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... to ask for your experiences of PTAs?

(26 Posts)
NeverMetACakeIDidntLike Mon 20-Nov-17 22:11:30

My friends tell me they’d probably have voted me as ‘person least likely to join a PTA’... but I’ve been roped in and have been to one meeting so far.

... so what are your tales of PTAs, good and bad please?

hungryhippo90 Mon 20-Nov-17 22:17:28

Oh hahah.

Avoid. That’s all I can say.

Bunch of mean clicky mums who’ll ignore/bully you if you don’t turn up to every meeting.

crumbsinthecutlerydrawer Mon 20-Nov-17 22:17:52

I’m on two. One I am trying to leave slowly. I still feel like an outsider after 18 months as some longer serving members make decisions outside of meetings amongst themselves and deliver their decisions at our meetings. They’re not open to new ideas much either and tbh it’s taking up too much of my time for such a joyless task. Most of the meetings descend into bitching about their ‘hubbies’ which I also can’t be bothered with.

The other one is new, really open to trying anything but all the other members are inexperienced and I am being pushed to lead, which is what I don’t really want either.

I think volunteering to help out at events rather than actually joining the PTA is the way to do it.

NoSquirrels Mon 20-Nov-17 22:20:20

The people who have the best idea are those that turn up infrequently but just enough to be genuinely interested and helpful in a limited fashion, and can just ignore any politics and rise above it.

Some are good, some are much less good, most come from a good place and are naffed off at lack of involvement!

SunshineHQ Mon 20-Nov-17 22:30:13

I quite like being a Class Rep, rather than on the PTA itself.

123rd Mon 20-Nov-17 22:33:53

I've never been on pta. I have friends who are. At different schools but the Stories are exactly the same ...& really bad.
I do volunteer at events tho. Get to help but don't get involved in the bullshit

Fruitboxjury Mon 20-Nov-17 22:35:57

Bunch of mean clicky mums who’ll ignore/bully you if you don’t turn up to every meeting.

Not my experience at all and sorry for you and your school’s community that someone has made you feel this way. Please don’t tar all group with the same brush.

The PTA depends entirely on rule of school and parents. We have a small, warm and well regarded school and the pta is made up of parents (mums) who want to support the school and help foster a good school community to the benefit of all - children and families. It’s inclusive, hard working and pragmatic, focusing on quality of events not quantity. I’ve helped them out a lot and have really enjoyed it, my children are proud to know mummy helped to organise something.

If you don’t want to go to all the meetings, do you have a specific skill you could offer up on a more adhoc basis. For example, graphic design for advertising material, if your into numbers could you be treasurer, do you have background in hospitality or events which could be useful etc? I have a specific role which I undertake for our PTA (one of the above) so I get asked to work on stuff I like and am good, and try not to get heavily involved in the rest of it.

If everyone commits a little time, a lot gets done. However, you will find some people using it as a pseudo career... probably best to avoid them as much as you can!

icelolly99 Mon 20-Nov-17 22:36:40

I will only get involved in my kids ones if they're known as 'Friends of.....' Rather than PTA's. So far, so good ☺

Fruitboxjury Mon 20-Nov-17 22:37:46

If only I could edit the iPhone typos...!

NoSquirrels Mon 20-Nov-17 22:38:22

I always find the "I help out but I'm not on the PTA" thing a bit odd - at every school I've known each parent & teacher etc is automatically a member of the PTA, it's not something you need to "join" and sign a set of rules. If you help out sometimes you're as much on the PTA as the Chair. Or should be, in my opinion.

Fruitboxjury Mon 20-Nov-17 22:38:46

Icelolly what do you see as being the main differences?

Hassled Mon 20-Nov-17 22:53:09

I made some good friends at a time when I was quite lonely, and genuinely felt like my efforts helped the school - massive playground improvements, lots of library books etc. No cliques - just parents like me who needed to meet people and get out of a rut.
But once you’re in it’s bloody hard to get out.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 20-Nov-17 22:58:15

I thInk anyone in a pta giving up hours of their own time to raise money to benefit all children in a school are absolutely blooming marvellous.

Zhx3 Mon 20-Nov-17 23:05:12

I volunteer at our events but don't organise them. Our PTA are a group of mums who are lovely, friendly, and work so hard to put on event for the children's enjoyment and to raise funds.

Peppapogstillonaloop Mon 20-Nov-17 23:07:43

Shame about the experiences up thread. I have kids at two schools and the Pta are amazing at both (ok I’m on one so I would say that) but still, everyone gives up a lot of their valuable time to do fairly boring fundraising tasks and corral reluctant parents into parting with either their time or money. We mostly do it because we would like our kids and their schoolmates to have the best possible education and unfortunately money raised is increasingly crucial to that. Not remotely cliquey and actually just a bunch of nice people trying to do their best. I HATE the shitty labels that get thrown around about PTAs it’s complete bollocks in my experience.

OlennasWimple Mon 20-Nov-17 23:08:09

I had only seen the brilliant, dedicated mums (sadly, it is mostly mums) who give up far too much of their own time to do things to support everyone at school, until DC moved schools recently. And wow - I owe so many pp an apology for mentally dismissing their warnings about bitchy cliques. It has to be seen to be believed, it is literally like something out of a film sad

Cambionome Mon 20-Nov-17 23:26:00

I work in a school and the PTA (or Friends) do a fantastic job raising money which makes a big difference to the work of the school.
TBH I'm a bit surprised by those parents whose children benefit from the fundraising but who refuse to get involved themselves (unless they really don't have time due to work commitments etc).

BackforGood Mon 20-Nov-17 23:33:06

Each one will be different.
I've never come across one that is like the 'clique' that is so often described on MN - (and between them my dc have attended 7 separate schools, and I've worked in 4 different schools, so have had contact with quite a few). IME, they are a tiny, tiny minority of the parents, who work really hard to provide extra for all the dc at the school. They would all welcome more help.
There are 'the organisers', and then 'others who will help at events' without necessarily being able to, or wanting to go along t planning meetings, etc.

KitNCaboodle Mon 20-Nov-17 23:38:47

I find it really sad that people think PTAs are cliquey and I think it’s that general perception that prevents people from coming forward and helping out at events.
The sole aim of the PTA is to support schools in raising funds for things that would not otherwise be available to them. Even more important now there are drastic cuts to education.

KitNCaboodle Mon 20-Nov-17 23:39:53

*in education

bnotts Mon 20-Nov-17 23:46:06

Thought it would be cliquey. 420 kids in the school - only 8 of us on the PTA we all work at least part time as well. First meeting I went to ended up Treasurer. We are definitely not the cool popular Mums, it's not a clique we beg people to join. But we raise tonnes of money put on decent events including those for the wider community. We meet at 8pm after the kids are in bed. It's hard work but important!

ShiftyMcGifty Mon 20-Nov-17 23:48:00

Ours is desperate for help and will bite your hand off, if you volunteer on any capacity. Nobody wants to be the head/president though, because everyone knows it’s a thankless and never ending job.

Kerberos Mon 20-Nov-17 23:49:05

Ours is a lovely group. I'd hate to think we are cliquey.

dingdongdigeridoo Mon 20-Nov-17 23:57:46

Joined mine because I’m new to the area. Everyone is very welcoming and has been nice. But they have all known each other since their kids were babies so it’s daunting.

The one at DS old school was horrid. It was a naice area and run by two mean ladies whose kids didn’t even go to the school anymore. The only good thing about that PTA was that lots of dads got involved, which I’m told is rare, outside of setting up stalls etc.

WorkingBling Tue 21-Nov-17 00:28:00

I am always horrified to hear of cliquey PTAs. Ours definitely isn’t. Having said that, I wouldn’t say it’s a group you join to make friends - everyone is pleasant and welcoming and we can all chat and have a laugh, but it’s not like we are all now good friends.

Having said that, we are trying desperately hard to include more parents by asking them to think of and lead their own effortS and then providing them with support to achieve them (eg providing funds for purchasing supplies, interacting with school and class reps, advertising activities etc). And an unexpected side benefit is that these sub teams are really getting to know each other.

The only less pleasant element is that there are always parents wh criticise everything we do. Some of them are generally helpful and step up but always seem to have an opinion on what the committee is doing wrong (without being willing to join the committee) or there are the parents who never help out but complain about everything. I find that hard.

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