The Association of Friends held their AGM on Monday night and would like to thank all parents who were able to join via Zoom. The School and The Friends would like to record their gratitude to our outgoing Chair, Mr Andrew Hodges. Andrew has led The Friends for the last 2 years and successfully introduced a family Activity Weekend as a new annual event in the Blue Coat calendar as well as showing unstinting support at every event. A copy of Andrew’s AGM report can be found below.

We welcomed Mrs Elizabeth Lawson-Bennett as the Chair for 2020. We caught up with her to find out more…

How long have you been a Blue Coat parent?
Our family first joined The Blue Coat School in 2014 when our daughter, Victoria, joined in Year 3. Our son, James, joined the former Buttons Nursery in 2015 when he was 2 years old and is currently in Year 3. Victoria has since graduated as part of the class of 2018 and currently attends King Edward’s VI High for Girls. She has fond memories of her time at BCS as a St. Margaret’s Girl and is always keen to know about all the new developments at the school.

Joining the Blue Coat was undoubtedly one of the best decisions George, my husband, and I have made for our family and our children. Victoria and James have blossomed as individuals whilst at BCS. We have always felt strongly that our children’s happiness and success, in all aspects of their lives, were/are protected and nourished. It really is a school where children do indeed – ‘Grow in Grace’.

What has your involvement with The Friends been so far?
I have always been keen to support and be part of the BCS school community and signed up to volunteer at a Friends event as soon as our children joined the school. In September 2017 I expressed an interest in taking on the role of Committee Secretary and carried out the role for 2 years before transitioning into the Vice-Chair position in 2019.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with The Friends over the last 3 years. All the parents, teachers and staff that make up the Committee have shown tireless dedication to helping to build a strong school community and to organising events which bring the BCS family together.

I have attended every Summer Fayre, Fireworks Extravaganza and Christmas Fayre event since September 2014 as a volunteer and more recently as an organiser. Every year I am amazed by the generosity of the Friends Committee members and the parent, teacher and staff volunteers. Everyone works together to put on such wonderful events for BCS children, their families and for the Alumni. I now feel quite honoured to have been appointed to the role of Chairperson of the Association of Friends and hope to continue and build on the work of the Committee in the coming years.

What is your vision for The Friends going forward?
We are very fortunate at our school to have a Friends Association which has been an integral part of the school community for many years. The Friends have raised many thousands of pounds, which have been invested in equipment and resources to enhance our children’s educational experience and the school’s facilities – we like to think of it as providing the ‘Cherry on Top’.

All families are automatically members of the Friends Association when their child joins the School. Therefore, all parents and members of the school community are encouraged to get involved, even if they only have a small amount of time available.

The Friends are about much more than simply a fundraising committee, we exist to help provide closer links between home and school. Participating in Friends activities is an excellent way to bring staff, parents and friends together socially in support of the school, working towards a common goal.

This year is a slightly different year for the Friends as many of our much loved events – Summer Fayre, Firework Extravaganza, Carols and Fizz and Christmas Fayre have all had to be cancelled. Rest assured that this won’t stop the work of the Friends Committee. We will continue to work together with the school to provide those ‘Cherry on Top’ experiences for the Blue Coat community. We are committed to helping to make our school environment feel as normal as possible for all BCS children during these strange times that we find ourselves in.

How can new volunteers get involved?
During this year we would welcome ideas from the school community, parents, teachers and staff about small, but impactful ways that we can give to the children, the parent body and the School during what we are calling – ‘The Friends Year of Giving’. If you’d like to share your ideas, please do get in contact via email thefriends@thebluecoatschool.com