Some parent groups work with the school as a consultative body helping to shape school decisions on a range of issues. They represent all parents at the school, giving everyone an opportunity to raise topics that affect their children.
If you want to have more say in school decision making, getting involved with a parent group is a good way to go. If there’s already a parent group up and running, make that your starting point. Get in touch with a committee member and ask how you can get more involved.
Parent Councils are there to represent and give all parents a voice, and if there’s one at your school you probably receive regular communications from them asking for your views. Representatives meet regularly (usually every term) to discuss issues put forward by parents or by the school.
Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs)
If your school has a PTA, parent voice may be part of their remit. If it’s not and the focus is mainly on fundraising, go along to a meeting and see if the constitution allows for a separate sub-committee for parent voice. It can be a great way to attract a new group of parents with different interests who may not normally volunteer or get involved with PTA activities.
Bingley Grammar School is a great example of a PTA with a strong voice in school – so much so, they re-branded as a Parent Focus Group to reflect their main role at the school.
If there isn’t a PTA or parent council at your school, find out more about starting one.
Class or year representatives are volunteer parents who represent all parents in a particular class or year group. These representatives usually liaise between parents and the PTA or parent council and act as the collective voice of the class/year parents on school-based issues. There is usually one parent representing each class but some parents feel more confident working in pairs. Secondary schools and small schools sometimes have a volunteer from each year group, rather than from each class.
Parent action groups
Parents or the school can set up an action group to carry out a specific task – for example how to improve the school grounds. These can come from a parent body or can be standalone groups. An action group might carry out a consultation, report back to the school, agree the action to be taken and then disband once it has completed its task. Action groups are most effective if they don't only involve parents, but also members of school staff, governors and pupils.
Parent class meetings
A parent class meeting provides an opportunity for all the parents of children in one class or tutor group to meet together with the class teacher or tutor. There are often issues that affect all the parents of children in one class. These meetings provide a way for teachers to communicate important information to parents all together and to give parents an opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues of interest to them.
Read more about developing parent voice at your school.