Friends give Marlwood School a £12,500 boost
A GROUP set up to help Marlwood School after it was placed into special measures has raised £12,500 in its second year of work.
The Marlwood School Friends Association, known as FOMS, was set up two years ago this month. The school was in crisis after years of funding cuts and falling pupil numbers were followed by an 'inadequate' rating from regulator Ofsted.
FOMS now has 1,500 members and has excelled in providing equipment and making improvements to the school, using everything from grant applications and fundraising events to an Amazon wish list.
In the past 12 months the committee has applied for and was successfully awarded four substantial grants.
The first, £1,000 from the Armourers and Brasiers Company, paid for science equipment, a Van der Graaf generator and accessories, a visualiser, power packs, and a ripple tank.
The second, £1,200 from the local firm Cox Automotive, went on equipment for design and art, English, maths, science and music lessons. It included two Chromebook computers, a dressmaker's mannequin, sketchbooks, SD cards for photography, paintbrushes, wool, a guitar and amp, and microphones and cables.
Olveston Parish Council gave FOMS £1,000 to buy two commercial refrigerators for the school's food technology rooms.
The final grant came after FOMS won a local vote for supermarket Tesco's Bags of Help scheme, which paid for almost £4,000 of gymnastics equipment.
Early on, the friends started an Amazon wish list, and people wanting to support the school have used it to buy all kinds of basic items including stationery, art supplies and dictionaries. An upcycling scheme has seen donations of equipment made direct from the community, among them musical instruments, a piano, office chairs, memory sticks and cameras.
FOMS also spent money on the school's outdoor areas, to make the school a place for both pupils and staff could be proud of. The group organised six days of gardening, with 20 volunteers turning up to help for each one. Almondsbury Tree Surgeons provided mulch which they spread on the beds to keep the weeds at bay. They planted 1,000 daffodil bulbs and developed a garden plan to help manage all the jobs across the site. The pond area in the science block was renovated and is now back in use. Ahead of the all-important open evening in September, the whole site had a tidy up.
The final fundraising event of the year was the group's Christmas fair on December 19 – but the FOMS committee is already planning another year of quizzes, concerts and fairs in 2020, with the spring highlight of the group's fundraising calendar, Marlwood’s Got Talent, due to be held on March 13.
Castle School Education Trust chief executive Will Roberts praised the friends group.
He said: "We are enormously grateful to the Friends groups for their huge contributions to The Castle and Marlwood schools. The commitment of parents and the wider community to supporting the schools is greatly appreciated by our staff, and the contributions they have made over the past year have made a tangible difference to the experiences we can provide for our students."
Updates and appeals are posted on the Friends of Marlwood School Facebook page.