Committee Meeting Minutes – 13th November


13 November 2014


Committee Members: Elizabeth Mackie, Gillian Gray, Pete Bacon-Darwin, Amanda Jones, Sam James (link Governor), Leon Choueke, Jo Holmes, Karolina Ibranyi-Matkovitz, Suz Cocksedge, Pete Salerno, Kit Bhatti, Aynur Sezer

Apologies: Lucy Davies, Nick Thomas, Fabienne Thomson, Francesca Iannaccone, Nathalie Ginvert, Sam Thiagaraj, Nina Job, Claire Slater, Dahlia Patsalides, Andy Day

Also attending: Marina Calero, Helen Gray, Nicole Elliott, Susie Cottee, Angeline, Lesley Muir

Welcome and apologies. A particular welcome to the new volunteers from the AGM – Suz, Pete, Dhalia and Andy (the last two gave apologies) and to new treasury team Aynur and Kit who were at their first informal committee meeting.

Budget – the accounts for 13/14 which had been presented at the AGM were circulated and confirmed. Jo ran through the basics of charity accounting and the anomalies which could result in expenses for an event not necessarily falling in the same year as the income from a particular event.

New events update:

Leon explained his ideas for how CF could develop. He thought CF was amazing and the money raised was terrific. That all money raised was extremely beneficial for our children and the development of the School. The school –now has nearly 700 families with very diverse backgrounds – social, ethnic, and financial. He wanted CF to have a focus on and to think about including new non-money-raising events and community building events into CF’s calendar, for example the already successful coffee mornings. He spoke about other ideas such as parent discussion groups (eg for SEN families, or on parenting issues eg nutrition, bedtimes etc). Whilst current events are brilliant at bringing people together (eg Summer Fair, Fireworks, Quiz, etc) we can do more. Leon spoke about the importance of raising the profile of different parent groups, and ways of bringing people together e.g. an International food evening. He spoke about CF investing money raised back into CF to help fund and run these sorts of events. Events that don’t have a cost attached for attending could expand the number of families that might attend. [The Committee will discuss further with the School about the food evening. Andy Day has said he’d like to be involved on this type of event.]

There was a discussion on Leon’s vision for more community based events. Karolina wondered whether there could be a focus on this through the curriculum as well. Angelique (an ex Highgate Primary School teacher and now Coleridge parent) was concerned with the fact that there can be a rather negative feeling outside Coleridge that there is a particular affluency here and that more community oriented events will benefit Coleridge’s external face. Kit felt that more multi-cultural events would be of benefit to the school’s ethnic minority children.

  • Elizabeth reported on the other new community /inclusivity focused events:
    Old Coleridgeians event – to be organised by Lucy Davies (herself an old girl of the School).
  • The coffee mornings – [Elizabeth and Amanda will set dates for Spring term]

Marina then reported on Crouch End Swab for Life event on 17 January 2015. This event was being run with Team Margot and Delete Blood Cancer UK (DBCUK). Margot died recently at age 2 from leukaemia. Team Margot was focused on getting people registered as stem cell and bone marrow donors. This will be the first drive in her memory and would cover N8, N10, and N6 schools. It would involve promoting the idea in assemblies for the children as well. This was one area where ethnicity was the key and the more diverse ethnically the donors the better. DBCUK had an upper age limit of 55 for donors which would cover most of the parent demographic. We would need volunteers to take the swabs who will be trained by the charity. The process takes 5 mins and we are aiming for 1000 swabs. Part of the event will be fundraising for DBCUK as the swab process itself costs c.£40 per swab. We will have dedicated webpages and are hoping for much media attention given the amount Team Margot has had in the past. This is likely to be the first event where the CF new links with the PTAs of local schools will come into fruition as we can share the fundraising responsibilities. [Main contacts will be Marina, Shalini and Amanda and CF will send requests for volunteers on Facebook and CF website. Elizabeth would contact her PTA counterparts.]

  • Elizabeth also reported on the new fundraising focused events:
    The 100 club launch – Nathalie was continuing to work on this and would be discussing with Kit how best to organise payment options. The intention was to launch next term.
  • Race night – this had been a popular suggestion at the events refresh. It was an adult focussed evening event involving gambling on pre-recorded horse or greyhound races. [The Committee will consider this further at the next meeting]
  • Tickets4school – this is the cheap theatre ticket scheme where cheap tickets are available for West End Shows including a £5 donation to Coleridge Families for each ticket. The organisation was much improved from previous experience with this scheme with dedicated webpage. First productions available likely to include Made in Dagenham starring a Y3 parent. This prompted discussion of how to make theatre trips accessible to all children and in particular the less advantaged groups. If suitable productions were available then perhaps CF could fund? It would be like our previous funding of in-School work with theatre companies. The Park Theatre at Finsbury Park might be a suitable place for trips. This also prompted discussion of the pupil premium issue and its importance to the School in obtaining the funding which might be lost since the change to free school meals provision for Infants. [Elizabeth awaiting final details from Sita at Tickets4Schools and Pete will add the link to the CF website and it will be highlighted on Facebook page. Leon and the School to identify any theatre events they would like CF to fund.]

Recent events evaluation:

  • Autumn Dig – this was not particularly well attended although those who did come did useful work and enjoyed it. Some people felt there could have been more publicity. Others suggested that daytime gardening might be more popular. This had been tried a couple of times and again was not well attended. A call last term for volunteers for a gardening club had no responders. We will continue to explore options and advertise the Digs. [Fran forwarded details of a parent who was interested in after school gardening. She will be contacted and Elizabeth will talk to Mr Smith about viability for after school help from parents.]
  • Halloween Disco – this was a great success for Y5. Ticket queues again caused frustration thanks to torrential rain on first day of sales and lack of tickets for Y3 and 4. One option for next year would be to try a 3 disco format – Y3, Y4 and a joint Y5/6 disco. This would be put to next year’s Y5 Class Reps to review
  • Fireworks – This had been very successful with a lovely atmosphere, an excellent firework display, and very tasty food and hot bar. The venue itself was felt by many to be better than the Pavilion. Susie reported that the Fireworks Committee had found the autonomy useful. They would be doing a full wash up on the event and would report back on that. She and many of the Fireworks Committee were interested in doing the event again next year. There were a couple of areas for improvement for next year like additional lighting, more for 5s and under, and limited nos of people had seen the stilt walkers etc. There had been one noise complaint although this was a common occurrence in that area of Crouch End. Whilst it was the most expensive event of the year to put on, tickets sales themselves were substantial and went a long way to covering the expenses before any takings on food, drink or glow stuff. [NB final figures not yet available but last figures from Fireworks Committee as at 13/11 were expenses of c. £7,900, ticket sales c. £6,100, money taken on evening c. £5,700. There was also Greene & Co sponsorship of £2,000 (diverted from Summer Fair ) and parental sponsors of c. £750.] . The Fireworks Committee would continue to sell the frozen chilli and remaining glow merchandise. [Fireworks Committee to report back on final budget and conclusions of their review of the event.]

Upcoming events:

  • Winter bazaar
  • Advent fair – there was some discussion of this event and whether it needed a new format or separating out from the year group events. The current Y1 had been given carte blanche to do what they liked as the Advent Fair was one event which the events refresh thought could be replaced. The Y1s decided they wanted to keep it as an evening adult event and not for eg change it to a child friendly Saturday day event. There was discussion about whether this event could be run as a standalone committee. It obviously could but there was a question mark over whether this would be an event people would want to do year on year or whether like the Fair it was one which you would do and then want a couple of years off before doing it again. Views amongst parents differed widely on events – for eg some present actively wanted to do the Summer Fair so chose Y3 to rep, others hated it. Some had expertise on particular aspects of events eg the auction but whilst being happy to assist people in subsequent years to do those bits didn’t want to keep doing it year on year. Others felt the opposite. The idea of the auction being a separate live event before the Fair was mentioned. This could be considered by the Y3 reps. There was in the Committee’s view great value to the year reps running events including the big ticket events as part of their role. In any event next year’s Y1s wouldn’t be bound to run the Advent Fair in the same way and the event would be discussed afresh with and by them. The notes handed down from year to year were not intended to be prescriptive but a guide for those who did not want to reinvent the event for themselves.
  • carol singing – had been a suggestion that this was being abandoned but this isn’t the case. [Y3 reps will be responsible for hot chocolate provision on the day]
  • christmas parties

Funding requests: it was agreed that CF would fund the replenishment of the make up supplies for the School Play. Funds were also being raised direct from the Y6 parents for this exercise.

Any other business:

Helen raised the issue of how much information was available on CF and how it works and on what channels. Elizabeth said that the CF website and Facebook Group were increasingly going to be the main channels of comms to try and reduce the deluge of emails and texts which many parents disliked. Helen suggested a physical noticeboard and suggestion box for parents who preferred that kind of route.

On new parents, there had been 3 coffee mornings for the new Reception parents this year and all had had a flyer on CF explaining all the different ways that information was conveyed and ways to get involved. They had also had a talk as part of the new parents evening which happened in the June before their children started. This should improve the sense of not knowing what to do which some parents further up the school might have felt. There were updates to be made to the website which would also help this process. The continuing coffee mornings and other community events should also help people get to know more and have the opportunity to find out more about CF.

Nicole suggested a type of token to be given to every parent when they joined which obliged you to do something in the course of your time in the school for CF for eg be a class rep, or on the Committee, or an event committee etc. This had apparently worked well in other schools.

The way the structure of CF worked was also explained: all parents and staff are members, the

Committee ran the organisation, were responsible for the finances and were generally legally responsible for the organisation, and the officers were also the charity’s trustees. Under the Committee were the class reps as a group and at that same level would be any other event committee. Both the reps and any event committee would need to report in to the main Committee particularly on any finance/legal/insurance type matters. There was no limit on committee members, who could join at any time during the year.

Matters not discussed

As the meeting had overrun by some time and the School needed to close the following items on the agenda were not discussed: Sponsorship policy (other than to confirm that the version of the Governors/School policy circulated at the meeting was now in operation so all sponsorship external or parental must go via the Committee and Governors first). [Elizabeth will ask that the School/Governors put the policy on the School website.]. Social media and secretarial positions on the committee were also left till the next meeting.

The meeting closed at 10.15 pm.