What is a PTA Constitution and why do you need one?

17 April 2019
Clare Jenner
Clare Jenner is the PTA Community Manager at Parentkind. 
Did you know your PTA Constitution holds the answer to many of the day-to-day questions raised by PTA members?

What is a Constitution?

Each association should have a Constitution that states the purpose of the association, and rules and regulations that the committee members should be following. It provides structure for your committee members, giving clear guidance on how the association should be run. Usually it’s adopted at an AGM.

Who needs to see it?

All your committee members should be aware of the Constitution, so when you have a new committee member join the team, make sure they have a copy to read.

Why should we have one?

As well as providing the structure to work to, a Constitution also provides protection for the committee members if they are adhering to the rules. It ensures the committee members are making their decisions properly, by majority vote, and leaves no individuals vulnerable if a committee member were to go rogue” and make their own decision – you would always have something to refer back to. It also clearly states your committee are responsible for the running of the association, managing its assets and funds.

What are the objects of the association (referred to in a Constitution)?

The charitable objects state the purpose of an association. If your PTA is using the Parentkind Model Constitution it states the objects are:
to advance the education of the pupils in the school, in particular by:

  • Developing effective relationships between the staff, parents and others associated with the school
  • Engaging in activities or providing facilities or equipment which support the school and advance the education of the pupils”

Why are the objects necessary?

They make it clear to anyone that’s supporting you, why are you are doing what you do and the reasons you exist. You need to make sure what you fund fits these objects.

What else is important to know?

We are often asked, Who can be on our committee?” and this will depend on your name and membership definition set out in your Constitution.

The other important things to have in your Constitution are:

  • Your name and the membership definition. What you call yourself defines your membership, e.g. Parent Teacher Association, means all parents/​carers/​guardians plus all members of school staff are automatically members of the association. If you are a Friends Association, this membership is widened to include anyone over the age of 18 who has committee approval
  • Meeting rules, for example how often you hold your meetings, rules about how to call them, minimum number you need to be at the meeting (quorum) and who has a vote. These rules will be slightly different for committee meetings and general meetings
  • Structure and responsibilities of committee members, including how to remove committee members
  • Management of assets and funds
  • How to close the association down

Parentkind’s Model Constitution is available to all our PTA members and is suitable for your association whether you are a registered charity or not. It has been written in conjunction with specialist charity lawyers and the Charity Commission and is best practice for all associations.

We hope you have found this helpful. We have lots of information sheets on Governance in our PTA Advice Hub or you can call the Membership Support Team on 0300 123 5460, or email us at [email protected] for further advice.

Related articles: Setting up your association, Making changes to a Constitution, Everything you need to know about AGMs and Committee roles and responsibilities.