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To think the PTA are a bit much?

(132 Posts)
Notreallyaninfluencer Tue 02-Apr-19 08:34:46

I probably am BU but bloody hell, so far this academic year I’ve paid out £70 for my two DC to attend four PTA events (two of them discos). There has also been several mufti days and a sponsored event at the end of the summer term. Does this seem a bit much? I’ve never paid out this much in previous years.

dementedpixie Tue 02-Apr-19 08:44:54

Did they need to go to the discos? Surely that's your choice to pay for them

babysharkah Tue 02-Apr-19 08:47:35

They didn't have to go to them though did they?

70 per child or between the two of them? It's only £16.50 per term if you break it down.

Pumperthepumper Tue 02-Apr-19 08:52:36

Are you on the PTA? If you are, why not raise it with them? I’m on ours and the thing most discussed is the cost of events and ways to bring them down for parents. If you’re not on the PTA, why not join and come up with some ideas yourself? Our school really relies on PTA funds.

Iggly Tue 02-Apr-19 08:54:11


There’s this thing called austerity which means schools have not enough money and rely on the PTA to plug gaps.

Plus your child doesn’t have to attend every event!

It is hard for the PTA - there’s a balance between raising funds and keep events at a price which is inclusive for all. But if they think most parents can and do pay then they’ll charge accordingly.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 02-Apr-19 08:54:57

That does seem quite a lot to me.

I guess it depends on whether this is semi-compulsory (eg bring in £X to come in non uniform) v what is optional (eg disco).

You don't have to do everything. The PTA will be trying to maximise fund raising (from which your children benefit), and not everything will appeal to everyone. Provided the semi-compulsory are small (e.g. £1 for mufti day), I think it is then up to you what else you get involved with.

IceRebel Tue 02-Apr-19 08:55:26

Our school really relies on PTA funds.

This is also very true in our school. Budgets are being squeezed tighter each year, and without the PTA funds our children would miss out on so many learning experiences.

BlingLoving Tue 02-Apr-19 08:57:38

The cost of events is usually hotly debated in pta meetings. If you feel it's getting out of hand, speak to a committee member to raise concerns. I think most schools are desperate for money so this is probably going to come up more and more.

Theknacktoflying Tue 02-Apr-19 09:03:56

I know schools are desperate for funds but the fundraising should go to enriching the school lives of the pupils not some fund the school dips in to fund some vanity project or be used where ‘normal’ funding has been cut.

My issue with the PTA funding is that I don’t want it spent on shittyily made equipment that then has to be trashed the next year ..

Did your kids enjoy the events?

Newyearnewname2019 Tue 02-Apr-19 09:05:51

£70 is a lot for 4 events but then it's cheap if that's what you've paid towards their schooling this year. We're lucky we have free education for each child. But schools are really struggling with funding. So many people moan about the PTA but fail to see the money raised goes towards their own children. Without the PTA they'd have far less then people would moan about that.

If you're finding it too expensive then wither limit the money you spend at each event or don't go to them all. But don't complain about a group of people trying to raise money to benefit children.

FudgeBrownie2019 Tue 02-Apr-19 09:08:12

DS8's school relies heavily - more now than ever before - on funding via the PTA. They have done incredibly well to raise the monies they have done so far, and I help wherever I can because that money goes right back into my child's school to support learning.

It's your choice if you send them to discos etc. You can opt out. But paying monies then resenting it when it goes towards something your own DC benefit from seems daft.

ALLMYSmellySocks Tue 02-Apr-19 09:16:15

I get what you mean OP - there's a pressure to attend these events and the money isn't easy to find for everyone. On the other hand schools need all the money they can get. Perhaps you can suggest an alternative money making idea to the PTA. Something that would tap the larger community for money instead of just the parents (e.g. car washing or something).

Pancakeflipper Tue 02-Apr-19 09:20:14

Our school is relying on the PTA more and more...used to be there for extras. Now it's for essentials as well like reading books, IT equipment for the latest curriculum etc.

There's also the charity stuff like Children in Need and local hospices etc...
I've noticed it becoming increasingly more but sadly until our school has more funding the other option is to go without.

Go to a few meetings and hear the discussions to why so many events and the cost working out and see the accounts. It's not being spent on gin cocktails at the local pub by the PTA chair and their cronies.

thistimeofyear Tue 02-Apr-19 09:24:54

Presumably your children enjoyed these events?
Have you ever volunteered yourself to be on the PTA or to help out at these events which are planned to be enjoyable fundraisers?
I think you sound quite selfish tbh

SEsofty Tue 02-Apr-19 09:25:08

Are school are fundraising for books. Books the basic fundamental of a primary school.

The government real term cuts to school funding are drastic and are reaching the point where schools are having to get rid of staff and cut hours just to balance the books.

There is nothing left

And therefore ptas are doing their best to fill the gap

What this means in reality is that middle class schools whose parents have disposable income are able to raise more than schools where parents are having to watch every penny. And the gap in facilities and experience just grows and grows.

The awful reality is that if funding continues as it is then it won’t be long before pta has to raise money to pay for teachers

Hoppinggreen Tue 02-Apr-19 09:27:08

Understand where you are coming from , our PTA has changed it’s direction this year and now on my pay for curriculum enrichment. We give up to £300 for each year group for them to have someone come in etc to support a topic they are doing. When we set up the PTA ate idea was to pay for extras but due to cuts we now find ourselves paying for things the School used to (such as Leavers tshirts). We won’t pay for repairs or equipment though.
We are also very careful about asking for money from parents and only have 1event per year where you have to pay to attend, the others are free with the option to spend money ( everyone does )
As for you being out of pocket I can bet the committee members of our PTA are much more out of pocket as we tend not to claim back for things (such as biscuits we sell at events) that we could.
If it’s a struggle Op then don’t attend the things that cost money such as discos and save your contributions for non uniform days etc.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 02-Apr-19 09:27:23

That's really nice of the PTA to give up their free time to organise so many events to raise money for all the children in the school. Your choice to attend. I presume you thanked them, and offer as much time to help as you can?

glenthebattleostrich Tue 02-Apr-19 09:28:45

I'm chair of my school pta.

We work hard to ensure the children get great events at a reasonable price. It's a balance between maximising fundraising and keeping costs to a minimum.

We use the funds on items requested by the school. At the moment we are fundraising for new sports and playground equipment (on top of our usual things) and will only use high quality suppliers to ensure the things we buy last. We would rather fundraise for an extra year than have a quick win.

FrenchJunebug Tue 02-Apr-19 09:31:25

my school also relies on PTA events to pay for things. You do not have to go to them but your child benefit from the money that is raised.

StripyHorse Tue 02-Apr-19 09:34:56

School funding makes me so mad!

No, not being asked to help out, but just how dire the situation is that heads are having to make heartbreaking decisions. They are no longer in a position that they can decide to do what is best for the children, they have to pick the 'least worst' option. Redundancies, half days, TA's covering lessons etc.

I bet your children's teachers have spent more than £20 per term of their own money (between buying resources, treats andcontributing to the PTA events themselves not to mention giving up their own time to help run these events).

It's crap, but blame those who hold the budgets, not the PTA members giving up their time to help.

lola006 Tue 02-Apr-19 09:42:25

I’m a PTA Chair. We spend a lot of time thinking about how to price events, remembering that they aren’t compulsory. We can’t make losses, we don’t want to exclude anyone, we want to say yes to the things teachers and the SLT want. It’s very tricky.

I agree with a pp though, have you thanked any PTA members lately for giving up their time for free to run events your children presumably enjoy? Have you volunteered?

ILoveMaxiBondi Tue 02-Apr-19 09:46:29

My Dc moved school a few years ago and j was shocked at the difference between the PTAs in the two schools! New school PTA is constantly having raffles, non uniform days, discos, Friday treats and every single school assembly and event (nativity play etc) has a PTA stall selling masses of stuff. It’s quite intense tbh. I dread to think how much I’ve given to the PTA since September.

mummyhaschangedhername Tue 02-Apr-19 09:52:16

I am assuming it was all voluntary? We run a lot of events as a PTA, all voluntary, school discos are after school, so no one needs to attend that. It's a very busy school so there is a lot of costs for kids, trips, charity days, etc but that's all school not PTA. We tend to stick to after school discos or movie nights and raffles, we also have photo for Christmas and one other event.

However we fully fund or partially fund trips for the children, we provide gifts and prizes for things like world book day, Easter, etc. We buy equipment such as climbing frames, football posts, we purchase new books for the library, we purchases school subscriptions etc.

Frankly we really try to limit costs to parents and school will often cancel/postpone our events if they feels too much has been asked from parents. It is a lot of things all the time, I have 4 children so I've spends way over £100 since September on trips alone, that cost would have been higher without PTA support. The PTA try to do things the kids will enjoy, it's not all about the money, we ask the child what sort of activities they want and we provide that.

In addition, as members of the PTA we give up a lot of time, energy and money ourselves to fund it. None of us have a lot of money, but we try and enhance the activities by purchasing things ourselves or donating things. Most raffle prizes we purchase out of our own pockets, at Christmas the chair spent over £200 buying popular toys and selling them all at half price so parents could afford to get their children Christmas gifts, we bought the decorations ourselves, we did a sponsored reading event and I purchased sweets and bookmarks for every child who participated.

Don't get me wrong, I sometimes cringe when I have to go in with money to purchase trips and other things, it does cost a lot, but I would be surprised if any school didn't do this. Our last school didn't do any trips which was disappointing but they had a non uniform days every month to supplement their budget! Thankfully we have never done this.

We do try and keep costs low, we have £1 enter or free entry and they charge for tuck shops etc price sweets at 10p etc to keep things as low as possible, but we always have a parent at least find fault with something each time, glitter tattoos are too expensive (£1), or we didn't serve tea and coffee, or we ran out of popcorn, or we split discos or didn't split discos, that raffle tickets should be 20p (5 for £1) instead of £1 each (can't see why the odds are the same though because 5 is more chances 🙈). Everyone so quick to complain but slow to offer help.

Theknacktoflying Tue 02-Apr-19 09:52:54

I really think there needs to be a rethink of PTA funding. I remember having lots of convos when I was on the PTA about pricing and making sure that the PTA stuck to its intentions of enriching the learning of pupils rather than going to some vanity project ..

There a schools that have a school fund set up (with gift aid) where monies are used to cover school costs and extras.This isn’t the PTA funding and completely separate.

mummyhaschangedhername Tue 02-Apr-19 09:59:49

I can also guarantee that in my child each teacher has spent more than you supplying essentials for the class. Our teachers come in in holidays and paint their own classrooms and communal areas, they big prizes for kids as well as essentials like pencils.

As I say, I do understand, I have even cringed at having to take cash out to pay for everything the children attend/school asks for, but I decided to move to a more pro active school as I wanted my children to have these experiences. I love that they go on trips, I love that they have discos and movie nights and that they love the entire school experience and feel like their voices are heard. I think there is a balance and it is hard to fund all these things all the time, but it's either that or the children don't get these experiences, which would you rather? Would you prefer there were no school discos? Etc?

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