved all that they had set out to do.

Mrs Buller also said that she would organise communicating with Parents to make sure they understand that we need to raise money for the playground refurbishment we already have.

She thanked everyone for attending and was pleased there was such a fantastic turn-out.

2012 FoSTM Auction

Two volunteers for Auction Co-ordinators (non-Committee): Nickie Rogan and Andrew Lord

Andrew Lord’s father is an auctioneer and will ask him to do the Auction for us next year.

It was decided that we would not run a Ladies’ Night next year and instead concentrate on the Auction.  Ladies’ Night will return in 2013.

Autumn Craft Fair

Rachel Evans (Craft Fair Co-ordinator) will meet with the Co-Chairs on Tuesday 18th October to discuss the Autumn Craft Fair.

Promotion is very important for this event – poster at bus stop; radio stations; websites; A4 poster in village shops and on lamp posts.  Torild and Oli Bastien are happy to help with advertising this year but would like to submit costs. They will be in touch with a quote for producing the posters.

Jenny Horobin’s father will design a poster for the event.

Jeanette Cowley and Madeleine Dempster are Kitchen Organisers for the Craft Fairs, but this is their last year to do it.  They requested that someone perhaps shadow them this year so that they can get an idea for how it is run so that they can take over next year.  It involves: shopping for food the Friday before; preparing food at home the night before and also knowing and enforcing the kitchen rules and having a supervisory role.  On the 2-day Craft Fair you also need to assess your stock to ensure you won’t run out on the 2nd day.

Madeleine Dempster makes up a hamper.  She compiles a list of what she would like to include and then parents bring in something from the list.

Parents will be asked to bring in donations for raffle prizes on Friday 4th November.

Friday 4th November is also non-uniform day for the children in exchange for cakes for the Craft Fair.  Jenny’s Horobin’s father will design a poster to let the parents and children know.

School Disco

Mags O’Malley is looking for some help to run the School Disco, particularly as she is in her last year at the School.  Some parent’s names were put forward from Key Stage 1 and those people will be approached to see if they’d like to help.


Quiz Night – 11th November 2011

Laura reported that the hall has been booked and that we need to apply for the alcohol licence which Karen Barnes normally obtains for us.

Sarah Nawn will make some delicious food for us again.

Jon Cowley will be Quiz Master again and he will also research the best deals for alcohol.

It was suggested that Nathan Deacon may be interested in running the bar and Natalie Keates said she’s very happy to help with the bar too.

Jenny Horobin’s father will do a promotional leaflet for it.

Ideally we’d like a team of six from each Year Group to enter as well as at least one Teacher’s Team.

Tickets should be sold 2 weeks in advance, so that would be straight after half term.  Laura suggested we do a tear-off slip so that parents can complete the slip (name, year group, email address, number of tickets, amount of money enclosed) and hand it with their money into reception.  Tickets would also be sold in the playground and on the gate nearer the time.

It was decided that a crèche will run again however it MUST be pre-booked by telling us the children’s name and age.  Children must be 11 or under.  Any children who are not pre-booked will not be able to be looked after the Creche.  This was decided because last year a lot of older children came who were a bit rude and also there were more children than expected as not everyone pre-booked even though they were asked to.

Laura suggested contacting Mrs Castle regarding someone to run the crèche.

Parent Donations

It was discussed that perhaps it would be a good idea to collect termly donations from parents (£10 per term) to help the school fund projects, as well as it’s own fundraising efforts.  Mrs Buller is going to discuss it further with the School Governors.

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