Chairman's Message

Chairman’s Report 2015/16


This has been my 1st year as Chair of the Derby Grammar School PTA. Having spent 3 years as a very active Deputy, stepping into the role of Chair has, so far, been met with not too many obstacles and I continue to enjoy my involvement with the PTA and the special friendships and relationships we have as a group.  Our fundraising activities have provided facilities and equipment which support the school, and advance the education of its pupils, our children.  I am very thankful of the relationship we have with the Headmaster Mr Paine, Bursar, Mr Hilliam, Mrs Bramall, Mrs Sly the Head of Junior School,  and all the school’s staff without whose support the PTA would not be able to achieve what we have.


2015/16 was the schools anniversary year which reminded me how old I am having attended the opening all those years ago with Michael.  What better way to celebrate the anniversary and to kick off fundraising efforts than to commit to raising funds for a new school mini-bus.


So, let me take you on a journey which saw us raise an incredible circa £14,000 last year :

At the start of the school year Ian presented our recognition award to Rosie Dixon and Evelyn Bielby during speech night. This was a very proud night for them both with their youngest sons leaving the school this year. Both Rosie and Evelyn were involved in the PTA for the majority of their boys time at DGS, this award was richly deserved.


The cross country event was also successful for the PTA with the sale of soft drinks and danish pastries proving profitable. There were teething problems with the use of external caterers for bacon sandwiches and hot drinks at this event and valuable lessons learnt. 


During the autumn term we held our regular fireworks night which again proved to be extremely successful.  A damp November night with a forecast of rain ahead didin’t dampen our spark, with the attendance being the best we have ever had. It was great to see so many parents, pupils and staff, together with people from the local community and beyond.  Our firework night is fast becoming the must attend event of the year and with the cancellation of Markeaton this year we braced ourselves for another bumper year last week.  A staggering £3,400 was raised last year and as you know we smashed through that this year – Mr T will go through finer details later.   I would like to thank everyone who helped with this event.  But, a special thanks to the Firework team on the night last year – Andy Read, Charles Dunning, Mr Whitworth, Miles Butterworth and Rav Dosanjh.  Most of whom donned their hi-vis PPE again this year (any excuse to wear yellow!)

Some highlights of the year are providing PTA bars for the Charity fund raising night and the School Plays through November and December when we get one of the best seats in the house to watch your very talented children.  Some great performances.


During the spring term we organised our regular Jazz Night featuring the Hot House Band.  We again joined together with the Tanzania team who provided a very tasty curry.  The school hall was packed and we had a fantastic evening which showcased the incredibly talented young musicians. The PTA took the profit from the bar that evening but gave a donation to the Tanzania Team who all worked very hard to make this a wonderful evening and they raised a considerable amount of money for the project. 


In March we held our fourth annual Food Fayre in conjunction with a school open day. We were once again able to build on the success of the previous three years and we have achieved our goal of creating what I believe will continue to be a regular major fundraising event for the PTA. We were again able to fill the hall with local food related vendors with the food demonstrations from local chef Chris Parry proving very popular again. More was spent on marketing this year, resulting in the overall profit being slightly lower than previous years, but attendance was higher throughout the day.  Now, as a group we need to consider how we can increase the profit on the day, moving forward.

The combination of open day and PTA event worked very well drawing people in to see what the school has to offer.  The introduction of the junior school performances throughout the day combined with live music in the quad, helped keep people at the school for longer and enabled them to experience more of Derby Grammar School Life.

We did again learn lessons and I am sure that the Food Fayre will be an even more successful next year.   Events like this grow with people returning each year to see what we have on offer and I would encourage current members of the committee to continue to build on what we have achieved.  Thank you to all that contributed on the day.


In the summer term we held our annual fete. Whilst the weather wasn’t in our favour, we still managed to raise £1,400, a great achievement once again.  We built on the success of the previous year but again learnt from our mistakes we cut down on our outgoings which meant that we were able to increase the profit that we made. We hosted a Segway attraction this year from Go-Ape, which for a very small contribution to their charity worked very well as an added attraction for not much money.  Obviously my highlight would have to be soaking Mr Hilliam in the stocks.  Sorry Paul!  Now my George is in the seniors I’ll have to curb my ways.  I would like to thank everyone who volunteered to help with this event, not only PTA members but members of staff, parents and pupils whose stalls raised such a lot of money. Lessons Learnt ? Start praying earlier for good weather !  Again, thank you to everyone who helped at this event.


What better way to celebrate our anniversary than with a Summer Ball.  With special thanks to Michaela and Andrew Gentles for putting on an incredible show, the ball was hugely popular from the moment the tickets went on sale and well received by all.  I’ve never seen the hall looking so beautiful.  It’s probably widely under-estimated the amount of work that went on behind the scenes to put on an event like this, with meetings taking place between the Ball sub commiee (the 3 of us !) months in advance.  The school entrance was adorned by Aston Martins, thanks to Tim Wilson, Chair of Governors and our very own James Bonds (the Dad’s of the school) looked stunning in their black ties.  Great food, music and company was had by all with requests of when’s the next ball being shouted at Michaela and I on the turning circle…… watch this space.  A whopping £7k was raised, which is certainy not to be sniffed at through ticket sales, raffle and auction prizes…….  Who knew how much Mr T needed a life size signed T-shirt of Didier Drogba !?!


We continue to use and develop our website which enhances the way in which we have been able to promote our fund raising events, improve our profile and build closer contacts with parents. I would like to thank Geraint Bowcott for his work updating and maintaining the site. Sadly Geraint will be leaving this post as his son progresses through his final years at DGS, so we’ll be on the look out for someone to take this post on.  We would also like to thank Hayley Lowndes the schools (now ex) marketing officer for her assistance especially in the field of social media.


In addition to everything else, PTA members attended the school Open Days to speak to prospective parents, attended induction meetings, held regular second hand uniform sales, provided bar and refreshment facilities at numerous school events such as the Junior School Play  and Arts Evening. We have also raised a considerable amount of money through the bags2school initiative. We have also continued to build a relationship with the Old Derbians Society, and it is pleasing to see that our events are now regularly advertised on their website.


In addition to the regular events that are planned we should also continue to support the Easy Fundraising initiative details of which are included on our website.


I would like to thank the committee, Michaela for her enthusiasm, support and friendship and Michael for his important and often unseen work on the financial side, preparing of accounts, floats and the hours required counting change after the fireworks night and summer fete. Special thanks must go to Sarah and the 2nd hand uniform team for their hard work with the second hand uniform sales. The second hand uniform sales are often the first chance that we have to interact with new parents, and personally I believe that they are really important in informing people of what we, the PTA do.


Thanks must also go to Paul Hilliam for his continued support and his role as the vital link between our committee and the school.


Can I also thank Robbie Paton, 6th form PTA representative,  whose role in increasing the awareness of the pupils with regard to the work that the PTA  do through the school council is most important.  Also thanks to the school reception staff for their continued and invaluable support.


Once again I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the PTA this year. Their drive and dedication has been incredible.  We must continue to encourage new and different members to join in, who may bring new ideas and skills to the table, and work on the lessons that we have learned to ensure that we continue to raise money for the benefit of the children at this wonderful school.


Our PTA goes from strength to strength with new faces pitching in to help at every event. As I've said before, even if you can't come to PTA meetings, help on the day of events is invaluable. A big pat on the back to you all. Thank you!!


Caroline Euston - Chair Derby Grammar PTA.