PTA boosts parental participation and community spirit to help improve the school.
A few years ago, St Francis’ Catholic Primary School was put into special measures by Ofsted. The governing body recognised a need to rebuild the school community as an important step, and was keen for the PTA to help. Friends of St Francis started as a new committee, succeeding three parents who had been running it for years. A band of volunteers led by chair Kylie Milne revitalised the group.
When taking on the role, Kylie’s focus was boosting parental participation and building community spirit. “My parents were teachers, so I understand the importance of parental involvement and what it can do for a school. My degree was in PR and events, so taking on the role of PTA chair seemed like a good fit.”
Kylie continues: “Being a member of Parentkind has helped, as it’s good to hear about other people having the same struggles and successes. The Facebook page has also proven a great resource. I learn something from the posts there on a daily basis.”
With the support and information she needed, Kylie and the rest of the new Friends of St Francis committee worked hard to welcome new parents. “They feel like they can get involved and that’s important. Even if they can only help one hour a year – it all adds up. The biggest challenge has been making sure everyone who helps has a role and feels valued. As more people have got involved we have given them specific tasks.”
The PTA also built a relationship with teachers and governors, and kept an open dialogue with the school leadership to ensure that everything they did was for the benefit of the school. The governors were keen for the PTA to focus on building a community that included all families, including ones from further afield.
Going from strength to strength
Governor Richard Ashton adds: “As well as providing welcome resources, the PTA is a powerful and supportive forum for parents and extended families within our school. I would like to continue to see stronger links being forged between the PTA and governing body.”
The parents’, pupils’, governors’ and PTA volunteers’ work has paid off, and a combined effort has helped the school on its way to being re-graded as ‘good’ in January 2015.
"While getting support from parents is key to our success, ultimately a PTA’s purpose is to enrich the children’s school experience. We give them a bit extra – that’s what we’re here for." Kylie Milne