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Is your PTA truly a pTa?

(140 Posts)
emkana Sat 05-Mar-11 00:27:20

Ie do the teachers get involved? And if they don't, do you feel they should do more, or do you think they're busy enough as it is?

CrispyCakeHead Sat 05-Mar-11 00:48:51

Our teachers aren't very involved at all. Some of them pitch in at our annual summer fair, but we have a few other events throughout the year and there is very little presence at all sad

In fact we organised a craft fair for the very first time last November, and not one single member of staff showed up.

Now I do realise that they are probably sick of the sight of the place by Friday and that giving up some of their Saturday is the last thing they want to do, but I think it sends a pretty poor message to the parents, who we struggle to get involved at the best of times. I think more teacher involvement would lead to a much more vibrant PTA, and consequently more money raised, which would mean more could be given to the school. I think the teachers forget that the money is for their benefit as well as that of the pupils.

CrispyCakeHead Sat 05-Mar-11 00:50:03

and some would say that the PTA is more of a PITA!!!

RoadArt Sat 05-Mar-11 07:20:15

It is really important that you involve the teachers before you decide to organise an event where you expect their help

If they buy into it and its not in the middle of report writing, assessments, or other essential school activities they are more likely to want to help

Quite often PTAs organise events and then tell the teachers afterwards, therefore excluding them from any input. Teachers have a life as well and its important to get them involved on their terms.

RoadArt Sat 05-Mar-11 07:29:37

You could perhaps do a questionnaire to the teachers asking them for their opinions, what they want the PTA to do, what they want to be involved in, what they cant help with, when are good and bad times to hold events.

I have known pta events to held on dates where teachers are at conferences/training sessions or school trips when its impossible for teachers to be present, then the pta moan

mrz Sat 05-Mar-11 08:10:41

No! They hold meetings during school hours so staff can't attend and don't inform staff about what they have decided and because the teachers are not consulted about dates for events they organise it means they often clash with/ disrupt the daily working of the school.

mrz Sat 05-Mar-11 08:11:29

I would also say they don't include most parents

deepdarkwood Sat 05-Mar-11 08:39:07

No, this is a problem we're struggling with too.

Interested in teacher comments on this one ... we set dates a year in advance in consultation with the school, so (whilst obviously I get that any particular date is not going to be convenient for any particular teacher) I'm not sure there's loads more we can do there - the head, office & deputy get our weekly update emails (would love to send to all teachers, but email addresses not forthcoming, and I think that's fair enough!).

Those teachers who are saying we need to involve you more in planning - how would that work in practical terms, as we can't go round talking to every teacher about every event - letter up in the staffroom for comments??

My suspicion is that this is the sort of thing that just about the school's cultural expectations, which is really hard to challenge.

TheFlyingOnion Sat 05-Mar-11 08:45:38

As a new teacher I feel like I have enough to do, without turning up to school on a Saturday to man a stall at a craft fair into which I have had no input. Bear in mind I am often catching up with planning all of Sunday afternoon, so Saturday might be the only time I have to clean the house, do the shopping, see friends etc.

In my experience a lot of the PTA members are mums who don't work outside the house and they simply have more time (and inclination) than I do to get involved....

Maybe you could gatecrash the weekly staff meeting (usually held after school) to canvas opinion, or maybe appoint someone to go to the staff meeting when you have something to organise, like a liaison person?

spanieleyes Sat 05-Mar-11 08:53:27

I'm a teacher and a member of the PTA too, although I don't get to many meetings, simply because I have school meetings most evenings! The Head and a TA are also members. There are staff at EVERY PTA event ( even tho' we are a small school of only 4 teachers and 4 TAs). Some events we take on rota-I do the bingo evenings, my colleague the discos. Most events we have pretty much a full turnout of staff, Christmas and Summer Fairs, Easter Celebrations. Yes, Saturday events can be tricky, we do want to see our own families sometimes! But as long as we have enough notice and nothing clashes we turn out as much as we can, it's our school too after all!

mrz Sat 05-Mar-11 08:53:36

Our PTA organised THREE events in the first week of term (two during school hours which involved them interrupting the lessons) argh!

Gottakeepchanging Sat 05-Mar-11 09:00:17

Just change it to be a friends of xxx school.

That way older community members who have time spare can get involved. Works a treat.

Some Teachers find the PTA challenging as they are often very cliquey. Some mums try and be their friend as that isn't appropriate. If teachers go to say a disco they end up controlling behaviour as mums smile indulgently at the edge etc

Many teachers go to one thing a year to show willing. Most parents have no involvement at all with the PTA. Rather than knocking the teachers why not get all tne parents involved.

Often things clash with family life- valentines or Halloween disco- many teachers are mums and probably at their own childrens PTA event,

mrz Sat 05-Mar-11 09:05:32

I think new parents find the PTA very cliquey too (although ours is called Friends of XxXXXXX school)

CameronCook Sat 05-Mar-11 09:06:22

Very little teacher involvement - the Head just green lights stuff, however what they do do that is great, is involve the DCs in deciding what stuff they would like to do - eg disco / egg hunt and also what they would like to spend the money that they raise on.

mrz Sat 05-Mar-11 09:07:40

I should add they work damn hard and raise much needed funds to buy extras but they have become a bit of a juggernaut

Gottakeepchanging Sat 05-Mar-11 09:10:24

I do often wonder whether mums net should set up a section called teacher bashing. It does seem to be a very popular subject. It could have sub categories specifically linked to their general failures in reading, streaming, g&t etc

collision Sat 05-Mar-11 09:10:59

Ours is ******School Association because no teachers are involved but then again I wouldnt expect the teachers to be involved.

As parents we want to raise money for the school for new things for all the children and as the teachers do not get a say in how the funds are spent I wouldnt really expect them to have to raise the money too.

The HT expects most teachers to support the Fete in Summer and Bazaar at Xmas and a SLT is around for Film Night and the Disco.

Suits us fine.

Bunbaker Sat 05-Mar-11 09:16:11

We have 11 members on our PTA committe, two of whom are teachers. The other teachers help out at the Chrsitmas and summer fairs on stalls, but it is the parent members who set up and clear up afterwards, so our teachers only have to give up a couple of hours of their time twice a year.

As a PTA we only meet up about half a dozen times a year to organise fund raising activities. I am lucky that at DD's school we currently have some really supportive parents. (I am secretary at the moment).

Panzee Sat 05-Mar-11 09:25:29

I see little enough of my son as it is. If you organise something on a Saturday, don't expect me to help. If you did a fair or a car wash or something I'd come and join in. But I still wouldn't help!

collision Sat 05-Mar-11 09:27:46

My boys love it when I help at events though Panzee. Would your son not like it?

RoadArt Sat 05-Mar-11 09:34:20

So the message that comes across is involve the teachers and get feedback from them and see how they would want to be involved BEFORE you commit to something.

I know that teachers are extremely busy, but many would like to be involved in events, but the timing often means they cant be, and then they are criticised.

If you think the PTA is too clicky, then join it and get your friends to join so that the clicky group dont have all the power. They are not always so clicky, just parents who want to help the school and feel that everyone else should want to as well. You often find its a group of friends who become the PTa, so if you dont like it,it is up to you to change it

sofaaddict Sat 05-Mar-11 09:37:56

I'm a teacher and we are all expected to attend PTA events, but not to actually help iyswim. A couple of teachers choose to belong to the PTA and help, attend meetings etc. For example, if the PTA arranged a craft evening as OP had done, we'd ALL have to go along, show our faces, buy things if wanted, but only the staff on the committee would stay, help, organise. Also, if the craft evening had an entry fee we wouldn't be expected to pay that. Not many people grumble about having to show up and support in this way, but then there aren't that many events which helps. [grins].

sofaaddict Sat 05-Mar-11 09:38:44

Ooops. grin

Panzee Sat 05-Mar-11 09:40:01

He's only 20 months collision! Maybe in a few years

alittlebitshy Sat 05-Mar-11 09:45:17

Ours is called the PA rather than the PTA but (according to dh who is on it) several teachers are involved. At dd's old school where it was a PTA the only teacher ever to show her face was the head.

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