"Like other parents, I’d help out at our school PTA fundraising events," says Danielle. "Last year, quite a few PTA members left as their children moved on, so there just weren’t the numbers to keep it going. It was such a shame, because the group had been really successful and made a positive impact on school life."
Re-forming the PTA
Danielle, along with other parents, decided to get together to see whether the group could be re-established. "I put my hand up for the role of secretary and some parents volunteered for other roles. At first, it seemed rather daunting because we didn’t really know where to start, so it was a big learning curve for all of us."
"I’d been doing a bit of homework to see what was involved in setting up a PTA and found lots of resources available on Parentkind – things like risk assessment forms and templates to use."
Danielle says that she used social media and posted some questions to other PTAs on Parentkind’s Facebook page. "It was great being able to pick other people’s brains – they answered some specific queries we had and gave us the information we needed to progress things quickly. It really helps asking others who have been in a similar position to where we were, as we can benefit from what they learned."
The newly formed group had its first 'official' meeting where they decided to support the school in raising £10,000 to replace its out-dated playground equipment. "We know how much the children will enjoy and benefit from new equipment and although it’s a huge sum of money, we just really want to help," says Danielle.
Varied events programme
Danielle says that the group runs a varied programme of events throughout the year, from low-key non-uniform themed days, through to a Christmas fair, which requires a lot more planning: "We’ve tried to offer a range of events so that there's something that will appeal to everyone. For larger events, we try to encourage involvement from the wider school community."
Danielle tells us that communication is improving all the time: "We’re getting better at telling everyone what we've been up to. It's finding that balance of not asking too much of parents but also making sure they know what a difference their support makes."
She tells us that letters are sent out to parents via school communication and the PTA have recently added a fundraising 'thermometer' in the school reception area, “We thought this would be quite an eye catching way of showing everyone how our fundraising is going.”
What advice would Danielle give to parents looking to set up a PTA from scratch? "When you’re starting out, get in touch with Parentkind as the guidance is fantastic. Don’t forget to go on their social media channels to pick other PTA’s brains with specific queries.
"Be open to ideas – we're still learning from each event and you sometimes have to adapt and change things that haven't worked particularly well. Don't be afraid to ask others for help – there are times when you need more pairs of hands.
"Finally, I'd say communicate the positive differences you're making to your school and the benefits for the children. It's a lot of hard work but I find it very rewarding."
- Re-established the school’s PTA to support the school, using Parentkind’s online platforms as a key information resource
- Raised £2,000 towards replacement playground equipment in its first year
- Successfully running year round programme of events which keeps growing
- Secured the support of the wider community for fundraising initiatives
"Having helped to make a positive difference at my children's school, I realise just how important the PTA role is. I found it really valuable being able to look at the resources on the Parentkind website and chatting online to other parents on its social media channels. It’s so helpful being able to sound out other parents." Danielle Farrar, PTA Secretary.