To thnk that its a certain breed of woman (or man) that joins the pfa!

(51 Posts)
LEMisafucker Thu 14-Nov-13 09:55:06

I think so (disclaimer - i am on the PFA and very much fit into the following stereotype).

Our school is quite middle class i suppose (or at least people like to think it is). However, most of the people on the PFA are slightly rougher round the edges, salt of the earth types. Especially the ones who actually get on and do the donkey work, as opposed to those who sell a few raffle tickets and think they have single handedly saved the school playground from condemnation.

Oh and its bitchy, VERY bitchy - i have never known anything quite like it.

What are the PFA members like at your school?

Our cake making guru is lovely though and makes the bestest cakes in the world - no ldc or but potentially a CFC

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:40:23

ours was always in the evening I think if you are unhappy about the PTa then you could mention to the HT that you would love to take part but you have to work I think a 3 pm meeting or morning is excluding lots of people

BarbarianMum Thu 14-Nov-13 10:49:29

IME PTA members tend to be jaded and bitter that, yet again, everything is left to the same handful of parents rather than bitchy. They do tend to come across as a bit cliquey because, hey, when it's just they same dozen of you (school has 500 kids), you do tend to get to know each other quite well.

In fact, I'm about to stand down from the PTA but instead am going to join the great majority in complaining about the lack of discos, Christmas Fairs and Summer Fetes whilst offering sweet FA.

Lambzig Thu 14-Nov-13 10:49:55

DD will start school next year and this sort of thing terrifies me. I fear it will take me back to the bitchfest that was my single sex school. What is classed as bitching? Is it snidely comments about cake making skills or the real nasty stuff?

unlucky83 Thu 14-Nov-13 10:53:23

Mrsjay My DDs don't get picked! - maybe I am doing something wrong...
A lot on the PTA do call eg HT by her first name but I can't. I still call the School secretary 'Mrs Name' and have to speak to her quite a bit.
I was going to say to Unplastered too -maybe let the school -or the PTA know that you would love to join in but can't make the meetings. Maybe they could change them or you could help in another way.
Debate we've just had - our meetings are in the evening at 7ish (we have working parents). Wondering if daytime meetings would be more attractive...but then most of our current PTA couldn't do them then.

TheNumberfaker Thu 14-Nov-13 10:56:27

I think the problem is what lots of pps have suggested. Longstanding pta members have been there for years so do know each other really well. They don't realise (I hope) that they can come across as cliquey to new parents. I really want to help but I have massive confidence issues.

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 11:00:40

I was always of the mindset of I was doing it to help raise funds for the school to help the children I am a bit introverted I dont have a lot of friends and I am not that social so i never ever got into school mum friends so maybe I came across as the dooer (not a word) rather than somebody to be social with a lot of the other mums were friends and thats fine that is not what I was on the PTA for the posters who are a bit meh about going along just do it you might enjoy it

JammieCodger Thu 14-Nov-13 11:23:01

Ours is overwhelmingly middle class, I'm certainly rough around the edges, but I've not come across any bitchiness at all.

We have been accused of cliqueyness recently, but that's probably because the core committee all work. Previously the people in those roles were SAHMs and sociable types, so would have plenty of time to chat in the playground. On the rare days when I do drop my children off I'll usually have to try and meet 3 or 4 other committee members about something or another in the 5 minutes before we all have to fly off to work. It's not that condusive to chat. But we desperately welcome whoever wants to help, and every meeting there's discussion about how we can get more people involved.

So, how do we engage with the people who aren't "self obsessed do anything or recognition look at me aren't I a saint type people" and get them to give us a hand, because this saint is getting exhausted.

bolderdash Thu 14-Nov-13 11:44:03

With ours I think they need to think about the way they treat the volunteers. People do volunteer, are put off, and never want to do it again.

I was expecting it to be a lighthearted day of fun really, chatting with friendly people.

The reality was people ignoring you, whispering about you in corners. Running round with clipboards demanding sales figures. Ranting at you for not selling enough or for your portion size not being quite right. Then not a word of thanks whilst they disappear off to the pub without inviting you.

JammieCodger Thu 14-Nov-13 11:48:57

That sounds crap, Bolderdash. The 'heading off to the pub without inviting you' bit sounds familiar from when I first started to volunteer, but I don't think we could ever have been accused of the rest.

Chattymummyhere Thu 14-Nov-13 11:54:28

our FO (Friends of "insert school name") I got invited too but again I'm not a very lets go into a room full of strangers and chat type of person, they invited all the new school starters to the pub but not heard a word since.

LittleMissGerardPoppyButler Thu 14-Nov-13 12:11:39

Chatty that sounds like my school, it's a 'friends of' and they invited new parents to a meeting at the pub, and they are rubbish at sending stuff out! That's what they were like 3 years ago when I was a member!

LEMisafucker Thu 14-Nov-13 14:20:32

Ah, i wish i never mentioned the bitchiness now as i sort of meant the thread to be nice - having noticed a "type" of mum that tends to join the PFA. Our meetings are during school time and this does annoy me as it excludes working parents. Our comittee tends to meet and decide what is to be done etc and we do the behind the scene jobs, we then have a group of mums who are "friends" of the PFA (there is another name but that will out me for sure) who are signed up and we contact them by email etc if we need helpers for school events - it really is the same old faces though. When it was after school meetings there were alot of "ideas" but alot less got done because most of the people having the ideas worked during the day so didn't have time. I personally would prefer meetings after school at at the pub though.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Thu 14-Nov-13 14:54:30

Those awful people giving up their spare time for free - bitches wink

They may be a bit clichy and so on but I think a lot if time it is due to lack if support so they form a small group who organise everything themselves.

It's a thankless task but for some reason I end up joining them at every pre school and school and club!

melika Thu 14-Nov-13 15:00:21

They tend to be very confident people and like to be in control. I am in the PTA but keep a low profile, filling in where needed. I don't tend to get mentioned in letters of thanks because I don't blow my own trumpet.
I know I am helping and that's what counts.

HairyGrotter Thu 14-Nov-13 15:04:34

I'd rather spoon out my own eyes and have satan himself piss in the empty sockets than join a PTA. The one at DD's school is full o' twats with too much time on their hands. Not that all are like that, I'm sure wink

Each to their own, but the whole school thing isn't my bag, as it were

owlbegoing Thu 14-Nov-13 16:19:30

I've just joined the PTA at my DD's school. It's in no way cliquey as we've started it from scratch as they didn't have one last year BUT I worry that from the outside it will look cliquey as there's a core group of us that goes to every meeting and are in a secret Facebook group because the school doesn't like the idea of using Facebook

RhondaJean Thu 14-Nov-13 17:39:42

I was treasurer of the PTA at my daughters school when we lived in Aberdeenshire. I loved it, everyone was so nice, no bitchiness and I made friends there.

I wouldn't go near the one at the current primary school they attend though, mostly because I think the head tends to set the tone for the PTA and the one here is one of the few people in life I would openly and unreservedly call a total cunt.

I would do the secondary one, but the meetings always clash with the out of school club committee which I am on.

LydiasLunch Thu 14-Nov-13 18:04:30

I run our Pfa and I'm an old goth with pink hair and tattoos. We have our meetings in the pub. I like organising events and baking cakes.

harticus Thu 14-Nov-13 18:14:54

Based on my experience of these things I am with HairyGrotter.
Hate and detest it.
The same people clog up the parent-governor slots as well.
They most certainly are "a type".

kungfupannda Thu 14-Nov-13 18:27:41

I'm avoiding ours like the plague.

A couple of very nice, capable women I know have tried to get involved, but say that the core group aren't remotely interested in ideas from anyone else, and just look at you blankly if you try to suggest anything that's not a cake stall.

One woman apparently keeps saying "That's not appropriate" to any non-cake-stall suggestions.

I suppose it's possible that my friends were suggesting pole-dancing displays at the Christmas fair, or inviting Ann Summers to provide the raffle prizes, but I don't think they were grin

Vintagebeads Thu 14-Nov-13 18:37:23

I joined was tricked the PTA as I knew some lovely mums who were on it.
But it is run by a woman who's been on it for about 12 years.She had one DC then a large gap and has a two other in the school so will be on for years to come too.
She is not the chair,but constantly takes over and underminds the poor woman trying to run it.
The problem with this is that there is one way of doing anything-her way.
I imagine she has seen off any new blood in the past and is happy with the small inner group of Alpha mums,who look dreadfully busy the whole time but I am not sure what it is that they are busy doing.

I have met some lovely women who just want to raise money and help out on open day/sports day etc so I also keep my head down and just do my bit.

Vintagebeads Thu 14-Nov-13 18:41:24

LydiasLunch I am going to suggest moving it to the pub! grin I can only imagine the faces!

NoComet Thu 14-Nov-13 18:51:53

And after years of being the useful outsider, never in with the mummy friends, I got a lovely speech and a thank you gift when DD2 went to senior school.
So PTAs really aren't that bad.

NoComet Thu 14-Nov-13 18:52:51

We always use the pub too, school is freezing after hours.

RhondaJean Thu 14-Nov-13 20:52:39

Out of school club meets in the pub too smile

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