Play Your Part–Frequently Asked Questions

What is Play Your Part raising money for? The Project Overview

There is something for every single student at the School in the exciting new projects planned this year. By September 2015, Tonbridge Grammar School is going to look like a very different place with a brand new state of the art Sixth Form Study Centre at the heart of the School. In the original school building Art, Music and performance facilities will be significantly enhanced. A lift will provide access to both floors of the old building and the parking provision is to be increased, which will make life easier for parents and, importantly, our neighbours, for out of school hours events. 

The money raised will also be used to fund the long planned multi-purpose, floodlit all-weather pitch which is vital for sport and the health and wellbeing of TGS students. 

All of these projects have been formally identified as priorities by staff, governors, parents and students. They have been ranked equally, in response to the importance that the whole school community has placed upon them. 

How much does the Play Your Part campaign need to raise? 

The cost of all the projects together is 3.5 million pounds. At the public launch of the campaign in September 2014, we were already well over half way to achieving that total, with £2.2m awarded from Academies Capital Maintenance Fund. That means the target for the Play Your Part campaign is 1.3 million.

Of this target, we have generous donations and pledges of £108k as well as a matched gift of £100,000 that a private individual, with no direct link to the school has promised once we have raised the same amount ourselves. This person believes in the ethos of the School and wants to help provide the facilities that will allow its students achieve their full potential.

Play Your Part will run to the end of August 2015, but logistics mean that the amount of money we have raised by the end of February will dictate how thorough we can be with the refurbishment of Music and Art in the original school building and how soon we can make plans for the all-weather pitch. In order for the improved Music and Art areas to be ready for the start of the academic year in September 2015, Governors will need to commit to the extent of spending in early March.

Why doesn’t the Academy Capital Maintenance Fund the whole project?

As an Academy, TGS receives its budget for the basic costs of education delivery direct from the DfE and we must apply to a department within the DfE for funds to maintain and improve the facilities. Both funding sources are highly restricted – both award on the basis of urgent need and numbers of students. In the case of education delivery, the most recent challenge to TGS is the loss of sixth form budget – the premium for sixth form students worth about £500 per student per annum is being phased out - The approximate grant per student per annum across all year groups is £4500.

Rather than distributing maintenance and capital funds to all schools, the DfE puts the onus on the applicant to prove the need for the funds for a particular project, based on two key criteria – urgent maintenance or expansion of high performing schools. With funds becoming more scarce each year, the application process is highly competitive. For TGS to be awarded a sum that is four times higher than the average award and the source itself more than four times over-subscribed is a huge endorsement for our projects. 
But it also needs to be borne in mind that there are types of facilities that the academy pot will not consider for funding – dining, and sport and recreation. So this is one reason why the capital award is not funding the whole project. An additional reason is that the award does not pay for items associated local planning conditions – the cost of the additional parking is not covered by the Academy award.

Aren’t there any other sources of funding? What about educational funds and trusts, or persuading businesses to fund this sort of thing as part of Corporate Social Responsibility?

As we all know, government funding is being tightened and the School provides the most outstanding education link to Top State School and Top IB award it can on a state grant of only £4,500 per student, per year. If we want to offer the students the opportunities we think they deserve, money must be found from elsewhere.

We have been successful in applying for grants in the past. We regularly make successful applications for modest sums to help support the provision of enrichment projects. We are especially grateful to The Wolfson Foundation for matching our School Fund donations to refurbish Science Laboratories in 2012.

However, as you can imagine the awards such trusts make are highly sought after and so very competitive, particularly when large amounts are under consideration. The School will continue to apply for those which it feels, through experience, it has a chance of receiving.

One team within the Play Your Part campaign is specifically working with businesses to see if they would be prepared to contribute or sponsor certain elements of the projects. If you would like to be a part of this team, or if you have information from a particular company that you feel may be of use, please get in touch email

The fundraising target of £1.3m is a lot of money.

It is, especially in this economic climate. And that’s exactly why we’ve called the campaign Play Your Part (a) because we want everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in winning the campaign and (b) because we know that we have the best chance of succeeding if everyone is involved – that means students, their families, staff, governors, alumni and others are all being asked to play their part. By harnessing the enthusiasm, energy and commitment of the whole school community and others outside, we believe we will be successful. 

So, how does Play Your Part work? 

Play Your Part is an invitation to parents, students, staff and friends of the school (both past and present) to get involved in whatever way is most appropriate in order to help raise the money for the Sixth Form, Music, Art and Sports projects. 

It may be that you’re in a position to be able to give a substantial sum to the campaign. If so, thank you – by doing so, you will help make the crucial difference to every single student in the School now and for decades to come. If you would like to make a gift, please contact Pippa Blackstone, .
It may be that you are in a position to give some time. If you’ve given a gift yourself because you believe, like us, that students at TGS deserve to have the chance to fulfil their huge potential, perhaps you’d like to be a part of the team which is encouraging others to follow your lead and join you in making that difference. 

You may feel it is more appropriate for you to join in by getting together with others, taking ownership of an event and making it happen. A number of events and initiatives are already being planned and these need both energy and expertise. Tell us where you would make the most impact with your skills, interests and passions. Some people are making things to sell, some are organising events and others are using Play Your Part as an opportunity to complete a sponsored personal challenge. 

Please get in touch with Pippa Blackstone. Please tell us what you would like to in whichever way is most appropriate to you: 01732 365125 x221

Why are you asking parents and carers and alumni for money?

There are two reasons for this: firstly we have to – All external sources of funds, DfE, trusts and foundations, major donors – expect the School to demonstrate its ability to finance the projects without additional support. This enables them to spread their generosity across a wider field of deserving cases. At TGS, every single penny from curriculum grants is directed to the delivery of education – the maintenance allocation is minimal. Capital fundraising is essential to maintain, improve and prepare for educational needs of the future.

The second reason is that our past and current parents and students have already told us that they recognise the phenomenal educational experience and opportunities offer to all students - they want to help.

Parents with children at TGS are one of the most important elements of the School community. Their children are the ones who will gain immediately and dramatically from the range of projects this money will fulfil. Through consultation, parents have been an important part of identifying the priorities for the Building Development Plan of the school in recent years – the Governors and Senior Leadership Team have listened and are working to realise these priorities. 

During the School’s previous capital fundraising programme, a Gift for Learning, in 2007-8, the then parents and alumni raised £850,000 to build the Hands Building which current students use each and every day – without their philanthropy, today’s students might still have been in the grim selection of cold, leaky and run down post-war huts that the Hands Building replaced. 
Previous parents helped today’s students. Our belief is that in the same way, the vast majority of today’s parents would like to help not only their own children and their children’s friends, but all of those students who choose TGS for the next 50 years or so – in whichever way is most appropriate for them. 

A number of parents with offspring who are moving towards the end of their School career at TGS have made generous donations as a mark of thanks and as part of a legacy to those who will follow.

I already give to the TGS School Fund. Can’t you use the money from that?

First of all, thank you for already contributing to enhancing the education and experience of students at TGS, through the School Fund. The monthly and annual giving programmes pay for opportunities for all students and thanks to your generosity, modest improvements to facilities can be undertaken. For example, science laboratories in 2012, The Mitchener Hall’s facelift in 2014. This year, the School Fund has purchased a second minibus. Head Teacher Rosemary Joyce and the Governors are considering an allocation from School Fund to the campaign.

How much should I give? And is it possible to stagger my gift?

This is a very personal decision and personal circumstances are different. Please click here to see the campaign Scale of Giving chart that may guide your decision making. We invite and encourage you to talk to us about how you might maximise the gift to the School through Gift Aid and other advantageous HMRC schemes – via payroll giving, a legacy programme – click here to website pages 

All gifts of whatever size and method are gratefully received. All gifts whether as one time, or given over a planned period of time, all help the campaign to succeed. 

The Scale of Giving chart shows only thousands of pounds. I’d like to contribute financially, but I don’t have that sort of money. 

Thank you for considering a gift to Play Your Part. The Scale of Giving is denominated in thousands of pounds just to demonstrate in board terms how the target may be reached. It is based on prior experience and during the Gift for Learning campaign there were several figures donated from near the top of the scale, others from the middle and lower parts and others well beneath the scale. Every single penny and pound given to the Play Your Part Campaign will be received with huge gratitude and every amount donated will bring the school closer to accomplishing its aims. All donations are confidential to the Development office. 

Does the Inland Revenue’s Gift Aid scheme apply to my donation? 

Yes it does if you pay UK income tax and it’s vitally important to maximise the gifts made to Play Your Part. 
For example, a gift of say £5000 costs a UK income tax payer £4000 or less with Gift Aid. A basic rate tax payer parts with £4000 and the School claims a Gift Aid rebate of £1000; therefore the total value of the gift to Play Your Part is £5000.

For higher rate tax payers there are additional savings; in the case of the Highest Rate 40 and 45 percent tax payers, they can claim the difference between the basic rate and the higher rate tax – an additional saving of 20 and 25 percent on the gross value of the gift (see Link). 

My employer administers and Payroll Giving scheme – How does this work?

This is great news for the donor. For those whose employer administers a payroll giving scheme, you can give to Play Your Part and gain the immediate benefit of your tax (basic, or higher rates). Link to Payroll Giving. Please get in touch with Pippa to discuss how we can help you maximise your gift to Play Your Part through Gift Aid and other HMRC schemes. We would always suggest that you speak to a tax adviser about your own personal circumstances. 

I run my own Business – How can I help?

Yes there are tax efficient ways for business to give and to sponsor the campaign 

What will happen if we don’t reach the target?

We believe that we can and will raise the money to reach the £3.5 million needed for all of the projects to be realised. The School has worked with this model of fundraising before and we have purposefully not asked not launched a campaign until majority funding has been secured and nor has the current generation of parents been asked for capital funds before. Seven years ago, the Gift for Learning campaign achieved more than the original target it set itself. 

The building work has already started on the new Sixth Form Study Centre. This is on schedule for completion by the start of the summer term 2015 and the funds are in hand to complete this building. The extent of the refurbishment is dependent on raising funds – to give the students the facilities they deserve, we would like to extend the project beyond the funds available from the academy capital award. The pitch will be built as soon as funds and planning applications are in place. 

We are confident that if the whole school community plays its part, then we will succeed in winning this campaign and in delivering to today’s and tomorrow’s students every possible opportunity for them to achieve their very best.

What if I’ve got other questions or suggestions?

We would be delighted to hear them. Do please get in touch with our Development Director, Pippa Blackstone who will gladly answer any further questions and will be happy to hear suggestions as to how you and others can contribute to ensuring the success of the Play Your Part campaign. 

Mrs Pippa Blackstone.  01732 365125 x 221