Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

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

Tailtwister Thu 14-Nov-13 09:57:55

Is PFA the same as the PTA? If so, I have no idea what they're like as I stay well clear! However, I do volunteer for the bigger events and man stalls, bake etc.

redskyatnight Thu 14-Nov-13 09:58:31

No bitchiniess at our one. It's made up by parents who genuinely support the aim of fundraising for the school and really put themselves out to do so.

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:00:14

I assume you mean PTA smile I was on dds when they were in primary I was a bit of a doer helped and the discos went round to ask for donations for raffles, I wasn't really in the inner circle so to speak but I didnt mind I just got on with it there were people who looked VERY VERY busy but did eff all which used to drive me insane they liked the admiration of the headteacher and called her by her first name I just didnt get into any bitching and probably really didnt fit in sometimes but just kept my head down and got on with it because I enjoyed doing it

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 14-Nov-13 10:01:26

redsky do you live in some amazing alternatitive universe? grin

I was Secretary and later Chair at ours - mostly very pleasant although we did have trouble with a clique at one point.

Shesparkles Thu 14-Nov-13 10:03:22

Ours wasn't bitchy but was a very tight knit clique, with "it's our way or no way" as their motto.
I gave up after just short of 2 years-and I was the chair!

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Thu 14-Nov-13 10:03:36

The PTA at our (private) school is amazingly bitchy. A couple of my friends joined and I started to get involved but we were all disgusted at the sniping and squabbling. I was an events producer for a number of years and offered my services to help with the school ball but any ideas I had were robustly shot down. "It's always been this way" was the prevailing attitude. Understandably my friends flounced after a stunning email bitchfest that was then sent to everyone. I have avoided getting involved subsequently. I dutifully attend the events though and refuse to get dragged into the bitching.
Glad to hear we're not alone as otherwise it is a lovely school.

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:04:27

I was a member of the PTA on and off for 12 years and it did go in peak and troughs and one year it was just awful with cliqueness (sp) I did leave for a bit and just helped out

ZombieMonkeyButler Thu 14-Nov-13 10:05:00

It's quite common to have a PFA now or a PTFA even. The F stands for friends. I spent 8 yrs on the PTFA at Ds2's school. I am neither middle class nor bitchy!

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:05:51

OH ok I didn't think it was a typo ZOmbie i just didnt know what it meant IYSWIM

Bunbaker Thu 14-Nov-13 10:05:52

When I was on the PTA, (not PFA whatever that means) it wasn't the least bit cliquey or bitchy. It was just a group of parents and teachers who wanted to support the school. Our PTA didn't fit the MN stereotype at all.

LittleMissGerardPoppyButler Thu 14-Nov-13 10:06:39

I was on ours for a year, then I couldn't take any more bitchiness! There were a couple of hard workers who were lovely, the rest of them were just horrible.

The final straw for me was being left by myself in a room with 3 stalls and having to run them by myself while the others went on the easier stuff and there was 2 of them on each thing. After that I thought fuck that for a packet of biscuits, I wanted to help and you took advantage of me.

Apparently now it's much better, but I won't be going back to find out!

redshifter Thu 14-Nov-13 10:07:49

I looked at this thread as I thought it was going to be about football. confused

FutTheShuckUp Thu 14-Nov-13 10:08:14

The people at our school who are in it are the typically self obsessed do anything or recognition look at me aren't I a saint type people

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:13:19

It was the school board (scottish govenors (sp) ) i had problems with they were so bloody important and so smug I wouldnt have gone near the schol board with a barge pole lots of very busy dads giving their time and lots of rushing about to go to meetings then back to work hmm

LEMisafucker Thu 14-Nov-13 10:19:15

I think the board of governers take bitchyness to the next level wink

unlucky83 Thu 14-Nov-13 10:19:55

Our PTA isn't at all bitchy - we are just desperate for new ideas/ new blood. I do think we may come across as cliquey though - mainly because we have all been doing it for years and so know each other really well - if only we could find people to take over we'd be long gone grin.
Our PC did a survey thing and it came out that they were thought of as cliquey - most of them are just like the PTA, done it for years, desperate to escape...
(I do have to say I am amazed in general at the lack of bitchiness in this community though - unless it just goes over my head)

NoComet Thu 14-Nov-13 10:21:39

Ours wasn't bitchy, within PTA meetings. Everyone who is willing to help gets one just fine. We all knew what we were good at and got on with it.

(This is not to say the PTA are angels, they are not. Some of them are horrific gossips about teachers, parents, pupils and anyone else in the village. Fortunately they don't let this stop them getting the job done.)

Over the years are stalwarts have been both very MC (DCs now at nice private) and more down to earth SAHM and part time working in admin mum's

Only ever had 2 dads one both I suspect graduates, although one having gone PT to do school run.

NoComet Thu 14-Nov-13 10:23:54

Very difficult area to get Dad's because so many commute. They might make 8pm meetings, but a lot if stuff needs doing just after school

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:25:37

unlucky maybe that is why people think they are so tight knit because it is the same faces year in year out and trying to get people involved , there was no bitchyness in ours just some of the mums liked being pally with the teachers no biggie really if that is what they liked doing although thei dc did get picked for everything

Bramshott Thu 14-Nov-13 10:27:43

I thought all parents were automatically members of the PTA and there was no need to 'join'?? confused

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:28:48

well they could be automatic members it is just getting them to do anything that was the problem ,

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:30:25

I remember an OUTRAGE from parents as we were having to cancel a school disco at very short notice as we had no supervision well not enough when I asked if anybody was prepared to stay oh lots of tutting and watch looking and umming went on , a few did step forward but..

Unplastered Thu 14-Nov-13 10:38:21

I would love to join our PTA.
I am a 'joiner-inner' as my DM puts it, and I like to get involved. However the PTA as our school seems to be much geared to only to open to SAHMs or those who only work in school hours. Every meeting is at 3.15pm, or even at 9.15am once! If I wasn't at work till 5 I would join and help like I do with my other community groups.

Mim78 Italy Thu 14-Nov-13 10:39:21

I'm v wary of taking part in our school association (same thing) because I think it will be bitchy. I am not good at joining in with groups of Mums or organising events. I think I am better off just saying I will help as and when and not trying to be in the cliche!

There are lots of things I would be willing and able to help the school with but these are never asked for. It is usually something like bake a cake or organise a stall and I am bad at those things.

I will be buying dd's raffle tickets myself as I would never get time to go round selling them.

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 England 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 England 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 Brazil 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 Brazil Thu 14-Nov-13 20:52:39

Out of school club meets in the pub too smile

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Thu 14-Nov-13 20:58:27

Mine was lovely with really nice friendly people. I miss it (moved to school with no PTA)
I agree to feeling a bit jaded after a while.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now