At the start of the new school year, PTAs often start raising funds for a new project, but deciding what's needed isn't always straight forward. We asked Parentkind Membership Services Administrator Caroline...
What do PTAs spend their funds on?
Every school has different needs when it comes to funding.
When I was a committee member at my daughter’s senior school the projects I found most rewarding to fundraise for were: contributing to the installation of a new kitchen suite; and a garden project for the 6th formers recreational space – and these will benefit pupils for years to come.
How do PTAs decide which projects to fund?
It really depends on what your school needs but working together with the staff is the most effective way to prioritise which projects to fundraise for.
Often at the AGM (Annual General meeting) the PTA committee will ask staff and parents if there is any particular project they want to fundraise for and request a wish list from the school.
The committee then decides on behalf of the members what the funds will be spent on and all decisions should be recorded. You can always ring fence an amount of funds for a particular large project and spend the rest of the funds on smaller wish list items. But you need to keep in mind that funds should only be spent on beneficial items for the school and its pupils and in line with their charitable objectives of the association.
Be sure to publicise what you are fundraising for, share plans and pictures if you can, this helps the whole community to really get behind the activities. It’s important to consider spreading the funds across all areas of the school so everyone can benefit.
What do Parentkind members fundraise for?
PTAs work extremely hard to support the activities that further the education and environment of each pupil. In fact, last year our members raised £108 million for schools! The most common items supported by PTA funds were:
- Educational materials (books, classroom equipment, sports equipment)
- School trips
- Playground equipment
- School renovation projects
- School costs (e.g. staff training)
Many PTAs support learning by funding technology, books, art supplies, science equipment or even items for a forest school for outdoor learning. One PTA told us they buy online subscriptions to class learning tools.
Sport and activities are often fundraised for; like sports kits, equipment, playground toys and even swimming lessons.
We’ve also heard from some groups spending on school improvement for example a life-saving defibrillator, a new stage, library seating, and furniture. One of the most commonly funded is playground improvement.
Money towards things to do can help support the learning such as visits from authors, a trip to the theatre, a panto visit or even a day at the zoo.
Last but not least there’s always fun extras that can enhance the experience of each child; Christmas goodies, Easter eggs for a treasure hunt, ice lollies on sports day, rainy day games, leavers’ gifts and a top up of fruit every week.
Good luck in your fundraising projects this year! If you’d like more information on managing PTA funds, take a look in our Advice Hub.