Our Lady Immaculate Friends Association

All parents and guardians of children at OLI School are welcome members of the Friends Association (our ‘PTA’).The friends Association gives everyone the opportunity to have a positive and lasting impact on school life at OLI.
We gather to help raise money for vital facilities and equipment, as well as the special extras that make teaching and learning even more enjoyable within the school. By having a child at the school, you are automatically a Friend, from the time your first child enters reception until your youngest leaves several years later at the end of year 6.
All input, whether turning up to support an event, giving a few hours or even running a whole event, is valued and gratefully accepted.  The Friends are not exclusively parents – anyone who participates in fund raising, such as grandparents and family friends, is considered a Friend.

Our Purpose and Objectives

There are several: to raise money profitably; for the benefit of the education of all children in the school; to raise money for other charities; to work cooperatively as a team of parents, guardians, teachers and donating suppliers; and…. Most importantly……To have fun in doing so!

Get Involved

There are many ways you can get involved with the work of the Friends Association; you don’t have to be able to commit to everything to be involved.  Just what you can do.
Attend committee meetings. These are roughly twice a term and take place either in the evening or the afternoon during the school day.

Read the School and Friends Association newsletters for up to date information on upcoming events.
Talk to us. You can speak to any of the committee in the playground, or send an email, to find out what help is needed.  We’ll work with whatever time you can spare, whether a small job at home in your own time or coming into school to help prepare for an event.
Anyone can help!  No specific skills are needed, just a willingness to work with others to contribute to the fundraising for the school.

The Committee

We have a Committee to steer the association and coordinate the fundraising events and activities.

The committee for this school year (2023/24) is:
Chairperson – Karen Charles-Foster – Mum of Elijah Year 4 and 3 year old Ezra
Vice Chairperson – Carly Ward – Mum of Hugo Year 2
Treasurer – Susan Clow – Mum of Joseph in Year 5 and Jocelyn in Year 3
Secretary – Pepita Baglin – Mum of Hartley in Year 4 and Kingsley in Year 2

Additional roles in the team; gift purchasing coordinator, Mother’s/Father’s Day coordinator, external fundraising and sponsorship, Christmas Merchandise, general event organiser.

At the beginning of each academic year we hold our Annual General Meeting, where the new Committee is elected.  Any parent/guardian can put themselves forward for a position on the committee, but it would be a good idea to get involved in some way before the next AGM so you get a good idea of what’s involved.

For further information regarding the Friends Association, please contact Heather Wren by email: friends@ourladyimmaculate.essex.sch.uk

A positive and lasting impact on OLI School

The money raised has contributed greatly to school life, including IT funding every year, provision of playground markings, outdoor classroom, and new books for a reading programme, indoor & outdoor play equipment, maths software, iPad, laptops, camcorder, picnic benches for the playground, and contributions to the cost of school trips.

A positive impact on you and your children

Studies have shown that being actively involved in your children’s school can have a very positive impact on them and on their perception of you.  The PTA UK is a national organisation to support groups like our Friends Association.  Their website quotes from a 2008 study which found that “the effect of parental engagement over a student’s school career is equivalent to adding two or three years to that student’s education”. (John Hattie’s seminal 2008 study)

If you have taken a career break to care for your children in their early years, than participation in an organisation such as the Friends Association can be a great addition to your CV, once you decide to return to work.

OLI Friends Association – A History

OLI Friends Association has been going for about 30 years and has been a registered charity since 1990. During this time over £300,000 has been raised. The Friends have a tremendous track record in raising money from a wide variety of inventive and imaginative events. Every year several events/initiatives are held or organised involving parents, teachers, and children.

We are a registered Charity

This charitable status enables us to make the funds raised as efficient as possible, so that they are all for the benefit of the school.  We can collect money from all sources within the law in pursuant of our aims to help the education of our children.  We are also able to claim gift aid when appropriate.

In general, all charities must operate within the constraints of charity law. Charities must have, and carry out, wholly charitable purposes and activities.  They are organisations set up for the benefit of the community and they enjoy some tax advantages from the government especially when people make gift aid donations.

Need more convincing?

Who wants to join our school PTA?

What is it for? You say, backing away.
The short answer is fundraising, pennies and pounds
The school’s tight stretched budget can’t always go round.
We buy extra resources, for learning and play,
To enrich and enhance our children’s school day.

Who wants to join our school PTA?
What do you do? You gingerly say,
Well, we run family discos, Christmas Fair, Summer Fete.
Cake sales, charity events, we’ve a lot on our plate!
We serve hot drinks and cold at many school events,
On baking cakes and biscuits much time is spent.

Who wants to join our school PTA?
Is it all mother’s meetings? You nervously say.
It is true that we chatter at the school gate,
Lots of business gets sorted around half past eight.
But we really are a very mixed bunch,
Business people, busy Mums and ladies that lunch (we wish!)
You do not have to be female to be part of the team…

Who wants to join our school PTA?
I’ve heard it’s quite cliquey, as a last ditch you say.
No, not in the slightest, we welcome everyone,
There is a lovely team spirit, it’s hard work but fun.
Between staff and the parents, we strengthen the link.
Are you interested? Will you join us? What do you think?

So, who wants to join our school PTA?
I just do not have the time!  You finally say.
We know lives are busy and there is sometimes lots do
But ALL help is valued, even an occasional hour or two.
If you are convinced, or just curious about what we do each year,
Come along to the meetings there is more to see and hear.

(this poem is shared – with a few tweaks! –  with thanks to members of other PTAs on facebook)

 If you have any further questions as to how the Association is run, how decisions are made etc. please speak to one of the committee at school, or send us an email.


We look forward to hearing from you.

 Heather Wren and the OLI Friends Association Committee