Friends of Richmond upon Thames School
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.
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.
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.
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 October 2020 we held our 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 – Mei Han; Gurdeep Dhillon; Simone Ruddick
Other Key FoRTS Coordinators
RTS Staff link – Pippa Wright
Rugby Coordinator - Rob Gordon
Second Hand Uniform Sales - Melinda Dieudé
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.
We have recently ratified a FoRTS Constitution – based on a ParentKind PTA standard template - which confirms our two purposes:
- Developing effective relationships between parents/carers and teachers
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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 events can be grouped as follows:
Enrichment events: Events that promote a community spirit within the School.
Opportunity enhancements: Primarily fund raising events to finance enhanced opportunities for RTS students.
We have created a series of “dashboards” that highlight the FoRTS achievements in these areas:
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a team of dedicated marshals for the car park. If you can give time to join this fun team, please email email@example.com to join the ‘Rugby Parking’ Whatsapp group.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our committee will call you to answer any queries and give more information.
Click on Amazon Smile and become a supporter of ‘Friends of RTS’. Amazon will make a 0.5% donation on all eligible purchases. This is also available on the Amazon app.
Click on Easyfundraising and follow the link to support ‘Friends of RTS’. You can sign up with your email or Facebook, and make sure to add your donation reminder (which will show you if you are shopping on a site that could earn FoRTS a contribution). Donations vary based on retailer and size of purchase – the retailers pay this, not you. A smartphone app is also available.
Further information coming soon...
At our recent AGM it was agreed to trial some remote workshops for families to access at home. The workshops will hopefully bring families together at this difficult time; be a source of entertainment, interest and learning; as well as raise some money for the FoRTS funds.
How it will work
The workshops will either be ‘one-off’ sessions or part of a course and they will take place via Zoom (or similar remote platform).
How much it will cost
As the financial situation for many at this time is unpredictable, we appreciate that not everyone has money to spare. However, we would like families to be able to access the events whatever their situation. As such, we will suggest a voluntary contribution for accessing the workshops and will give a guide price depending on the topic, but stress this is only a guide.
Please note, some workshops may require you to have specific resources to take part. If you are unable to access the workshop you would like because of this, your family may be eligible to benefit from the small hardship fund FoRTS operates, so please contact the school in confidence if this applies to you.
Our first FoRTS Family Enrichment opportunity on Chinese Language and Culture was held on 22 November. The next will be held on Sunday 13 December, so please email email@example.com if you would like to take part. There is no need to have joined the first workshop, so come along and learn about the hidden stories behind Chinese characters and martial arts. There is a suggested donation of £10 per family to FoRTS.
Look out for all upcoming events announced in the RTS Parents' Newsletter. Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, all current events will be held virtually.
FoRTS Code of Conduct and Communication Protocols on WhatsApp, Classlist; and FoRTS emails
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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com). 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
The following rules should be visible to all users:
- Be respectful to staff, children and other parents/carers at all times
- 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
- 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
- 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]
FoRTS Documents (Newsletters, Minutes, etc.)
FoRTS Golden Leaf
Congratulations to Mr Reynolds and Ms Lang for winning the inaugural FoRTS Golden Leaf, a recognition of their outstanding contribution to the school community. When the lockdown hit due to the Covid pandemic, they set up a foodbank for the RTS community. With help from other staff they distributed over 540 food parcels, helping over 78 families a week. Our thanks to everyone who helped with donations and distribution.
Second Hand Uniform Donations
Details on how to donate and buy second-hand uniform coming soon!
Joining a Google Meet
Please see the below for guidance on how to join a remote meeting via Google Meet: