In my job I have seen first-hand the amazing work that parents can do as part of their PTA. But it is important to have that groundswell of support at the outset to achieve this.
Getting people involved is often a daunting task and an ongoing one too. There are plenty of practical ideas available on our website that can help you, such as having class representatives, regular communications, and having a Facebook page. But it is important that promotion of your PTA group and recruitment of new members is incorporated into everything you do throughout the year, making sure that all parents realise that every little contribution helps, even if it’s just a few hours.
It’s a good idea to go back to basics - start with having a clear aspiration for what you want your PTA to achieve for your school and make sure this is clearly communicated. Make sure that the Head is fully supportive of your aims and working with you. Consider how your events and activities benefit the school community and bring parents into school. You can be a powerful vehicle in building stronger links between school and home, reaching out to involve all parents: even those reluctant to come into school might be tempted by a social event. It’s vital that parents involved really understand your objectives and how their child will benefit.
In my job I have seen first-hand the amazing work that parents can do as part of their PTA. But it is important to have that groundswell of support at the outset to achieve this. You have to ensure that the right messages are communicated consistently, so that everyone knows exactly why your PTA is important and the fantastic difference it can make to the school and its pupils.
So to help clarify your role and message, here are some questions that you could start with:
- What would the head like the PTA to be – is the main focus on fundraising or can it help achieve some of the schools priorities, such as engaging with fathers more actively?
- What could the PTA do to help the teachers?
- In what way could you support other parents in the school – would they benefit from a mentoring system, is language an issue, or do they need help with learning about how children are taught nowadays so they know how best to support their children?
- How could the PTA help the school in reaching out to the wider community, so that both might benefit from the improved relationship?
- Is fundraising important – are there things that the children need to support their education that they wouldn’t otherwise have?
By being proactive and communicating well you can make sure your PTA or Friends group has a positive impact on your school and maybe even challenge the stereotype of what a PTA might be. Your PTA can be the friendly face of the school, the way of binding the community together. Help staff and parents alike understand just how important the PTA is in helping the school create a happy environment for the children, so they can enjoy their learning experience, supported by their parents. Welcome new parents into the school not by inviting them to an AGM, but by inviting them to a Tea and Tissues morning or a new Year 7 BBQ, to meet fellow pupils and new teachers. Having clear objectives and a friendly approach will help your PTA to communicate why there is an ongoing need for support and helps parents understand why their support is so important.
A community is created around a common cause and children should always be the centre of focus, but if you can create a group that reaches out to parents, staff, pupils and the local community alike – then what might you achieve?
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Our blog is a place for a range of opinions and debate on parents and their role in their schools and their children’s education. Whilst we think this debate is really important, we don’t always agree with the views being expressed.