The Public Benefit Delivered by Solihull
The Governors attach great importance to providing financial assistance to individuals of ability who cannot afford the fees and also to the school’s relationship and involvement with the local community. Our wider charitable obligations are well recognised. Beside financial benefits, our facilities have been used throughout the year for public benefit by outside organisations, local maintained schools and the local community. The school values and promotes the ethos of service and staff and pupils alike are active members of the local community. Any consideration of the public benefit is related to our stated objectives.
The Governors have complied with the duty in Section 17 of the Charities Act 2011, to have due regard to public benefit guidance published by the Charity Commission.
Some of the detailed activities that contribute to the public benefit are shown below:
Grant Making Policy
This year the value of bursaries and scholarships made out of unrestricted funds totalled £1,125,060 (2019: £1,102,901). A further £82,524 was made out of restricted funds (2019: £51,501). Such financial assistance helps the school maintain its ethos, academic performance and achievements. The Governors’ policy, in line with that of other independent schools, is to make scholarship awards on a wide variety of abilities including academic, art, sport, music, theatre arts and design technology. Bursaries are advertised and are made to applicants on the basis of their financial circumstances. Such awards are means tested and reviewed annually. In 2020, bursaries awarded totalled £899,514 (2019: £808,852) and given to 125 pupils (2019: 115 pupils), which equates to 71 full fees or 6.1% of net fee income (2019: 62 full fees or 6.7% of net fee income).
Assistance to the Local Education Authority (LEA) and Local Maintained Schools
- The formal partnership with the Tile Cross Academy continues to grow and Solihull School has been part of joint applications for Erasmus and DfE funding. Whilst these bids have not been successful so far, the partnership has been invited to resubmit an application for a ‘world choir’ project via Erasmus. Many new collaborative ideas are in the pipeline but were unable to be fully realised due to Covid-19 shutdown in the second half of the year. The Modern Foreign Languages department did visit Tile Cross and took part in a languages exchange activity and planned a language project which is to involve the creation of a school visitor guide in up to 12 languages. Tentative steps to use the expertise of a Tile Cross teacher to teach gospel music to our Chapel Choir was also initiated as were talks for projects involving Birmingham City University.
- Pupils from Reynalds Cross School, Solihull, which caters for pupils with severe to profound multiple learning difficulties, have visited the school and used our art, sporting, computer science and music facilities. In addition, our pupils visit them to assist in a range of subject lessons and other projects whilst our grounds team have also helped run the gardening club at Reynalds Cross.
- As part of our outreach programme, the school arranges and hosts a variety of activities involving local maintained primary schools, including gifted and talented sessions on a variety of academic topics as well as providing sports coaching and tournaments.
- The school extended its Oxbridge preparation procedures to a range of local maintained schools. Potential candidates participate in interview practice sessions and specific application preparation seminars.
- The school hosts and chairs the Local Independent Schools Safeguarding Board which reports into the Local Children’s Safeguarding Partnership
- Our Music department visits local maintained primary schools to give vocal coaching via Solihull Sings and puts on concerts for these schools in our performing arts centre.
- Our Art Department regularly hosts staff, pupils, and displays exhibits from, many local maintained primary schools and this year, hosted the Springfield Special School Christmas art workshop. They also provided advice and exemplar materials for maintained sector school A-Level photography students.
- Our Classics Department has visited local maintained primary schools promoting the study of Latin and Greek, whilst also playing active roles in the Birmingham Classics Association and the Association for Latin Teachers.
- Our Science Department has hosted CLEAPPS Health and Safety training for many local school science technicians whilst the Physics Department ran a new initiative “FaceTime a Physicist” for local primary schools.
- Our English Society events are also attended by local maintained sector school pupils.
- Our Languages Department host local maintained primary schools to the European Day of Languages, promoting the use and study of a range of European languages.
- Our Sports Department host a range of training events for individual clubs and schools.
- Our Community Service Enrichment programme provides students to help with reading and literacy in local primary schools.
- Donations are made to St Alphege Infant and Junior Schools, Solihull, and Sharman’s Cross Junior School, Solihull to assist in the provision of facilities for education.
- Equipment and text books no longer required by the school are donated to local schools and organisations.
University & Academic Links
- The school is a member of the King Edward’s Consortium for teacher training, providing low cost training for unqualified teachers considering a career in the profession.
- Members of our teaching staff are members of national and regional educational and examination committees.
- The school has hosted Birmingham and South Warwickshire Patoss (Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties) training events.
- The school has hosted training events for the South Solihull Sport Partnership and the Mindfulness in Schools Project.
The Local Community
- This year saw the creation of the first community outreach ambassador group, where pupils applied and were selected to help run and plan charity events. The group also helped publicise community links across the school community.
- In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the school produced many PPE items using the school’s laser printer and other facilities with the Design and Technology Department. In addition, through the #NHSStaffRock campaign, NHS staff received “goodie bag” donations during the peak of the first lockdown. Further donations were made to local foodbanks. As a result of these initiatives, the school was nominated for a University Hospital Birmingham Building Healthier Lives Award.
- The Solihull Youth Musicians Support Association, the Midlands Early Music Forum, Solihull Choral Society, the St Alphege Church Choir and the Solihull Symphony Orchestra are amongst organisations that use our performing arts centre and music school as their rehearsal and performance venue.
- Our performing arts centre, chapel and other facilities are made available to local societies including charities at generous concessional rates.
- Our extensive car parking facilities are made available to local churches, charities and societies when requested.
- The school as a whole is involved in a wide range of local and more widespread charity fundraising not only to benefit the community but to develop social responsibility of those engaged in such work. Funds raised during the Junior School Charity Week meant that the school was able to co-fund a new minibus for a primary school in Ghana, Over £20,000 was raised for international, national and local charities through the year. The school also sends text books, laboratory and other equipment, including glasses and shoes, to various countries in Asia, Africa and South America. When travel is allowed, staff and pupils volunteer abroad every year, supporting educational and other development projects.
- We help the Solihull Care NHS Trust with their scheme to support adults with learning difficulties into employment opportunities.
- We have a full programme of community service particularly working with the elderly, the local Marie Curie Hospice and other organisations such as Solihull Life Opportunities, Air Ambulance charity shops and the Solihull Volunteers Forum.
- We are the venue for many Solihull sporting activities. Borough, District and County squads train and play fixtures on our pitches and in our sports hall whilst the swimming pool is used by local swimming clubs. Many of these activities are helped by our staff who fulfil a wide range of roles within regional sport.
- The School Chaplain is involved with many church and charity activities around Birmingham, including work in hospices, food banks and urban priority charities.
- The school hosted the multi-media play “And then they came for me” and The Promise exhibition, followed by a Q&A session with Holocaust survivor, Eva Schloss. The performance was made available without charge to 14 schools from across the Midlands.
- The school are recipients of a community action award from the charity, Remembering Srebrenica, and continue to work with the charity to promote information regarding genocide.
- We have provided art and photographic exhibits to local offices and community centres and provide judging and exhibition space to local societies.
- The local police force uses our facilities for dog training.
- Our minibuses are used on occasion by local community groups and clubs for transport to events.
- Donations are made to the Parish Church of St Alphege, Solihull and the Salter Street and Shirley Team Ministry, Shirley for the advancement of religion.