Since then, the education sector has undergone many significant changes. Today there are many profound differences in both the way in which we educate our children and the means by which this education is funded. To reflect these changes, the Friends of St. Stephen’s School is evolving with a renewed focus on inspirational projects that supplement, enhance and extend our core activities at St. Stephen’s. We’re now pursuing imaginative new methods of reaching out to our wider community to devise, fund and realise these major initiatives for mutual benefit.
The Friends trust complements the work of our Parent Teacher Association (‘PTA’) who continue to involve the parents, carers and families of our pupils in grass roots fundraising activities and social events. Rest assured, quiz nights and cake sales and the hundreds of other creative money-making enterprises will remain vital activities at our school.
Partnering with businesses, grant-making organisations and voluntary groups, the Friends trust seeks to develop long-term relationships with organisations with a shared interest in both our school and the extended family of our neighbourhood. The Friends trust aims to pursue unashamedly ambitious goals through sponsorship, collaboration and co-funding.
These goals are ‘extraordinary’ in every sense. We want to provide ongoing facilities, services and resources that exceed standard curriculum requirements and consequently give our pupils a wider range of opportunities and experiences to aid their learning and development. In short, we have chosen to take a positive, long-term approach in response to new challenges. These projects and the way in which they’re funded are genuinely innovative.
Through consultation with the leadership team, board of Governors, frontline educational staff and the families of our pupils, we’re identified a number of specific targets for 2017.
Curriculum Support Working with local and national businesses, we aim to secure sponsorship of around £1,000 for each of our core foundation subjects:
English, Maths, Science, Design & Technology, History, Geography, Art & Design, Music, Physical Education, Computing, Religious Education, PHSE (personal, social and health education) and Modern Foreign Languages.
This money will provide resources and experiences for the children that give extra depth to their learning and understanding of these key core subjects.
The second major fundraising project is a complete overhaul of the school’s ICT offering and its library. This project is entirely pupil led. When we talked to the pupils about which areas of learning they most wished to progress in, the unanimous answer was more access to modern IT facilities. After a consultation with governors and teachers we have decided, for 2017, to focus our fundraising efforts on buying iPads. This means our IT lessons are entirely mobile and can be moved from class to class.
This project is part of a wider mission, championed by Mr Bowman, to increase the size of our library by threefold and to move it into the room currently operating as our ICT suite. Upgrading this room into our new library will create a modern, flexible learning space where our children can enjoy reading, relax, be mindful and make use of multi-media learning opportunities.
In practical terms, fundraising is necessary to address a number of specific needs including
* Upgrading our wifi to improve connectivity and collaboration
* Purchasing iPads and accessories to give children
* Establishing a budget for ongoing IT support
* Purchasing new books for the library
* Refurbish and modernise the new library
This is a significant investment: The cost of this project will be in the region £50,000.
Central to our strategy is the principle of mutuality. Supporting these initiatives is both a philanthropic and promotional opportunity. In return for your support you can make a positive difference to the lives of young people and also access to a huge audience of local people. Through videos, school publications, social media, signage and online news channels, we’ll help to tell the stories of our newfound alliances. It’s also important to remember that our charitable status means that for many organisations and individuals, contributing to Friends of St. Stephen’s School initiatives offers additional tax savings.
We welcome both financial support and contributions in the form of materials, equipment and expertise. Whatever sector you’re in, we would like to hear from you. You might have a particular proposal or area of interest or simply be keen to explore ideas. Perhaps you know of an individual who might be able to help in a personal capacity or as the representative of non-profit or commercial organisation?