As a registered charity the main purpose of the Claires Court PTA is to support the educational activities of our pupils and staff.
The Claires Court Parent Teachers Association Main Board provides for the coordination and management of the various PTA sub groups that work on different sites and stages to support the school. The President, Vice Presidents, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Trustees are elected in the Lent Term at our Annual General Meeting, and meet as a main board with the Heads to review events, authorise expenditures and discuss future developments, both for the PTA and for the school more generally.
The PTA Main Board requires that the activities of the PTA include membership of the PTA UK, and through membership is provided with valuable advice, support and insurance to support their activities.
The current President and Chair of the Main Board is Mrs Phyllis Avery MBE, supported by Secretary, Rosemary Barker and Treasurer, Anne Halpin.
The Charity number for the Claires Court PTA is 1052993.
The Claires Court Foundation Fund
This is a pot of emergency funding for families associated with the School.
In 1990 the Knowles Fund was established through the generosity of a former parent of the School, Keith Knowles. The fund target of £5,000 was reached quite quickly, and monies from the fund were utilised to give temporary or one-off support to families facing tragedy or any emotional/financial situation which may arise through difficult circumstances. This covered items such as the urgent need for uniform or equipment, external counselling or educational support, and any other expense deemed appropriate to fund.
The PTA recognised the need to expand the size and availability of such a fund, and with other donations arising from occasional gifts and donations from suppliers, what is now known as the Foundation Fund has grown steadily to over £40,000, enhanced over the 2015-17 period by a further income stream for 3 years from Keith Knowles, in memory of his wife Franca, and this provides in the region of an additional £5,000 per annum.
When the Foundation Fund was established, it was agreed that the monies would remain intact until such time as the overall funds reached £50,000. Since then, many more needy cases have arisen, and it would seem appropriate to adapt to current needs and offer support to pupils or families with need from the existing total funds held.
It was, therefore, agreed following discussion at the Main Board Meeting of the PTA in April 2018, that the dispersal of funds would be overseen by the Trustees, with each case considered on an individual basis, with a cap put on the amount of funding agreed for any one application.
Meet the Trustees
Phyllis Avery MBE - President and Trustee
Phyllis has had a very long association with Claires Court from when it was a prep school. Her three sons – Robert, Richard and Rupert – attended Claires Court between the years 1973-1988. Phyllis was Vice President of the PTA and took on the role of President and Chair of the Main Board in 2008. Other roles Phyllis has held are:
Chair of Southern Council for Sport and Recreation 1992-1995
Member of Sport England 1996-1999
Vice President and then President of England Netball 2001-2008
President of Netball South – current
In the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Phyllis was awarded MBE for services to netball.
Rosemary Barker - Secretary and Trustee
Rosemary’s involvement with the School and PTA stretches back over 34 years with her two sons both being educated at Junior and Senior Boys and Matthew extending his studies through the then relatively new Sixth Form. She is a past Secretary and Chair of the PTA when it comprised of just one Committee (Junior and Senior Boys) and worked in the School for over 26 years. She is now retired but keeping busy with gardening and a range of crafts as well as some charity work plus of course, her 3 grandsons.
Vanessa shander-kelsey – Vice President and Trustee
Vanessa has previously been Chair of the Senior Boys Committee, her son Zac having been educated at Senior Boys. Her enthusiasm and work ethic are quite remarkable and as well as ensuring good support at all events, she also drove a number of successful new initiatives. As our most newly appointed Trustee, we have no doubt that she will make a great contribution to the PTA.
Sheila Hooker – Vice President and Trustee
Sheila joined the Claires Court family in August 1993 as School Secretary at Senior Boys. She found this the most enjoyable and rewarding time getting to know the boys, staff and many of their parents. Since leaving the School she has kept in touch with many colleagues and rarely misses a Speech Day. Sheila is now very happy to be involved with her two grandsons who have attended the Nursery, Holiday Club and now Junior Boys. A number of members of the staff there were pupils at the Senior Boys so the happy connection continues. Sheila is delighted to be a Trustee and hopes to be of practical use to the PTA.
Trevor Sharkey – Vice President and Trustee
Trevor taught History and English to Senior Boys from 1986 to 2007 and was the inaugural Head of Sixth Form from 1994 – 2007. He now works as Principal Examiner to the new A Level curriculum in History at Edexcel and is keen to contribute to the School in a positive way through his support of the PTA. Trevor’s son Michael was educated at Junior and Senior Boys from 1993 to 2001. He has also now joined the ranks of grandparents!