St Mary's Infants Fellowship (PTA)

This information has been compiled by SMIF especially for you, as a new family joining our school community. We realise it can be strange and a little nerve-wracking starting at a new school and there always seems to be so many questions to ask. This information aims to provide you with information about St Mary's Infants Fellowship (PTA), which forms a major part of school life. If you have any questions that remain unanswered, please contact one of the committee members.

Committee 2014/15

Chairperson: Mrs Mandy Rico

  • Vice Chairpersons: Mr John Allen and Mrs Rosanna Karina Cedres
  • Secretary: To be announced
  • Treasurers: Mrs Tina Morreale and Mr Brendan Mulrooney
  • Communications Mgr: Mrs Katie Nixon
  • Marketing/Promotions: Mrs Hannah Rogers and Ms Gemma Dowler
  • Operations and Handling: Mr James Keanneay

The Core PTA committee can be contacted through the following email address: pta@stmarysinfschool.org.uk

Why do we have SMIF?

We are fortunate at our school to have a SMIF Committee and parent volunteers that is and has been an integral part of the school community for a number of years. In its time SMIF has raised thousands of pounds, which has been spent on equipment and resources to enhance our children's education experience and the school's facilities.

SMIF is about much more than simply fundraising. SMIF exists to provide closer links between home and school and it is an excellent way to bring staff, parents and friends together socially in support of the school, working towards a common goal. It is fun too - just ask any of the Committee members or helpers.

All parents and members of the school community are encouraged to get involved, even if they only have a small amount of time available. All families are automatically members of SMIF when their child joins our school.

SMIF is extremely conscious of the Catholic ethos and diversity of our school, and we try very hard when organising and planning events to respect this. Not all of our events are run as fundraisers. For example we host a fun night for all children who attend St Mary's Nursery and Infants' School. They can bring their brothers, sisters, cousins and/or friends, to come along and have fun playing beat the goalie, see who gets the most hoops, have their faces painted or nails decorated and hair braided. Join in with all the fun and activities.

Charitable status

Charity law requires voluntary organisations such as ours with an annual income in excess of £5,000 to register with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. As a charity we must abide by Charity Commission rules and regulations and we are bound by a governing document referred to as our constitution. Our constitution sets out the rules about how we operate as a PTA and how we conduct ourselves.

Being a registered charity enables SMIF to:

  • Receive charitable donations from local and national companies
  • Apply to grant-making charitable trusts; most charitable trusts will give grants only to groups formally recognised as charities
  • Receive donations made through payroll giving and company matched giving scheme

Links with local businesses

We have, over time, developed strong links with the local community and are always well supported by both residents and businesses, for which we are very grateful. Many of our local shops are very generous providing donations for raffle prizes, auction items etc and some have taken part in our Christmas and Summer Fayres this has made a huge difference to our fundraising efforts.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Our Annual General Meeting is held at the beginning of the academic year and provides an opportunity for all parents to come along and hear in more detail about the work of SMIF, the events we have run, the funds we have raised and how the money has been spent. It is also the occasion when we elect our new committee members.

Support from NCPTA (National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations)

SMIF is a member of the NCPTA, which is a national charity and membership organisation providing support and guidance for all home school associations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our association is one of over 13,000 members in current membership of the NCPTA. We pay an annual membership fee to the NCPTA which gives us lots of member benefits including comprehensive insurance cover for all SMIF run events, support and advice on running SMIF plus fundraising ideas and good practice hints and tips.

How we raise money

The majority of SMIF funds are raised through the events that we organise. Some of our most popular events include:

  • Cake sales every term
  • Fun Night - this event is all about fun for all the children and their brothers, sisters, cousins to come along and join in with many fun activities
  • Summer Fayre - includes gymnastics displays, fancy dress, visits from the local police, fire station and St John's Ambulance
  • Flossie the Clown - visits the school to entertain the children
  • Adult only events - Quiz Nights, Auction Night, Race and Curry Night

As you can see there is always something going on. We always try and respond to the children's requests; it is great to see them having fun. We would also invite all parents to get in touch with any other fundraising event ideas.

How we get information to you

Letters/flyers will be sent out via Parentmail and bookbags. These will provide information for up and coming events, dates for your diaries or general information. Please check your e-mails regularly to avoid missing something exciting. Following a SMIF event, we let parents know how much was raised, and if we can, we tell you what the money will be spent on. When SMIF requires volunteers for up-coming events we will put letters with slips in bookbags for you to complete and return if you are able to help.

A copy of the minutes from all SMIF meetings will be sent out via Parentmail and a copy will be available in a file in the foyer of the school.

How we spend the money we raise

Following a fundraising event the money is banked straight away. It is at our SMIF Committee meetings, that the decisions on how to spend the money are agreed. Usually, The Head Teacher will have a 'wish list' of items that the school would like SMIF to consider funding. At times it will be for resources to improve a particular area of the curriculum or school environment. The SMIF funds are spent on the 'extras' that are not provided by the school's budget, thus making our children's learning experiences so much more fulfilling and exciting.

We always endeavour to spend our funds in ways that will benefit all our children across all areas of the school and curriculum. The money we raise is usually spent fairly quickly. That way, you can be sure that in supporting our school, your children will feel the benefit, along with everybody else.

10 reasons why we need your help!

As parents, you are AUTOMATICALLY a member of SMIF so your voice counts.

SMIF relies on a continual cycle of parent involvement. As children reach their final year and leave, so do their parents. The teachers and Head support us when possible, but without all your support, we have no SMIF - WE REALLY DO NEED YOU.

SMIF is a mixture of parents that work together for the benefit of St Mary's. Some are full-time parents, some work part-time or work full-time. NONE of us are specialists in fundraising.

Taking an active role within SMIF organised events is critical to your children's success, so we've compiled a list of 10 reasons why helping SMIF will greatly improve your child's time at St Mary's:

1. You are vital to the success of the school

  • Schools are becoming more and more dependent on their PTAs for funds
  • Without the funds raised by SMIF, your child would not get the benefits of:
  1. All weather play areas
  2. Interactive whiteboards
  3. Play and learning equipment just to mention a few!
  4. Teacher communication support microphone system

2. It's TOTALLY flexible!

  • There are a variety of small ways you can help and be involved - from designing a poster, photocopying and distributing letters in the school, cleaning up after an event, helping out on a stall... so many ways.
  • You don't have to volunteer for every event. Volunteering just 30 minutes of your time to help SMIF is invaluable. If everyone could spare 30 minutes a term to help, just think what we could achieve!
  • You don't have to attend SMIF meetings - you can use our contact details to send in ideas for discussion or respond to requests for help

3. You'll feel more connected

  • There's no better way to know what events are being planned, have your say or make new fundraising suggestions, than by offering your help and support
  • You'll get to know teachers and support staff on a more familiar basis and collaboration gets far better results

4. You'll be part of a great network

  • Every SMIF event is an opportunity to meet other parents who want to support the school
  • You will be part of a like-minded network of people who all share a common goal of improving the school for all our children

5. Make a difference

  • By volunteering to help SMIF, you'll be able to use whatever skills you have for a noble cause
  • SMIF strive to establish a supportive and collaborative community for the entire school

6. We're not just for mums!

  • It's important to SMIF, our school and our pupils to have dads represented on our committee and to help reach out to other dads
  • Are you a mum or dad with a skill that would come in useful?

7. Be a role model

  • By getting involved with SMIF, you'll show your children that their education is important to you
  • Your children will see you playing an active part in making their education more varied
  • Getting involved illustrates good teamwork and community spirit

8. What SMIF does affects every parent (and pupil)

  • Your voice matters - SMIF is made up of people elected to represent you, so help us to do this effectively
  • Your ideas and involvement can help improve the quality of education for all the children at our school
  • See the smiles on their faces and know that you have played a part in making school a little more comfortable and fun!

9. It's fun!

  • Help plan fun events, socials and get-togethers
  • Suggest NEW fun ways to raise funds
  • Get your whole family involved!

10. Finally...

Our children are only at school for a relatively short time. Hopefully some SMIF events will be remembered fondly by our children for a lifetime. The equipment and resources SMIF helps fund, make learning even more engaging. Help us continue to create lasting memories for our children.

Thank you for taking the time to read this page. We hope you now know a little more about St Mary's Infants Fellowshp (SMIF). On behalf of all the pupils and staff we would like to thank you for your very valuable support which enriches their learning experience and makes their time in school so enjoyable.

Thank you

Mandy and the rest of the committee