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to be wary of joining the PTA?

(140 Posts)
WannabeNigella Mon 23-Jan-12 13:16:31

I would really love to help and support the PTA at DS's Primary School but keep hearing horror stories of bossy committee members, once you're in you'll never get out and basically of it being pretty hellish. (Not at his school but of PTA Committee's in general).

Should I steer well clear or AIBU and should I get stuck in and support?

piprabbit Mon 23-Jan-12 13:17:56

Get stuck in and support the school and PTA.
If you find you don't enjoy it, just resign. Nobody can force you to keep attending.

Spinkle Mon 23-Jan-12 13:19:00

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Heinous baggages all.

Joining the PTA could become a royal PITA!

Seriously, good for you for thinking about it......I was on the parents council of DS's school (not PTA but a more informal thing) and it was without doubt a nightmare.....parent wittering on about trivial things again and again and again. I did it for one or two school years and that was enough for me, never again.

Depends, if you have lots of spare time maybe give it a go...if you are quite busy and would struggle to fit it in the dont bother as it will take up a fair bit of time.

TapselteerieO Mon 23-Jan-12 13:21:51

I would give it a try, my school pta is not bitchy, but we do have a high turnover of members either because people are in the forces and have moved on or they have other commitments - if you go and help out at school events you will get to know if they are all horrible pretty quickly. Ours doesn't have a proper committee just now, because no-one will take on the chairperson/secretary positions.

BeerTricksP0tter Mon 23-Jan-12 13:27:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrspepperpotty Mon 23-Jan-12 13:28:07

I would give it a go, I don't at the moment as I have other voluntary commitments but will def put my name forward in a year or so. I know several members of the committee and they're a nice bunch, I hear the meetings can be a bit of a drag but it is a good cause after all!

MrsTittleMouse Mon 23-Jan-12 13:31:26

So.... you're not going to join, in case it happens to be bitchy. You'll never know unless you give it a go. And how much you do depends completely on you. You are allowed to say "no", you know! smile

Alphafemale Mon 23-Jan-12 13:42:38

Many of them are run by SAHMs (most, probably, who has time if they work FTOTH?) who replace the validation they used to get from working with being on a PTA. Therefore they generally ask ridiculous things of parents like "fill up this cup with a load of old tat which we will sell at the fayre" when actually, asking for straight cash donations would be more sensible and generate more cash. Because you end up spending £6 on filling the cup and they then sell it for £2. Mad.

They often moan "it's the same old faces" and yep, it is. But because those same old faces are often to be found whining about their voluntary contribution new faces don't want to join and who can blame them.

Stay away.

Hassled Mon 23-Jan-12 13:46:20

I've been involved in assorted PTAs over the years and while there are a few committee members I really should have bitch-slapped when I had the chance, I've also had a lot of fun, made some good friends and felt more involved with the school. It's certainly worth going to a couple of meetings - and if you don't like the other people, leave. No one will have a gun to your head.

Question sounds slightly like a journo doing some fishing. Who has told you that they're hellish?

Whatmeworry Mon 23-Jan-12 13:47:14

Do yopu work OP? The main problem if you work is time commitment. If you don't, suss out the PTA culture from the people involved. If they are the sort of poepel you would ordinarily avoid, than avoid!

More then the bitchiness it was the irrelevances that got to me - spending half an hour faffing about £2 under-recovery on a budget item, that sort of thing.

alison10011 Mon 23-Jan-12 13:48:51

I'm the chair of my dd's primary. I am neither bitchy or a SAHM.. I am, however, very passionate about helping support the school by providing equipment that they cannot afford to supply themselves. I am lucky that I have a wonderful group of parents and carers who are willing to throw themselves in as well. If you don't want to join, don't but please do not perpetuate this myth that all PTA committee members are frustrated stay at home women who have nothing better to do..

ANTagony Mon 23-Jan-12 13:50:19

If you want to support but don't want to get too involved in the politics there is always the option of offering support for certain activities i.e I'd be happy to run a stall at the summer fair - just tell me when and what time you need me, be an extra body at sports day, walk the kids to church once a month etc.

WannabeNigella Mon 23-Jan-12 13:53:52

Thanks all.

Promise not a journo Hassled just things I'd seen on here before and a friend of mine did it at a different school and only lasted a year cause it was such a pain.

I have my own business but currently only work part time from home and volunteer at the school one morning a week to hear readers etc. DH is away so I am a busy mum as have to juggle school and nursery and various after school clubs as well as my business on my own most of the time, but I know that there are plenty like me out there so I'm not saying that my situation is anything special, just trying to give you a bit of background.

I want to get involved and support but I also have history for taking on far too much and it being at my own detriment! I tend to thrive on the challenges and overall madness of it all!

I was kind of thinking it would probably be a meeting every couple of months and then a distribution of jobs for any fundraisers. Am I way off track? Is it going to take up numerous hours every month?

WannabeNigella Mon 23-Jan-12 13:55:31

Should have said DH "works" away not is away!

startail Mon 23-Jan-12 14:07:36

Grr at the SAHM bashing.
I happen to be a SAHM and a member of the PTA. However, that does not mean I have or expect others to have lots of time or money to devote to school fund raising.
I'm mostly a member because I'm not in the inner circle of Mums. PTA meetings allow me to hear the gossip and have an idea what's going on.
I am very specific that I will help with things I'm good at and refuse to be pushed into admin roles or making tea.
Most of our PTA work really hard, occasionally ex or present career point scoring occurs, but actually to the schools benefit. One particular mother clearly only volunteers to improve her profile in the community.
Generally I have more fun than irritation out of it.
If you join, you can always leavewink

hairypotter Mon 23-Jan-12 14:07:47

Totally agree with Alison

I am on my PTA and again Im not bitchy or a satm. I'm proud that we raise money for the school to pay for everything from buses to take the first years to camp and fund a major part of 6th year prom.

These wouldn't go ahead without fundraising. I'm more than willing to give up a couple of hours a month if it helps.

I would give it a shot. Yes, it might be full of self important smug bitches but equally it could be full of lovely people just trying to do a little bit to help their school. No harm done if turns out to be the former, just leave smile

BeerTricksP0tter Mon 23-Jan-12 14:09:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kerala Mon 23-Jan-12 14:19:35

I have just joined after a year of avoidance. Ours is very professional some SAHM I think (though don't know) some working parents. Its bloody efficient though and has raised literally thousands of pounds which have been spent on fantastic play equipment which the children love to use at playtime. They are careful not to overburden parents but arrange a few things a year that the kids love (e.g. big family bbq).

Quite confused at the criticism whats not to like about a group of people trying to raise money to make things better for everyone? Haven't seen any "bitchiness" as the group is made up of sensible adults (men and women).

Davsmum Mon 23-Jan-12 14:23:16

Get involved and if you don't like it - get out.
When I was involved with a PTS they were all control freaks and quite a few bossy people.
Its usually the wrong people that get involved and the good people shy away smile

WannabeNigella Mon 23-Jan-12 16:11:16

Might just bite the bullet and go for it and see what happens...........

Lulaloo Mon 23-Jan-12 16:34:59

Go for it. I am a member of staff but currenlty do not have any children at the school. We do it for the children, be focused on what you choose to do - don't do every event as you will not enjoy it. I use to find it best to join with one friend if you can. Makes it more sociable and more fun if you are manning a stall and having a chat at the same time!! Good Luck - it is what you make it.

lesley33 Mon 23-Jan-12 17:08:16

Was involved in the pta for a few years and they were fine. tbh there had been 1 nightmare member who used to put people off joining, but I joined after she had left. Made some friends there and enjoyed doing things for the school.

The only real problem I found about being on the pta were a few other parents who complained about a few events we organised. i would have understood if these were valid complaints. But they were more along the lines of - my dd can't make that day as she has ballet - why didn't you ask all the parents what day was best before organising it. Answer - because we have kids and are putting the time in, so organised it at a time that we could do!

catgirl1976 Mon 23-Jan-12 18:33:27

Join and if it IS full of hideous harpies......just have yourself a little putsch and get rid of them

NoMoreInsomnia12 Mon 23-Jan-12 18:39:14

Two of our committee members are working dads. I joined when I was working full time. I'd say judge your own PTA, not your perception of them.

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