Yorkshire's Bingley Grammar School former PTA explain their change to becoming a Parent Focus Group.
Listening to Parents' Views
Yorkshire’s Bingley Grammar School’s Parent Focus Group is a Parentkind member association that acts as a consultative body for the school. Group Secretary Lesley Miller told us: "We rebranded from being known as the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and one of the kids did a new logo for us after a competition. We felt changing to the Parent Focus Group was important because we’re more about being a consultative body than anything else. It does make a difference as the school listens and takes on board majority parental views."
Topics for Discussion
"We discuss different topics that affect school and parents. We publicise in our newsletter, and anybody who would like to come along is welcome to. Parents decide what happens around the table." This has included a recent session specifically on the school converting to an academy. Lesley added: "Our head teacher came along and answered any concerns that parents had. We all came out feeling that we knew a little bit more about the direction we’re heading."
Parent Voice in the School
Lesley believes the Parent Focus Group has a strong voice in the school: "It's a friendly group, and the meetings are useful, so people leave feeling that concerns that they’ve had have been addressed. Feedback from parents have helped things change within the school for the better." Lesley has seen one good example of this was when mums and dads told the Parent Focus Group that when they come in Year 7, they all know exactly what’s expected of the kids, but they had little idea for the other years! The school responded by introducing the very successful launch evenings. Parents from all year groups are now invited into school each September: "Teenagers are notoriously bad at keeping their parents in the loop so the heads of year go through key dates, any exams that may be coming up, or any major trips. It’s a great way for parents to be kept informed and involved."
"We discuss different topics that affect school and parents. We publicise in our newsletter, and anybody who would like to come along is welcome to." Parent Focus Group secretary Lesley Miller.