On this page, you can learn more about Friends of Manland and find out how you can take part:
About Friends of Manland
Friends of Manland or “FOM” is a registered charity which was launched by parents/carers/governors in 2017 in response to financial challenges faced by Manland (in common with all schools). Manland’s income per pupil has dropped significantly over recent years, yet at the same time costs are rising in real terms.
The School Leadership Team have worked hard, together with the Governors, to find ways of making savings, for example by finding cheaper suppliers and developing ways of working more efficiently. They have also implemented new ways of supplementing the school’s income, for example by hiring out the school premises outside school hours. But these measures only go so far. To preserve the quality of education for children at Manland, additional revenue streams are needed.
Friends of Manland’s charitable purpose is to “…advance the education of the pupils of Manland Primary School in Harpenden by providing or assisting in the provision of education, recreational and other charitable facilities or resources not required to be provided or financed by the Local Education Authority or the Department for Education.”
We invite all Manland families to consider making regular donations to Friends of Manland by Direct Debit or by making a one-off donation if you prefer. These donations are entirely voluntary and anonymous: the administration is handled with discretion by office staff (who already deal with other types of confidential information). Other school staff, governors, parents and carers will not know who has contributed to the scheme or how much they have given. All children will continue to be offered the same opportunities as their peers, regardless of their families’ contributions.
The Role of Trustees
Trustees meet on a quarterly basis to discuss how to advance the aims of the FOM. These meetings are attended by the Head and decisions on how funds will be used are taken by the Trustees following close consultation with the Head. In addition, one of the trustees is a school governor.
How you can contribute
You will find a Direct Debit form here which can be filled out and returned to the school office. You can also enclose a cheque for a one off payment, made payable to ”Friends of Manland”. Donations will be held in a separate bank account from normal school funds. See more details below in our FAQs section.
By the end of 2019 FOM had raised over £33,000, including gift-aid. This includes both one-off donations and regular contributions. We are indebted in particular to two substantial donors. One of those donors offered to match one-off contributions and new direct debit sign-ups in 2018/19. The other also made a very substantial personal contribution to FOM. Of the sums raised, by the end of 2019 FOM had contributed £25,000 to school resources.
FOM made a substantial contribution to site security and safeguarding arrangements by upgrading the vehicle and pedestrian gates. As well as making access arrangements more secure, these upgrades have improved the appearance of the access points and made them easier to use for staff, parents and other visitors. With improved site security, school staff’s attention has been freed up to concentrate on working with pupils.
In 2019 FOM contributed £20,000 towards the replacement of Interactive Learning Boards in classrooms. During summer 2019 all classes were fitted with new Interactive Learning Boards. The old white boards were out of date and unreliable, so this was an update that was very much needed. The impact in the classroom has been felt by both children and teachers alike, across all year groups.
Our latest project was the provision of new laptops to all teachers! Teachers use laptops on a daily basis to plan lessons, source resources online, and deliver lessons through connecting their laptop to the new interactive learning boards. Teacher laptops are used throughout the day to complete the statutory morning and afternoon registers, as well as record children’s lunch choices. The teacher’s former laptops were very old and very slow! The new laptops are enhancing pupil’s interactive learning, save time and have a positive impact on teacher well-being!
The Trustees are seeking volunteers to take on the roles within the charity in order to maximise its effectiveness. Could you assist with any of the following?
• Are you interested in being a Trustee? No specific qualifications are required. We are particularly interested in recruiting new Trustees with experience of working in the charity sector, marketing, administration and finance.
• FOM Secretary, to support the committee in running the charity by helping organise and document their meetings, and follow-up on decisions arising.
• Helping with one-off projects and research: we are keen to explore specific areas in which we can advance FOM’s activities and are looking to volunteers to support specific projects.
Q – Is contributing to FOM compulsory or expected?
A – Absolutely not. Contributions to FOM are entirely voluntary. Families should make their own decisions based on their individual financial and ideological positions.
Q – Are contributions to FOM anonymous?
A – Yes. Contributions to the charity will be anonymous. The administration will be handled by the office staff, applying the same principles of privacy and confidentiality that are applicable to all the personal information they handle.
Q – Will my child be disadvantaged if we do not contribute?
A – No. All children and families will be treated exactly the same, regardless of whether they have made contributions or not. As contributions are anonymous, neither teaching staff, nor Governors, nor parents will be aware of who has contributed and who has not.
Q – Do contributions need to be regular?
A – Contributions made in any way will always be welcome. Families may choose to contribute regularly by Direct Debit. In addition, one off payments will also be gratefully received. You can cancel or change your contribution at any time.
Q – How is FOM different to the work carried out by the HSA?
A – It may seem that there is some overlap between this charity and the work of the HSA, in that both raise funds primarily from Manland families, for the purpose of providing ‘optional extras’ for the school. Friends of Manland aims to complement the work carried out by the HSA and is not intended to replace the HSA by any means. FOM recognises the fantastic work of the HSA; both in terms of the extra money raised and also the strengthening of our school community by bringing families together to socialise and work towards a common goal.
Q – How is the money raised by FOM used?
A – The Trustees work with the Headteacher to determine priorities for investing money raised, subject to the charitable objects of the charity as agreed with the Charity Commission.
Q – Who are the Trustees?
A – Current trustees are School Governors Joe Guy, former Governors Gareth Antcliff and David Barker and parent Sarah Rowley. FOM is always looking for new trustees and/or for volunteers. If you are interested in helping, please let the school office know.
Q – Do contributors get to have a say in how the money raised is invested?
A –The Trustees have discretion to decide how the money will be spent. They will take into account requests from the school and suggestions from parents, and make grants in accordance with the Trust’s charitable object. As contributions are anonymous and it would be difficult to involve contributors in decision making. Of course, the school is always open to dialogue with all parents and carers if they see an unmet need which they believe should be prioritised for investment, but this is not linked to specificcontributions.
Q – Will we still need to pay for school trips and visits?
A – The school will continue to ask for parental contributions towards the cost of special curriculum-related activities such as these. Just as they have always been, these will be voluntary, to ensure that no child is excluded from an activity due to their family’s financial position.
Q – Can the FOM receive Gift Aid on contributions?
A – Yes. As FOM has charitable status, it is able to claim Gift Aid from UK Tax Payers. Please complete the Gift Aid section of the Direct Debit form if appropriate. If you make a one-off payment, you will be sent a different Gift Aid form to complete.
Q – How do we cancel or change our Direct Debit contributions?
A – You may cancel or change your Direct Debit contributions at any time by contacting the school office. When your youngest child leaves the school we will send you a letter asking if you wish to continue making contributions. If we do not hear from you, the default will be that your payments will continue at the current level.
Q – I have more questions! Who should I contact?
A – Please leave a note at the school office or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question will be passed on to the Trustees for a response.