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What is the HSA?

The Home & School Association (‘HSA’) is a group of parents and carers which organises various fundraising events to provide money for the school to buy additional items and resources – both big and small – that would otherwise not be covered by the school’s own budget. In addition to fundraising, our objective is to raise the profile of Manland Primary School and help build the school community with events that give families the opportunity to meet socially out of usual school hours.

Why are you called the HSA and not the PTA?

Until it was closed in 1985, children from the Harpenden Branch of the National Children’s Home attended Manland Primary School. ‘Parent’ was replaced by the more inclusive ‘home’ and swapping ‘teacher’ for ‘school’ completed an alternative to PTA.

Shouldn’t the government or local authority cover all the school’s costs?

Public funds have rarely been under so much pressure, but the important thing to note is that fundraising by the HSA is not intended to replace funding from the government and local authority. If Manland didn’t have new netbooks and WIFI, it would still have the ICT suite and if the classrooms didn’t have interactive whiteboards, they would still have whiteboards. The investments are intended to enhance our children’s experience in school and the events organised by the HSA support the strong sense of community at Manland, something that no amount of public funding could do.

How is the HSA organised?

The HSA operates in a fairly informal way, it depends on the goodwill and support of parents and carers, as well as the school, and everybody is welcome to get involved in whatever way they can.

However, we have to take our obligations as a fundraiser seriously. The HSA is a registered charity and even has a constitution. Under the constitution, the HSA has four officers: a chair and vice chair, a treasurer and a secretary. The chair and treasurer are answerable to the Charity Commission. The committee also includes HSA representatives that build relationships with other parents and carers, a communications and membership manager and project leaders that take responsibility for organising events and activities.

How can I get involved?

In our survey of parents and carers in 2012, 50% of respondents said they would like to get more involved. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the HSA and you can do as much or as little as you like. This can range from chairing the committee to manning a stall at the Christmas Bazaar.

There are a number of steps you can take towards volunteering, either on an informal basis or a slightly more formal basis. During the weeks before an event, the HSA representative for your child’s class will be in touch asking for volunteers to help, either at the event or to help with the preparations. You can also come along to the committee meetings, which are held at the British Legion in Harpenden, usually on a monthly basis during term time. These meetings are an opportunity to discuss events that have been held since the previous meeting, to plan further events and come up with fundraising ideas and decide how we are going to spend the money, considering the school’s requests for additional resources. You can find the date of the next meeting on the HSA noticeboard and newsletter.

But don’t worry if volunteering isn’t your thing, or you simply don’t have the time. The most important thing you can do is support the work of the HSA and the fundraising we do by coming along to some of our events.