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to half hope members of staff of a school will also give up some of their time for free at PTA events?

(51 Posts)
Scholes34 Fri 01-Feb-13 09:28:16

Am I digging my heels in unreasonably or is the school being unreasonable here? I'm the treasurer of the PTA and the new school head is looking to charge the PTA for the site manager's overtime at school events, adding £40 to the costs of the Christmas Fayre, for example. I don't expect the site manager to give his time up for free, but I would have hoped that a responsible member of staff - possibly the head himself - would take on the task of securing the school after the fayre, whilst the parents do the tidying up.

The school budget is tight and I've already persuaded the committee that we shouldn't be providing pencils and Pritt sticks, but we have provided some great play equipment for the playground and sound and stage equipment for the drama club and for general school use, amongst other things. So we do spend money on the school, but I don't see that we should be paying the site manager's overtime.

The school is being rather unreasonable. I've never heard of an instance where the PTA has had to pay any staff, teaching or non-teaching, to stay on for events.
Staff give their time willingly or not, it's up to them, but there is always someone to supervise the tidying and lock-up procedures.

I suppose all you can do is point out as a Committee, that it's £40 that's not going towards the school. Or you could refuse to do out-of-hours events completely, but that would take away the fun for the pupils as well as quite a lot of money.

teacher123 Fri 01-Feb-13 09:38:16

I think YABU, it is standard for that type of thing. Having been a keyholder at a previous school I worked in (admin role not teaching) it is a right faff and pain in the bum. Not all staff will have the keys and alarm codes, and it is a big responsibility to lock up the school, check windows etc etc. I don't have any of the alarm codes for my current school and have been there as a full time member of staff for 5 years!

Labootin Fri 01-Feb-13 09:41:44

That's pretty poor tbh

I'd call his bluff and refuse to pay.

Staff at our school are placed in the stocks and have wet sponges thrown at them, they also have a dunk tank, and participate in running the stalls.

Yfronts Fri 01-Feb-13 09:45:26

Aren't there any members of the PTA that can take on the site management role during events?

CloudsAndTrees Fri 01-Feb-13 09:45:59

The site manager giving up their time for free is a nice thing to hope for, but it's not at all unreasonable that someone would expect to be paid for their time, especially when their presence is necessary and extremely important, and is facilitating the charity (PTA) raising funds.

All charities have essential running costs to pay, and they have to pay for what it costs to fundraise, this just happens to be one related to a PTA so I'm not sure why you expect it to be different just because its for a school. The head of a school probably already does overtime that he/she doesn't get extra pay for. Why should they be expected to give up an entire weekend day as well? And it may as well be an entire weekend day even if its only four or five hours, because when that comes in the middle of the day it's not like they can plan a whole day out like people should be entitled to do on their days off work.

YABVU.

If you go down that road, Clouds, why should PTA members give up their time for free?

Hell, let's pay everyone the going rate for what they do (look up hourly fees for accountants, OP) and give what's left to pay for a box of rubber bands.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 01-Feb-13 09:53:08

No one is forced to be part of the PTA, it's no different to the thousands of people that do thousands of voluntary jobs because they care about the cause.

Every charity has running costs, and many don't have the luxury of large numbers of people almost guaranteed to support on some way like a PTA does.

PTA members give up their time for free because it contributes to their own children's education.

teacher123 Fri 01-Feb-13 09:55:44

But the site manager hasn't chosen to volunteer, has he? As far as he's concerned it is a weekend booking where someone has hired the hall and he is entitled to his overtime. In an IDEAL world he would do it for free, but he shouldn't HAVE to. He may not be able to afford to do it for free. As I said in my previous post, normal teachers often are not able to lock up the school. If the head volunteers, great. But if not, you will have to pay.

Scholes34 Fri 01-Feb-13 09:55:52

clouds - that's harsh to say I'm being very unreasonable.

I can see that the line the whole PTA needs to consider is the necessity of having the site manager there. If no-one else can do that job, then payment should be made. However, it is a Parent Teacher Association. There should be enough staff to cover the few events that take place like this - maximum two a term - and secure the school (only one small section of the school is used). I've been treasurer on and off for six years for this PTA and another and would never expect to charge for my time (on top of a full-time job).

Yes, and Heads need to weigh up how much they want the PTA money and whether there is any leeway for maximising profits that then go directly to the school.
No one forces schools to have a PTA or individuals to help that PTA. Committee members need to decide if it's actually worth their while volunteering if other members of the school community are going to claim some of the money they are raising.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 01-Feb-13 10:08:06

I said I think you are being very unreasonable because you are saying that you don't think the head should charge the PTA for the overtime he will be obliged to pay the site manager. So you think that persons overtime should come out of the schools budget, which clearly it shouldn't, or that the head should give up his day off and do it instead. Which is very unreasonable. I agree the head should make the effort to be there on the day, but that should be appreciated by parents, not expected.

Don't get me wrong, I think PTAs do a wonderful job, and as a school support staff member I have given p my free time to help run the crèche so that parents can have a meeting, or to help at summer/Christmas events. But I'd be annoyed if parents just assumed that I should do that and that if I didn't I wasn't a responsible staff member (which is what you said about the head at your school).

DeWe Fri 01-Feb-13 10:11:04

Our site manager would, but she lives on site, if they were coming in from further it would be reaonable to offer money.

Maybe he used to pay that from the school budget, but now is using it to pay for pencils and pritt sticks.

Scholes34 Fri 01-Feb-13 10:19:49

Actually, I do think the head should give up a day at the weekend for a summer or Christmas fayre. The role of a head teacher is so much more than being present in the school 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday for 39 weeks of the year. The traditional fayres offer the opportunity to be a part of and interact with the school community and with enough notice, I really don't see it as an imposition to give up a Saturday afternoon. It's certainly noticed by parents which teachers turn up and which don't.

Scholes34 Fri 01-Feb-13 10:21:12

"Responsible member of staff" means someone with specific responsibilities. It's nothing to do with the way they conduct themselves.

Whydobabiescry Fri 01-Feb-13 10:28:14

Yanbu the head should take on the role of locking up the school if the caretaker won't do it for free. I'm a member of the school PTA and neither the head nor caretaker would quibble about this extra task that is afterall only once or possibly twice a year. I would point out politely that everyone on the PTA is giving their time for free and if the head isn't prepared to do their bit perhaps it's time to stop out of hours events. We regularly hold evening quizzes, bingo race nights etc and there's never ever been an issue with paying overtime for someone to lock up.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 01-Feb-13 10:33:59

I agree with you that a head should give up a Saturday afternoon twice a year. I just don't think it should be assumed that they will. Especially when it's not just to interact with the families and have some fun with the children, but also to have a specific responsibility.

I don't think very much of parents that judge teachers based on whether they turn up to PTA events or not. You comment that 'it is certainly noticed' is not very nice. You have no idea about the personal lives of teachers, their worlds don't revolve around their job and other people's children. That doesn't mean they aren't fantastic teachers though.

No one's saying it's a reflection on their teaching ability, Clouds. There are staff at DS's school who rarely stay for events and that's fine - it's recognised that they have other demands on their time. the point is that so do all the other volunteers and those teachers are quite willing to benefit from the funds raised by the PTA, so all anyone is asking is that there's a bit of give and take.

teacher123 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:11:34

What was the system under the old head? This thread is really niggling at me and I'm not quite sure why. I totally understand that the PTA are volunteers, and am grateful for fundraising that the PTA does. HOWEVER, you are volunteering because your children benefit from the fundraising that you do. Many teachers volunteer/fundraise in their spare time for all sorts of other things, myself included. How would you feel if your boss suddenly expected you to give up two Saturdays for no pay?

Of course it would be brilliant if the head teacher was able to lock up and save you the £40, but what upsets me I think is this expectation that we, as a profession, should have to put other people's children first ALL THE TIME! I happily attend many hours of activities out with my contracted hours as a teacher, as I love my job, feel a huge duty of care towards the children and move heaven and earth to do the best for them. But sometimes i am busy. With my own child. Your attitude of wanting to hold the head teacher to ransom is distasteful. Find out what the options are, but if you decide to stop all fundraising for the sake of £80 a year that is shortsighted, petty and it will be your own children who lose out.

Startail Fri 01-Feb-13 13:22:10

No way.

We didn't expect staff at PTA events and happily lock up, but no way would we pay someone to stay.

Village primaries don't have site staff, quite a lot if fixing stuff is done by the parents because it takes do long for county to send anyone.

If HTs are happy to spend PTA money, they have to respect the people who raise it and chip in if necessary.

Scholes34 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:22:30

Never happened under the old head. The previous head was always present at the school fayres and the question of who was locking up was never raised, as it wasn't an issue. The head isn't being held to ransom, and the head also has a deputy. It's important one of them, or some of the other teaching staff, are there . It's the whole school community that is involved in these activities. No-one expects all teachers to give up all their time all the time for the sake of other people's children. The teachers also benefit from some good fund-raising, not just the children.

Pancakeflipper Fri 01-Feb-13 13:27:17

I would tell the new head no you don't want to pay it and see what they say.

This is not an issue at our school. All fayres etc held on weekends are attended by lots of the staff (and bring their own families).

DewDr0p Fri 01-Feb-13 13:28:13

YABU. Our PTA pays for the caretaker's overtime for the Christmas and Summer Fairs. He doesn't just lock up but oversees the tidying and cleaning up - he is working! I think this is very very different to the Head being present (she also mucks in btw!)

hermioneweasley Fri 01-Feb-13 13:29:11

What is the site manager's hourly rate if it costs £40 to open up and lock up again?

teacher123 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:36:27

I think the comment that got my back up was 'it's certainly noticed which ones turn up and which ones don't' about which members of staff attend. That makes it sound petty, and is a separate issue. I don't think I've EVER missed a Christmas fair/school play/social fundraising event in my time as a teacher, however that doesn't mean that i am able to lock and alarm school property at the end of a function. (Thinking of the set of keys the caretakers at school have-it would take me two hours to find the right one!)

I think there are two points here that have become one. The old head always attended and was happy to lock up afterwards. Has the new head said he's not planning on coming? Or that he's coming but won't lock up the school. I'd be very surprised if he wasn't attending a PTA event, especially a big one, unless it clashed with a personal commitment of some sort. And I do agree that he should be there.

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