What is AROPS
AROPS is open to representatives of all school alumni societies and provides a forum for the exchange of views and the sharing of experiences in running alumni organisations.
Members represent a wide range from small prep schools to the top UK public schools.
Stop Press: 2017 Conference at Prior Park College, Bath - Saturday 13 May
In response to enthusiasm at previous conferences we’re making a change to the format this year with the opportunity for each delegate to attend two discussion groups during the day. There will be just one presentation in the morning – Mark Coote of the Wells Cathedral School Foundation on “Working together: alumni societies and development professionals” – and then two sessions of discussion groups allowing you to benefit from advice and opinions on a wider range of topics including data protection, living archives, career support, social media and events. For complete coverage, why not invite one or more of your members/colleagues to attend and make their choice of two topics.
As usual, the dinner will be a convivial occasion held, this year, at Prior Park College in the beautiful Bath countryside. The aim is to finish by 9.30pm allowing time for train travel home if needed.
Great Malvern Conference 14 May 2016, Malvern St James Girls’ School
This year's Conference was a testament to the spirit of harmony created at the school by Malvern St James' Headmistress, Trish Woodhouse, and her team. At last year's Conference Trish spoke of the care needed when merging five schools into one. Great efforts had been made to welcome all present and past students and to celebrate the shared and separate identities of the merged schools. It was a pleasure to experience the atmosphere of Headmistress, Development Office and Old Girls’ Association working together with great co-operation and mutual respect to host an equally harmonious conference.
The Conference was opened by Bill Gillen, AROPS’ Chairman, who gave a round-up of the year’s events and thanked the AROPS Committee for their excellent work. Trish Woodhouse welcomed the representatives to the school then introduced Penny Smith, the OGA Vice-President, and Fiona Meredith, Alumnae Relations Officer for Malvern St James, who related the history of the school mergers and the efforts of both the OGA and the school to help the alumnae of each of the original schools to feel part of the combined Old Girls’ Association.
l to r: Jan Butler, Penny Smith and Fiona Meredith
In the first main session of the day Trish spoke of the current trends in secondary education and the battle to provide a rounded, broad-based curriculum in ‘the prevailing micromanaged tick box culture’. Trish stressed the importance of achieving high academic standards but in a happy environment where the mental well-being of students is paramount.
Charles Bagnall from the Conference sponsors, Advanced, led the second session on good practice in data management. He discussed the implications of the Etherington report and forthcoming legislation, while Jane Pendry and Michael Wright from Dragon School, spoke about practical changes to databases to ensure communications and data management conform to the highest expectations.
The three speakers also ran Discussion Group A in the afternoon sessions – How do you get the best out of your database provider, front end and online ticketing? This included advice on writing a brief for the database provider, implementing the database and making the best use of the data collected.
In Group B – Careers and University Mentoring – QD Seymour-Smith led discussions on careers guidance for students and the help that can be provided by the school’s alumni, and in Group C – How do you engage female alumnae? – Jill Dixon and Tracey Ahmet encouraged delegates to consider such topics as attracting girls back to a co-ed school that was previously all boys, suitable events and merchandise for women, and the difficulties of keeping in touch with alumnae if they change their surname when married.
Group D addressed the role of volunteers. Jan Butler chaired the session which looked at the changing role of volunteers, the challenge of working with paid professionals but outside their structure, the lack of people coming forward and the need for volunteering to be fun yet effective.
The Conference ended with the usual lively Questions and Answers forum, this year covering questions on databases, year group representatives, events for retired alumni and working with another alumni society when schools have merged.
In closing the Conference, Bill Gillen sadly announced his intention to stand down as Chairman after the next AGM and Andrew Day (AROPS’ Registrar) thanked Bill on behalf of the Association for his tremendous service to AROPS during his eight years as Chairman.
Melanie Goodhew, MSJ Events Organiser, and Bill Gillen
The delicious and convivial Conference dinner was held at The Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern where Gemma Bruce, an international property consultant, MSJ Governor and Old Girl of St James’s School, was the guest speaker.
The full Conference report is being sent out by post but please click on the links below for a pdf of the booklet and the full speeches, where available:
26 April 2017
Midlands Networking: Rugby School, Rugby
13 May 2017
AROPS Conference: Prior Park College, Bath
14 June 2017
London Area Networking: Eton College
22 June 2017
East Midlands Networking: Trent College, Nottingham
12 October 2017
AROPS AGM, Queen's Gate School, South Kensington, London
Regional meetings are also open to non-members