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advice pls. School not allowing PTA own bank account - can this work?

(32 Posts)
time2chat Tue 19-Jun-12 13:19:15

setting up new PTA as school hasnt one.
Few parents very keen, HT states you raise funds WE have all the money straight into school funding bank account. PTA cannot set up as charity and have to request money (we have riased) from HT when needed for supplies for next event etc.
Chair Governer supported the HT in this decision. Its their way or no way they said.

My question can this work?? Do any other schools run successfully like this. Been advised by other organisations in the know they not keen for us to go ahead, PTA will still be accountable for money if it goes missing even though the school have the money in their bank!

Few parents were keen - now very dispondent looking to retreat hastily! lol

prettybird Tue 19-Jun-12 13:21:19

Tell the school that you will have more scope to apply for extra grants/funds if you are set up as a separate entity.

time2chat Tue 19-Jun-12 13:28:04

Hi prettybird, done that but wouldnt budge - still their way or no way

Cokeaholic Tue 19-Jun-12 13:33:19

Sooooo, perhaps this is the reason the school doesn't have a fundraising PTA.

Perhaps other parents have reached this impasse before and thought, no thanks.

Could a compromise be reached with head/chair of governors being a counter signatory for funds withdrawal from PTA bank account.

Snowballed Tue 19-Jun-12 13:43:17

Have to say I haven't heard of this before. Why would they not want you to set up separately?

PatriciaHolm Tue 19-Jun-12 13:43:42

I would have said that's a no go unfortunately. It's appalling that some heads feel they are entitled to such control over funds raised voluntarily!

Sadly I would recommend stepping away rather than accept this arrangement, perhaps not before making some points about how much money the school is waving goodbye to - we raise £10k a year from 420 intake school for example.

Do any local schools have successful PTas run on normal lines you could suggest you head talks to?

prettybird Tue 19-Jun-12 13:56:03

It's different here in Scotland: we have a legal right to Parent Councils (which may or may not include teachers - it's up to the Parent Forum aka all the parents to decide when they set up the constitution) and the head teacher is required to attend meetings grin. It's also up to us if we decide that one of its roles is fundraising.

The downside is that Parent Councils are the closest we've got to School Boards (they replaced both PTAs and School Boards). The only meaningful "right" that they retain is the recruitment of the head teacher and depute head teacher (although that was really the only thing the School Board was able to do)

Scholes34 Tue 19-Jun-12 14:02:47

Have been treasurer for a nursery PTA and a primary school PTA and we had own bank accounts for both. The head of the nursery was also a signatory, but this was more for convenience than anything. Can't imagine an arrangement such as your school is proposing being workable. I would certainly feel I wasn't being trusted.

Even with your own bank account you rely an awful lot on the goodwill of parents to pay up front for some major expenses (again purely for convenience), and I would be wary of doing this if the school was controlling the purse-strings.

We sometimes make a loss on an event, as the PTA isn't always about fund-raising. How would the school handle this?

If the HT won't budge and there is still enough enthusiasm for a PTA, I'd be tempted to keep a very large petty cash system running!

staranise Tue 19-Jun-12 14:11:48

Agree with other comments - it sounds very odd and I don't see how it would work in practice eg, a lot of what we do isn't even fund-raising. Your HT is md to discourage a PTA to this extent - ours does loads for our school, raises £1000s and puts on great events for the children.

Also, setting up a charity is bureauscratic and restrictive (eg, haivng to have a constitution etc) but it means you can gift-aid donations/sponsorship, which is money for nothing.

Cokeaholic Tue 19-Jun-12 15:05:47

Might be worth pointing out the gift aid legislation input to the HT Aand CoG to see if that sways them.

Point out also that the PTA fundraising report will be made available to them on say a quarterly basis or something. They can look but they can't touch iykwim wink

admission Tue 19-Jun-12 17:42:40

I would not entertain this. The PTA should operate outside the school's jurisdiction as a charity with its own officers and chequebook. If the head teacher does not like this then you simply should not have a PTA.

Runoutofideas Tue 19-Jun-12 18:04:21

I am a PTA Treasurer and I wouldn't touch your arrangement with a bargepole. It is unworkable. I am often paying people back for things they have purchased for school events - does the HT really want to be bothered with receipts for napkins for a jubilee party for example?

I know schools, at the moment, have had their budgets slashed and I would be dubious of a HT who wants so much control, as the money may well be swallowed up in general school running costs, which should be supplied by the council.

We have a certain amount of control over what the funds are raised for. For example, our HT wanted to buy some fairly necessary standard furniture, but we decided that basics were not what the parents were intending the money to be for, and that the more of that that goes on, the more councils will be let off the hook for not adequately funding schools - pta money would then become vital for day to day running, which is not the intention.

ElbowFan Tue 19-Jun-12 18:17:24

I would second all the posts which say 'don't do it'.
Not only does the PTA as Parent/Teacher Association - note 'parent & teacher', not 'Head's slush fund' - want to have jurisdiction over its own funds, it will need to be accountable to the members with regard to how the money has been spent.
If funds are rolled into the school budget that cannot happen.
The Association can only be formed if it does have some sort of constititution and guidelines as to what committtee / members are allowed to do.
You could contact the National Confederation of PTAs for some advice
www.pta.org.uk/

prettybird Tue 19-Jun-12 20:05:43

One other thought: when is your next Ofsted inspection due? Don't know much about the English inspection system, but surely Ofsted won't be impressed by such lack of co-operation with the parents?

edam Tue 19-Jun-12 20:10:03

agree with everyone else, you'd be mad to do this. What the head is suggesting is highly dodgy. The LEA and Ofsted would not be impressed. I'm not sure it's even legal, tbh - but do use Elbow's link to get advice from the National Confederation of PTAs.

tinytalker Tue 19-Jun-12 20:38:10

I agree with everyone else. This would be unworkable and you would be unable to operate as a charity which does open doors when asking for raffle prizes and donations. If the Head wants this amount of control over the account then there is a danger the money will be used for things that the parents don't agree with like buildings maintenance etc.
If you have strong enough parent support and a good committee then do you need her permission? I agree the NCPTA's would be a great source of advice.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.

MustStartExercising Tue 19-Jun-12 20:53:07

Just to add a different point of view, our Infant School does do this and it works fine for us, but it has been like this for a long time. I am not sure I would necessarily recommend it but it does work for us.

It comes up for discussion periodically but no-one actually wants to be treasurer or change the system so it just gets left and everyone is happy.

We donate the money to the school for the school's use. They buy lots of craft materials, baking ingredients etc.

Our school administrator repays expenses etc.

I do know that the LA knows about it, we are Ofsted outstanding and the school has a financial award thing as well.

Lizcat Tue 19-Jun-12 21:31:33

Sounds like HT wants control over what the money is spent on and this will almost certainly be a stubbling block. It is worth pointing out the potential loss to the HT we are just shy of 500 pupils and have raised 35,000 per year for the last 5 years the school now has some truely fantastic play equipment and two beautiful outdoor classrooms as a result.

prettybird Tue 19-Jun-12 21:44:03

The difference muststartexercising is that the head teacher in this case is refusing to allow a PTA unless she has control over the bank account. She doesn't have that right - or shouldn't have and definitely doesn't in Scotland

Waswondering Tue 19-Jun-12 21:53:40

Wow! We have a PTA bank account which the Head is a signatory for (as someone said upthread, more for convenience than anything else!!). Also have a separate "100 Club" account too.

Head comes to our meetings with a wish list for funding and we consider these .... we've also piloted this year making a "float" of some PTA money being available in school so that class teachers can access eg £20 for random activity, which has worked well (obviously all receipted and reported).

Can you find out what neighbouring schools do and raise this with your Governors/HT?

RedBlanket Tue 19-Jun-12 21:59:30

I wouldn't be happy with it at all (I'm an officer for ours). What's the sticking point for the head? What do they think will Happen to the money in a PTA bank account?

Tbh I think using this as a general school slush is bad PR for the PTA and will discourage parents from donating. Parents want to see shiny New stuff their kids rave about (new books for the library, sports equipment, video cameras).

Lizcat -£35k in one year! Wow! Care to share some
Of your events?

time2chat Tue 19-Jun-12 22:18:24

Thank you all so much for your advice, I am backing out of this PTA now and because of this so have other members. PTA-Uk gave incredible advice and I would recommend them to anyone involved in PTA's. Sad fact now is the school doesnt have PTA and our kids are losing out!! arghhhh

Runoutofideas Wed 20-Jun-12 11:27:05

Would it be worth looking into a "Friends of x school" situation rather than a PTA as such... Not sure how it works, or the legal differences, but you may be able to raise money for the school and buy things for the children without involving the Head so much. Obviously the hT would still need to agree to have on site whatever equipment etc you bought. Then at least the children wouldn't miss out. This is such a shame, when parents are willing to help.

RiversideMum Wed 20-Jun-12 19:01:19

I think you have done the right thing in backing out. It sounds like the HT is quite insecure. It reminds me of a school I was once involved with where the HT banned the PTA because there were lots of underlying issues in the school and the PTA meetings became a bit of a talking shop for complaints about a whole range of things the parents felt the children were missing out on.

If you feel strongly about your kids missing out (which they are) then write a letter to the Chair of Govs (copy to parent Govs) asking why it is their policy to do this and sharing some of the information you have found out. I know the CofG has already agreed with the HT, but letters have to be read out at full Govs, so at least the other Govs would get to consider.

time2chat Fri 22-Jun-12 09:59:09

Hi Riverside mum, I think you are right that the HT thinks it will become a sounding board for complaints in the school. I wrote a letter to the CofG after our meet and handed it to her personally, so after your message I approached her in the playground this morn, for which she told me she couldnt talk as she is in a rush! 30 seconds I said so she stopped I mentioned my letter to her, and that I am aware because of my letter to her, it will now have to be discussed at the next Governors meeting - blank expression as she didnt know this! Asked when the next meeting is - blank expression - we dont know that yet! I thought meetings were scheduled at the end of the last meeeting, just what I thought could be wrong Im sure. Would I be able to know the outcome - I cant really answer that - arghhhhhh. The 'in a rush' CofG was chatting to another parent outside the playground, obviuosly not in that much of a rush. Ive rattled a few cages and now Im 'not to be spoken to'. Funny no matter how old you get some people never actually leave the playground!
If they see myself/PTA as a threat, then why do they, a few parents have now said what are they hiding then, its started to raise questions. Why cant we get involved, I mean the HT is NEVER in the playground, for the last 3 years she has never been seen unless you need an appointment and then you have to wait about 2 weeks. There is no 'community' in the school and it is very much them and us - what a shame. These are our kids, parents have approached me and said lets get a petition, but why should we have to fight to support or children and school. I think the HT and CofG now just see me a pain, someone they want to distance themselves from - even as much as a problem parent as I have challenged this issue. If Im as passionate as I am about starting a PTA for the children then does she not see that we could have been a real bonus to the school, or maybe thats it - shes threatened because she wont have control and that we may steal her glory
SORRY RANT OVER

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