Posted on: 14/09/2018 Friends of Hampton High Hello, I’m Claire Wadham. I am delighted to be appointed Chair of the Friends of Hampton High at such an exciting time for the school. Thanks to the hard work of the staff, governors, students and PTA, its profile is increasing and parents like me can contribute so much to keeping up that momentum. It’s a good time to be a part of it.
My son is in Year 8 and my daughter in Year 6 can’t wait to start next year. We are very committed as a family to local schooling, with no compromise on the quality of education. So after a fantastic start to their education at Hampton Infants (where I also work) and at Hampton Juniors, Hampton High became part of our family last year, and we became part of Hampton High.
I first came across the Friends of Hampton High when we came to a school Open Evening and I was served tea and had a lovely reassuring chat with a Year 7 mum. Then one of my ‘mum friends’ from my daughter’s Year 4 class, with a daughter in Year 7 at the time, asked me to make up a team for the annual Hampton High Quiz night. It was great fun and I knew we had made the right choice of school for my son as we felt so welcome and the atmosphere was very relaxed and familiar. Since then I have enjoyed another Quiz night (possibly rather too much!), had a great time at the Race Night, helped to run a stall at a Christmas fair, sold Christmas trees, served tea and coffee at a welcome event for this year’s new Year 7s, helped children to paint stones on a stall at a community fair, and been to FOHH committee meetings. Whatever I’ve been doing, whether it’s been relaxing and enjoying a drink with other parents at social events, or discussing ideas at the committee meetings, the warmth and welcome from the Friends has been the same.
I have been class rep at my children’s primary schools for several years and was a volunteering member of two fantastic PTA organisations. When your child starts at school, that parental involvement tells your child that you are committed to their school, it boosts their attitude to learning knowing that their family are engaged with their place of education. We make good friends in the playground and at school events and we have good relationships with the school community. Being part of a PTA is fun, and it’s great to feel the buzz they create.
But I’ve noticed that once our children enter secondary school, parent involvement seems to wane. We may not need to dress them for World book Day any longer, or collect our yoghurt pots for junk modelling, but Secondary schools really need parents too, to help bridge them into their local community, to provide helpful feedback, to take an interest in their children’s education, and, crucially now with increased cuts, to help raise funds.
We have had the benefit of a small but busy PTA committee and the Friends of Hampton High have worked so hard to get us the profile and levels of fundraising we have now. We are very grateful to our outgoing Chair Joan Farrell, who has left us with great fundraising activities and an exciting social calendar planned. Many of this dedicated group of parents are moving on as their children are grown and leaving the school. So as incoming Chair, my first challenge is to replace that talent and contribution with new and existing parents and ensure the Friends organisation goes from strength to strength.
I have been involved with many committed and skilled parents with fantastic ideas at Primary school. Hampton High needs that same energy and commitment to support and back the school. It needn’t take long, you won’t get stuck with everything. We all work together. You can lend us your brains, your creativity or your brawn, it can be the challenge of planning a whole project, leading, volunteering at a school event, lifting or carrying, or it can be turning up to do an hour’s stint on a stall. Do you have experience or contacts in admin, design and print, event organising, catering, building, or media that you could share with us? We need as many of you as possible, as much or as little as you can give.
Please get in touch if you would like to join me and the rest of the Friends to support our school, in any way you can.
I wish the staff, students and families of Hampton High a fantastic year ahead.