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PTA being dictated to by Governors

(114 Posts)
carolbfd74 Sun 13-Dec-15 23:35:36

Just a thought: does anyone know how much the school Governors are allowed to dictate exactly HOW the PTA are allowed to fundraise for the school? e.g. events allowed, sale of alcohol, prizes offered etc.? Just curious how much the Governors can "interfere"? Especially if a lot of them don't have children at the school.....? curious as to answers. x

fatowl Sun 13-Dec-15 23:48:37

Governor here, but as a disclaimer I am not in the UK.

The role of the Governors is to plan strategically for the best interests and sustainability of the school.

My understanding of any monies the PTA raise are "extras".

I can't imagine my Board getting involved unless there were very large amounts involved which could seriously alter the direction of the school.

eg- enough money to recruit extra staff members or build/rennovate a large section of the school? - yes, involve the governors to make sure the strategic aims are in line with where all this extra money is going?

Raffle prizes or donations of new books for the library? Shouldn't be given the barest nod in a Governors meeting (if that even)

As I said, I'm not in the UK, so not sure of the alcohol rule. Don't you need a licence? That might be a Governors issue (possibly).

Berthatydfil Sun 13-Dec-15 23:49:29

Of course they can.
The PTA or anyone else for that matter can only use the school with permission, and those activities should be approved within reason by the GB.
They are in charge of the school legally and they may not want alcohol on sale if they weren't sure it was Legal or if it would cause antisocial behaviour.
Not sure so much about prizes unless again there would be any comeback to the school eg if item was defective or stolen.
They may not want certain activities taking place on school premises such gambling or drag artist etc either because the premises may require certain legal licenses or they may disapprove of those activities if they aren't in keeping with the schools culture.
Do you have any specific examples.?

fatowl Sun 13-Dec-15 23:51:07

As regards to events- I'd say as long as you are not breaking the law, or bringing the school into disrepute in some way, no it is not their concern.

You're not planning crack parties or raves I assume?

carolbfd74 Sun 13-Dec-15 23:54:53

I am interested in views relating to if all activities are legal and correctly licensed. Is curtailment of those activities a GB issue? x

fatowl Sun 13-Dec-15 23:58:34

Maybe if you gave an example, I could let you know what I would think as a Governor.

Our school had a quiz night once, during which a fight broke out. Some people take quiz nights very seriously!
So it's not happened again. This was a school managment decision though (not a Board one)
Shame as it was a good fundraiser

fatowl Mon 14-Dec-15 00:00:27

Actually, come to think of it, I think they still have the quiz night, but not on school premises anymore

BoboChic Mon 14-Dec-15 00:03:42

PTAs are not on equal footing with Governors in the hierarchy of most schools (there are exceptions). Apart from anything else, Governors have responsibilities that PTAs need to respect.

carolbfd74 Mon 14-Dec-15 00:04:18

Goodness me, we have had some "interesting" behaviour at quiz nights (blimey don't they take it seriously!) but nothing aggressive, apart from easily deflected banter at the quiz master i.e. me. I am more curious as to whether a GB has ever sanctioned an event due to it being non inclusive (alcohol, alcohol recovery, religion) and what the PTA's response was? x

fatowl Mon 14-Dec-15 00:10:46

If you are talking about alcohol being served and someone objecting on the grounds of religion/addiction/potential underage drinking, I'm probably not the best person to answer as we can't have alcohol on site due to the country where I am. (alcohol is legal, just not in a school)

If it's an equivalent scenario, we just had a our Christmas Fair, where various outside food caterers were sold pitches, we allowed non-halal food as long as it was labelled as such. But this was common sense, not a Board issue.

Is that any help?

Sprink Mon 14-Dec-15 00:13:37

Speaking for our school, it's the headteacher who would have authority to refuse an event (on school grounds) or activity or sponsor that s/he found unsuitable. The governor's aren't really decision makers for the running of the school.

My assumption has always been that the PTA (in our case, as a registered charity) would be allowed to perform any form of fundraising it saw fit, especially activities away from school property. However, the headteacher and deputy headteacher both sit on the PTA committee so everything is transparent.

I'm very curious to know what kinds of things you're thinking, OP, especially if this is a specific, real situation.

Cressandra Mon 14-Dec-15 00:43:30

I don't know, but I would be surprised if PTA events could go ahead without the say-so of someone on the school side. I'd have assumed HT if I'm honest.

On school premises obviously the HT can just say no. Off it, well, I think something can be legal and have correct licenses but be inappropriate. Examples - chippendales style show, casino arguably (especially if a religious school), anything that excludes less well off families or has overtones of eg racism. Anything that's at odds with the school's ethos. Surely someone at the school gets to veto events done in the school's name, as it were. I'd expect it only to become a governor issue if the HT says no and the PTA appeal over his/her head (?). Otherwise what the HT says goes. But that's only a guess.

carolbfd74 Mon 14-Dec-15 01:13:54

Really interesting comments - I love Mumsnet so much! Our PTA is a registered charity, all events take place on school site. It's not a religiously affiliated school. No members of staff bar the head (1 old, 1 new), and one Yr1/2 teacher have been to a PTA meeting since 2008. The Chair of Governors came to the AGM in 2014 due to a financial grant application which needed to be presented to the committee, but has never been before - to my knowledge - or since. I am curious, as Chair, as to whether I have any authority at all to say; hang on, this event, which serves alcohol (the main GB bugbear), raises £400+ (from the alcohol sales) for the school so why are you banning it, and can we override?

Cressandra Mon 14-Dec-15 01:29:50

I think you need to talk to the head.

fatowl Mon 14-Dec-15 01:31:55

Does a school need a licence to sell alcohol, and if yes who is the licencee?
They would have the final say I would imagine

fatowl Mon 14-Dec-15 01:45:46

Getting off topic a bit- our Governors/staff don't attend PTA meetings (although the deputy head is their main point of contact etc), but out PTA Chair has a vote on the Board and attends Governors meetings- that's how we link ourselves.

ElinorRochdale Mon 14-Dec-15 02:18:29

Surely everyone needs a licence to sell alcohol. There may also be regulations about having alcohol on the premises. The county council where I live has within the last year introduced new rules saying no alcohol on any of their premises. The organisation I'm involved with couldn't have wine with its Christmas buffet lunch because it was held on county council premises. A HT couldn't overrule the county council if they said no alcohol on school premises.

BondJayneBond Mon 14-Dec-15 03:12:40

If it's about alcohol, could it be a licensing problem?

Or about regulations barring alcohol?

lougle Mon 14-Dec-15 06:02:16

Governors have a strategic role, but are legally responsible for the school. They manage the HT via performance management. The HT is responsible for the operational control of the school.

PTAs don't operate independently of the school. The PTA offers funds and proposes purchases, but the school can accept or decline.

In terms of alcohol vs non-alcohol, I think that the GB can veto it if it will undermine the strategy of the school. If their strategy is to become more inclusive and serving alcohol would prevent the attendance at the event by a particular group of people, then the GB could veto on the grounds that it undermines their strategy.

£400 isn't worth setting back the progress towards inclusion. As the PTA you'd be better to work with the GB rather than against it.

lougle Mon 14-Dec-15 06:03:08

Also, all Governors are equal. Having children at the school is irrelevant (I say that as a parent governor).

IguanaTail Mon 14-Dec-15 06:13:16

Yes the GB can ban alcohol if they wish. The GB agree and set the policies and the HT and school (and of course the PTA) have to operate within that framework.

Normally it comes from the HT and the GB ratify his/her decisions.

madwomanbackintheattic Mon 14-Dec-15 06:40:30

We aren't allowed alcohol on school premises, so all fundraisers are dry. There are other parameters too, but they are usually due to insurance concerns or similar (ie car wash or dog wash wasn't going to fly, because of the danger of promise to a) property, or b) people!!!)
Having been on both sides, there are usually fairly good reasons why the GB might step in and amend suggestions. I do get that it can be a pain in the neck when you are raring to go, though. I actually find the idea of serving alcohol on school premises really odd now.

madwomanbackintheattic Mon 14-Dec-15 06:41:23

(And as the GB are heavily involved in hiring the HT, lol...)

JWIM Mon 14-Dec-15 06:54:47

Our School Site (hire) use policy specifically requires Governors permission to serve or sell alcohol for any event. Main reason is to ensure correct license is held, safeguarding reminder to hirer about alcohol and children not to be served/have access to alcohol.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Mon 14-Dec-15 07:11:58

I don't see how you can override, our PTA is not allowed to run anything without HT approval, the same would go for the GB.

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