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The Richmond upon Thames School

The Richmond upon Thames School

Excellence Through Endeavour

FoRTS

Friends of Richmond upon Thames School 

Introduction

At RTS we have developed a very active FoRTS. Whether you join RTS as a Parent, Carer or member of staff you will automatically become a member of FoRTS and will be contacted by representatives to join us at events and support our children.

We do encourage anybody and everyone to join us.  We have a diverse membership and it is important that people get involved so that all voices and ideas can be heard.  So why not take the plunge and get involved and volunteer, or donate to help to make a difference.

FoRTS Mission

Our mission is simple:

  • To support the growing RTS community through creating opportunities for parents/carers and teaching staff to connect and support each other for the benefit of the pupils
  • To raise funds to enhance every RTS student’s learning experience at school

We are delighted to have been granted charitable status (18.06.2020) so we can now claim Gift Aid on any voluntary contributions to help achieve our mission. Our Registered Charity Number is 1189995.

FoRTS Committee

We are parents/carers of children who attend RTS.  All work done on behalf of FoRTS is voluntary and is done for no personal financial gain.

In January 2020 we held our inaugural AGM and 6 officers were voted in to form the committee to serve a 1 year term.

Chair (Officer role) – Vanessa Gordon

Treasurer (Officer role) – Mark O’Brien

Secretary (Officer role) – Carey Fisher

Committee – Michelle Crockford; Gurdeep Dhillon; Simone Ruddick

RTS Staff link – Pippa Wright

All members of FoRTS are eligible to put themselves forward for election as an Officer or for the Committee, and all are eligible to vote.

FoRTS Constitution

We have recently ratified a FoRTS Constitution – based on a ParentKind PTA standard template - which confirms our two purposes:

  1. Developing effective relationships between parents/carers and teachers
  2. Engaging in activities or providing facilities which support the school and advance the education of the pupils.

We interpret both of these as providing activities that encourage and promote the building of a positive community between the parents/carers of pupils and the school, primarily via fundraising activities, that provide funds to advance the education of the pupils.  

It is not our purpose or role to provide input or advice, or be the conduit of such, to the school or teachers on education matters.  It is the role of the school leadership to solicit this input from parents/carers from time to time, with the governors responsible for holding them to account on how they are addressing that feedback.  Parents are free to provide input directly at any time.

We have specifically checked with the school leadership on our role with respect to purpose (1).  The school leadership have been very clear to us on this - any issues related to matters of education of your children should be taken up directly with the school via the info@rts.richmond.sch.uk email address, not via FoRTS or school governors.  RTS also has a formal complaints procedure should this be an avenue any parent wishes to explore.

A copy of the FoRTS Constitution is available upon request to forts@rts.richmond.sch.uk.

What does FoRTS do?

FoRTS supports the school by organising fundraising events and marshalling the school car park on event days at Twickenham stadium. All of these fundraising enterprises are run by parent/carer volunteers; and RTS staff also play a key and active role.  After the money has been raised, we decide in consultation with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) how the funds can be spent to improve the learning environment for every pupil at school.

As well as raising money, FoRTS events/fundraisers endeavour to create opportunities for parents/carers to meet together in order to form links with each other and extend the community spirit that is already well established at RTS.  Current parents/carers attend induction events for new starters to be available to answer the many queries new parents/carers have; and support school events, such as the school play, to be available to support current parents/carers who are looking to link up together.

Click here to see a placemat setting out FoRTS aspirations and typical events conducted each year to deliver these enrichment opportunities.

FoRTS Achievements

Total achieved to date (as of June 2020): TOTAL c.£30k

This is a fantastic amount for any school to have raised in less than 3 years.  The fact that RTS has raised this as a new school, where the school roll started at only 125 students, is testament to the fantastic teamwork of parents/carers and staff; and the highly supportive, growing RTS community.

We aim to spend at least 60% of funds raised in the year in which they were raised – so your help and fund raising efforts immediately help your children.  The remainder goes towards larger commitments which require more time to save up for.

Click here for a dashboard on the FoRTS achievements for the combined 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic years.

Click here for a dashboard on the FoRTS contribution for the Autumn Term 2019 bids.

How to get involved

Everyone leads busy lives.  FoRTS is committed to enhancing every student's learning experience through facilitating those that can offer help, in any way they are able.

This may be through donating money, time, ideas, experience, connections….the list is inexhaustive.

If you want to be involved in any way, big or small, you can contact FoRTS directly via email: forts@rts.richmond.sch.uk; or via the RTS School Office: info@rts.richmond.sch.uk.

Look out for when our FoRTS meetings take place (usually once or twice a term), and news on FoRTS latest achievements and requests for volunteers in the fortnightly RTS Parents' Newsletter.

We have a WhatsApp group to ease communication for organising events.  To request to join the ‘FoRTS fundraising’ group please email: forts@rts.richmond.sch.uk.

We have a team of dedicated marshals for the car park.  If you can give time to join this fun team, please email forts@rts.richmond.sch.uk to join the ‘Rugby Parking’ Whatsapp group.

We are in the process of setting up various ways parents/carers can donate money to FoRTS.  Many of these you are probably already used to through similar schemes in place at primary school.  Please click on the below information slide to read more about 'easyfundraising':

While not directly related to FoRTS or the school, a Classlist site has been set up to enable parents to communicate and connect.  Find out more about Classlist here: https://classlist.com.

Details about Classlist are communicated at the start of each year, and once you are in the system, your year group will automatically be updated as your child moves up an academic year. If you wish to join Classlist please request authorisation to join through this link: https://classlist.page.link/GE7ea

See the Code of Conduct section for details on communications on the FoRTS fundraising Whatsapp group, Classlist and FoRTS email.

If you are not ready to sign up to anything yet, but want to find out more about FoRTS, you can do that by coming along to a meeting or emailing forts@rts.richmond.sch.uk and one of our committee will call you to answer any queries and give more information.

Upcoming Events

Look out for upcoming events announced in the RTS Parents' Newsletter.

FoRTS Summer Race

Join FoRTS in a race to Richmond upon Thames’ twinned towns!  Can we, as a FoRTS community, walk/run/cycle to Fontainebleau, France (351 miles) before the end of term? We might even make it to Konstanz, Germany (637 miles), or even Richmond, Virginia, USA (3,733 miles!). It’s free to enter and open to all year groups and their families. The house that clocks the most miles will win merits towards the house cup at the end of year. FoRTS will also be inviting the new Year 6-7 students and their families to take part. Click on the flyer below for details:

FoRTS Code of Conduct and Communication Protocols on WhatsApp, Classlist; and FoRTS emails

FoRTS: Code of Conduct

Introduction

This Code of Conduct binds both committee and non-committee members of the Friends of The Richmond upon Thames School (“FoRTS”).

These guidelines describe the basic expectations for behaviour and the importance for all members to conduct themselves professionally and ethically, and will run alongside our constitution, which is a legally binding document.  In order for FoRTS to function successfully it is essential that all members agree to follow these guidelines while in acting in association with FoRTS.

The Code

  • Any parent or guardian of a pupil attending The Richmond upon Thames School ("RTS") and all members of school staff are deemed to be members of FoRTS, with the vested interest in enhancing the school for all
  • All work done on behalf of the FoRTS is voluntary and is done for no personal gain
  • All members will act in the best interest of FoRTS and the school
  • All members will be encouraged to make relevant and positive contributions to meetings they attend
  • All parents/carers are automatically members of FoRTS and as such the membership of FoRTS reflects the diversity of the school. We know that different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds create a stronger and more effective team and so encourage all to be actively involved. All members have the right to be heard and must respect each other’s opinions
  • All members mus communicate together responsibly. All correspondence to FoRTS should be sent to forts@rts.richmond.sch.uk or the FoRTS WhatsApp group as appropriate.  Sensitive topics should be sent via email, not via the FoRTS WhatsApp group.  Any matters relating to the school, should be directed to the School Office (info@rts.richmond.sch.uk). See ‘FoRTS guidance for using WhatsApp’ document for further information
  • Any items emailed through to the FoRTS email address may not be answered immediately. All committee members work on behalf of the FoRTS on a voluntary basis, in their free time, and may not be able to address issues straight away. Any query raised will need to be discussed by the committee and, if necessary, will be added to their next meeting agenda
  • The committee will work to the rules stated in their constitution.  As per the constitution, decisions will be made by a majority vote of the elected committee members.  The committee may from time to time consult with the wider membership, however the committee’s decision is final
  • All members must ensure that any material or discussion of a confidential nature, especially matters concerning individual staff, pupils or parents/guardians, is confined to the meeting, attended only by elected committee members. Names will be blacked out of the meeting minutes, if necessary
  • The committee should be made aware of any conflict of interest and the person involved should withdraw from any discussion pertaining to that subject
  • All members must respect the school and personal property
  • All paperwork and assets relating to FoRTS are the property of FoRTS, and not that of the individual. When leaving FoRTS a member should return any relevant paperwork or assets to the FoRTS committee
  • Should it be deemed by the committee that any member has disregarded this code, or their actions have brought FoRTS, or the school, into disrepute, the committee has the right to exclude that member from future involvement.  The procedure for removal of a FoRTS member or FoRTS committee member is stated in the constitution.

Advice for FoRTS, WhatsApp, Email; and Classlist Use

Check members are parents/carers before accepting them into the group.

  • For safeguarding reasons, it’s important to check that all members are parents/carers of a student at RTS before allowing them into the group
  • If you’re unsure if someone is a parent/carer of a student, check with the
    School Office before accepting them

Enable post approval

  • FoRTS does not support the use of Facebook as a means of communication
  • For platforms that don’t allow post approval (WhatsApp, Classlist; or an email chain), you’ll need to read all comments carefully to see if they break any rules and then ask the parent/carer to remove their comment if it does

Group rules

The following rules should be visible to all users:

  1. Be respectful to staff, children and other parents/carers at all times
  2. Don’t use the group to complain about a member of staff or the school. Raise complaints through the school’s official channels so they can be dealt with in the appropriate way
  3. Don’t use the group to call attention to, or to try to solve, specific behaviour incidents. Discuss these with the tutor or another member of staff so they can respond in line with the school’s behaviour policy
  4. Only share or post pictures of your own child. Get permission from another child’s parents before posting or sharing photos of them

Parents will be removed from Classlist, WhatsApp; or email groups if they violate the group’s rules.

When to report something to the school

Speak to a senior member of staff, if:

  • Someone posts something in your group that is aggressive or abusive
  • Someone in your group has broken a rule, or consistently breaks the rules, and hasn’t responded to your requests or warnings about their behaviour
  • Someone says something that suggests that a pupil may be at risk of harm
  • Someone makes an allegation about inappropriate behaviour by a member of school staff

The school will decide what further action should be taken.

[Adapted  from © The Key Support Services Ltd]