Celebrate PTAs, the unsung pandemic heroes

22/06/21

Parentkind this week celebrates the pivotal role thousands of parent groups played in supporting school communities during the coronavirus pandemic. Our first ever National PTA Week is taking place 21 to 25 June. 

National PTA Week virtually brings together PTAs for a week of enlightening workshops delivered by industry leaders, concluding with a National PTA Awards ceremony to recognise outstanding achievements. The event offers parent groups the chance to learn from experts as well as one another in an open exchange of ideas. They will acquire the tools and inspiration to take their activities to another level. Throughout the week, #PTAHeroes will be championed on social media. 

The time to celebrate the value of parent volunteers has never been more urgent. When most pupils switched to remote learning at home during the lockdowns of 2020, many parent volunteers seized the moment and mobilised into action to support local families. Our Annual Return data indicates that PTA committee members clocked up over 2 million volunteer hours in 2020, every second of which was in service to school communities across the UK.

Nominations for National PTA Week’s closing awards ceremony have flooded in. A PTA at a special school for visually impaired or deaf-blind children that serves families across a wide area knew that being a conduit between school and homes was vital. They reached out to parents needing help with shopping or picking up medication, and fed back to staff any parental concerns about the return to school for vulnerable children. Their transformational impact during lockdowns kept families informed, supported and less isolated. Not only that, but their social gatherings brought the community closer together at a crucial time when parents truly appreciated the extra support. A school in a rural area held their traditional scarecrow festival as an outdoor event to safely bring everyone together from young to old. With thirty-eight households volunteering to build a scarecrow, the project was a valuable opportunity for children to have fun, be sociable and learn new skills through a creative project involving their family, friends and neighbours. The busy PTA enlisted the local paper, radio station, and plenty of bloggers to help spread the word and build interest.

John Jolly, CEO of Parentkind, comments, “What we’ve seen from the nominations we’ve received is the sheer variety of ways that parent groups and dedicated volunteers contribute to their school, and how they’ve gone above and beyond when faced with the extreme challenge of the pandemic. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and during the restrictions of 2020, we saw a burgeoning of PTA innovation, with everything from online and socially-distanced events to Zoom committee meetings keeping alive that all-important communal spirit. Although the projects and initiatives we are celebrating as part of National PTA Week are as diverse as the imaginations and talents of those parents involved, what unifies them is the dedication and determination of PTA parents. After all, they are aiming at the same goals of helping out local families, bringing communities together and improving the educational experience of all children. We think their achievements are incredible, and we want them to be shouted about nationally.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says, “Parents have played a crucial role throughout the pandemic by supporting not only their own children but also school staff, and it is right that we celebrate their contribution. We know that parental engagement in education is so important and Parent and Teacher Associations foster that vital bond between parents, pupils and schools. So I’d would like to say a huge thank you to every single parent, carer and volunteer for your all your hard work and achievements during what has been a difficult time.”

About the Research

Annual Return survey completed online between 23rd September 2020 and 31st March 2021.  667 members completed the survey and all income and estimated lost income calculations are based on a Parentkind membership of 12,857 (Sept 2020).

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