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PTA deadlock!

(69 Posts)
drizzletits Mon 01-Apr-19 04:04:34

I need some perspective and not sure this is the right place but it's worth a shot.

And by the way this is the sort of thing that is making me feel like I regret taking the chair position for the primary school PTA because it's like a political minefield.

The primary school has traditionally run their summer fete on a Friday, immediately after school for 2 hrs. Last year it was an exception and on a Saturday to raise extra funds for play equipment and the 80th anniversary. It was a huge success and a lot of feedback and requests to do it on a Saturday going forward, because parents who worked through the week, could actually attend.

I chaired the proposal and was told the head wouldn't allow it as she can't force her teachers to help on a Saturday, but I insisted that I wouldn't expect anyone to be forced. Had a chat with the head and said if she could just find out who would be able to help then we could fill the gaps if we had advanced noticed. She agreed.

Back to the committee and they push for another vote via Facebook but the algorithm changed so didn't get any responses at all. We agreed I'd look at available Saturdays. Managed to find one. Next meeting everyone agrees although there's a few that can't help on the day because of birthdays or clubs for kids. 2 out of 7. We had already booked a face painter and some swing boats and a merry go round for a provisional Friday date, so we agreed to contact the suppliers and try and change the dates.

Then, through the PTA WhatsApp group the messages started to try and undo the committee decision. Or that's how it reads.

The face painter is already booked for the new date and the fairground rides are booked for the next door village fete so not available. Then came the "oooo we will
Loose lots of people from the village fete " and we need to remember we are not doing a special fete as it's not a big year to raise lots of funds, it was a lot of hard work and let's stick to the original plan.

It's only coming from 3 members of the committee but they are the longest serving and are refusing to acknowledge a different Saturday.

I feel like I've been given excuse after excuse not to move it and they are determined to be difficult. Should I back down or stick to the feedback from parents?

Trying not to be biased, but a high proportion of parents can't or won't take time off work on a Friday to come and enjoy it. We won't get as many volunteers to help and those that do volunteer would have to find someone to look after their children or look after them whilst helping. I don't know of any other school in the town that has theirs on a weekday either. But this is all fairly new to me so please, any advice?

BlackCatSleeping Mon 01-Apr-19 04:22:46

Which one should we post on, OP? 😂

From experience PTA bods hate change. I do think it may be a problem that the summer fair is on the same day.

No matter what you decide, people will be upset, so you just need to make a decision and stick to it. You’re the head of the PTA, if you want to try Saturday again, go for it. People will whine, but stay firm that this is the decision and it’s all been booked.

drizzletits Mon 01-Apr-19 04:30:21

I got an error message when pressing post saying the connection to the server was slow and to try again. So I did lol


Thank you for picking one to reply to lol

twoheaped Mon 01-Apr-19 04:34:00

We did Friday at my kid's primary one year, the attendance was crap on the Friday one.

TheoriginalLEM Mon 01-Apr-19 04:51:05

I was secretary if my dd's PTA. My God, the politics!!!

From experienc, fairs on a Friday turn into a non-event. It is actually much harder to get help as people's partners tend to be working so can't take care of the kids.

We used to stick a list up in staff room of stalls that need manning and teachers would volunteer, we would then fill the considerable gaps with parents.

We would not be allowed to clash with the church fete but would often clash with other schools/churches and it never really made a difference.

We kept the caretaker and kitchen staff happy and that meant they were happy to open up the school so we could use facilities.

We were good at raising money and as such the requests from the school were not insignificant- think 30k targets!! So we made sure the school supported us.

DD is at secondary school now. I was approached by their PFA i politely declined ran away i don't miss it!

Margot33 Mon 01-Apr-19 05:08:24

I think Saturday's better too. But i wouldn't have it on the same day as the village fete.

BlackCatSleeping Mon 01-Apr-19 05:33:09

Start with the fairground rides. What Saturday can they do? Can the facepainter also do that date? Facepainters are easier to find that fairground rides. When you find a date that the fairground rides can do, check there is nothing else on locally and lock down that date Some people will complain that they can't do it, but it doesn't matter.

Put out requests to everyone for volunteers from all the parents and staff. Hopefully you will get some good responses for a Saturday.

But I think getting a date to suit the fairground rides people is your first priority.

floribunda18 Mon 01-Apr-19 05:47:14

Saturday is clearly much better and it will be a more successful event. Don't rely on teachers to help, it's nice if they can come but hardly a three line whip. You need parent class representatives for every class in the school, and they take a stall each, and get parents of kids in their kids class to help them. Then sell some stalls for local businesses.

reefedsail Mon 01-Apr-19 05:57:45

You say you wouldn't expect teachers to be forced to attend, but that's not the reality of it.

What actually happens is that it is mentioned with increasing frequency in staff meetings and, approaching the time, starts to be accompanied by the Headteacher's sad-face. She reminds everyone the sign-up sheet is on her office door and she glances at it whenever you walk by. Eventually, everyone is reminded of their need to meet the Teacher's Standard to 'support the corporate life of the school' and you give in and clear your diary.

Friday after school.

Ruru8thestars Mon 01-Apr-19 05:58:19

Our school just held their biennial fair - it was on a Saturday to get the numbers in and I was there from 2-7:30. I see that as part of my role as a teacher. The Saturday meant that we raised just shy of 30k - well worth it in my opinion.

PumpkinPie2016 Mon 01-Apr-19 06:05:01

Definitely do a Saturday - but choose one that doesn't clash with the village fete as I agree you will lose a lot of people to that.

Find out when the fairground rides can come and get them booked first and then do everything else.

There will always be someone who can't make it/wants a different day so you just have to go with the majority.

floribunda18 Mon 01-Apr-19 06:18:38

What actually happens is that it is mentioned with increasing frequency in staff meetings and, approaching the time, starts to be accompanied by the Headteacher's sad-face.

Tough shit. Not the OP's problem.

Ihatehashtags Mon 01-Apr-19 06:32:01

Screw the three lone voices. They’re just a squeaky wheel and not the majority vote. Hold it on a Saturday

IceRebel Mon 01-Apr-19 06:56:50

Tough shit. Not the OP's problem.

Of course it's the OPS problem. It seems like several members of the PTA don't want to help, so if the teachers also refuse she won't have enough helpers to run the event.

The teachers / teaching staff will end up volunteering their Saturday due to guilt trips, surely that isn't going to promote a good relationship between the staff and PTA.

avocadochocolate Mon 01-Apr-19 07:00:46

Hold it Saturday. It's a fundraising event and you earn more money on a Saturday.

topcat2014 Mon 01-Apr-19 07:04:51

Have you asked roped the school governors in as well?

A Saturday is a much better option.

Mind you, for ours I can't recall that much help being required from the teaching staff, although several choose to attend as visitors.

BellMcEnd Mon 01-Apr-19 07:04:57

Saturday definitely! I really don’t get the idea of school fairs in a Friday. We also don’t expect the teachers to run any stalls. A lot of them come and help out but it’s coneteky voluntary

BellMcEnd Mon 01-Apr-19 07:06:03

And YY about the politics!! Honestly, brexit has nothing on some of the craziness of PTAs!

HidingFromDD Mon 01-Apr-19 07:07:15

Saturday, but avoid the clashing with the village fete

tinytemper66 Mon 01-Apr-19 07:07:44

Resign and say sort it out amongst yourselves!

Iggly Mon 01-Apr-19 07:09:49


Not in our school.

Saturdays are more popular for parents and raises more money.

PTAs are there to raise money.

So Saturday it should be!

OP just make the decision. Soothe the egos of the stubborn members but keep to the plan.

FenellaMaxwell Mon 01-Apr-19 07:12:40

Hang on - if 3 out of 7 are moaning about the date and 2 out of 7 can’t do it, does that leave just 2 of you on board with the plan? I think it should be a Saturday if you really want to raise money, but not the same day as the village fete.

user1494050295 Mon 01-Apr-19 07:15:35

Our school raises £16k+ the fair is on a Saturday and parents are all on board to help. Particularly the fathers. A neighbouring school has their fair onafriday and raisesabout £4k. It's a no brainer re income voluntary participation and attendance. I would pushfor saturday

CrumpetyTea Mon 01-Apr-19 07:17:22

Definitely a Saturday - but not clashing with the village fete.

I think you have to be quite formal in these things- eg put it to a vote in the committee meeting and minute the vote- or even in a general AGM to avoid being cliquey.
Its a lot of effort to do and get volunteers - the key being to structure it so volunteers aren't there all day long

drizzletits Mon 01-Apr-19 07:18:02

Great, with the responses I've had so far I'm feeling motivated to stick to a Saturday but change the date so it doesn't clash.

It's a small school of 200 pupils so I'm
astounded some make £30k. I'm confident that if we share the load we can get bookings for activities.

The Xmas fete was 3pm when school finished and indoors and it was hideous. I found it so stressful Trying to set up whilst the kids were still on the school classrooms.

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