APPG — 3rd July 2023
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Parental Participation in Education gathered in Westminster on Monday 3rd July 2023. The group exists to promote the benefits of parents actively participating in their child’s education, and of building close and successful relationships between homes and schools.
The meeting was a celebration of the incredible achievements of four National PTA Award-winners. Parliamentarians heard presentations from:
- Friends of More House (Anna Benfield, Alison Reynolds)
- Friends Of Christ’s College Guildford (Sophia Wyatt, Clare Kerr)
- Alexandra Junior School PTFA (Laura Gladwin)
- Marshgate Primary School Parent Staff Association (Tom Panagos, Andrew Keesing)
Parentkind’s Head of Marketing and Campaigns Louisa McNally gave an overview of the role of PTAs in schools. She spoke of parent groups’ impact not merely in terms of the fundraising for educational resources, but also in running events that bring together the whole school community. Then she introduced each of the award-winning PTAs in turn.
4. Marshgate Primary School Parent Staff Association, primary school winners in England for PTA of the Year.
Chair Tom Panagos and Vice-Chair Andrew Keesing spoke of breaking down barriers with an International and diverse parent community in Richmond, where 7 in 10 families speak a language other than English at home. They have created a representative committee that unusually has more dads than mums.
After adopting the watchword of KISS: “keep it super simple”, the PTA started afresh and held popular events to involve and engage as wide a sample of the parent community as possible. This included a flavours-of-the-world bake sale. The summer fair included a book bazaar and animal experience.
Dads were encouraged to sell bakes on Mother’s Day to give the mums a break. All their efforts and events have a focus on breaking down barriers and including the whole school community.
During a general discussion afterwards, Mary Glindon, the MP for North Tyneside, asked the PTAs how they ensure sufficient volunteers are involved. The chair Ian Mearns, the MP for Gateshead, afterwards took the parents on an informative tour of the Palace of Westminster. He mentioned the meeting and the presentations that he had heard from the PTA parents in the House of Commons on Wednesday 6th July.
Mearns asked the Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt, to join him in congratulating the winners, and she thanked all PTAs for the incredible work that they do for their schools and communities. You can see a clip of the exchange below.