How to improve our PTA(8 Posts)
Ours is a smallish village primary with a good atmosphere and active PTA. We've got a headteacher who is pretty keen and general goodwill amongst staff. Also have a full complement of governors, good parental involvement etc.
What lets us down is (and I know it's a common problem) lack of communication.
Things seem to get organised through long established back channels, and things often crop up where people claim to have not known about xyz... I know the headteacher is a bit frustrated, even though we're a generally effective and happy PTA.
Our treasurer, previously very keen and on top of most things, has gone really quiet and I've not heard from her for ages. Headteacher has recently become less available and frequently forgets/doesn't do things we've arranged. It's all a bit peculiar.
We're still ticking along but it's getting to a busy time of year now and people are going very quiet on me - I'm chair at the moment, and feeling a little bit deserted!
Any words of wisdom?
Our PTA has its own Facebook page...Seems to work well
Can you do a new, completely different event which can't be organised by the established back channels? Or put events/requests for help in the school newsletter?
We have a Facebook page. It's normally well used. I try to post pre and post every event and also write about spending etc. I advertise meetings and our sec posts the minutes there. Headteacher isn't on it obviously so tends to miss out, but is emailed the minutes.
We don't have regular newsletters. The headteacher occasionally puts one out but there's no consistency. We advertise events on FB, via leaflets in bookbags and posters up around school. We've also recently started using parentmail to get the word out.
Because it's a small school the same faces crop up all the time. Some people are a parent and member of staff and do PTA. Governors are also heavily involved parents etc.
I'm trying to organise a new event in the summer but it's difficult to get new people on board with it - the common perception is that the PTA runs itself... which it does largely as the core contributors are very experienced (I'm quite new).
When it all goes quiet, like now, I'm in the dark, and the headteacher doesn't know what's going on... and mithers me.
Do you mean communication within the PTA? In which case you'd have a meeting and find out what's going on?
We have the same issue of communication with parents. We've recently decided that the only way to get through to them is to stand up at the beginning of every event parents are at (non-PTA so school plays/meetings/assemblies/carol evenings etc) and spend 2 minutes saying "we've done this to raise money for this, we have this much more to raise, or we've bought this" etc.. Nobody wants to do it, the same as nobody actually wants to approach parents in the playground and ask them to volunteer, but nothing else seems to work. We put things in the regular school newsletter and send out our own, plus the school will send emails and texts to parents on our behalf, but parents still seem not to know what we have coming up or why we're bothering to do it in the first place. All v frustrating...
Our pta have started a Facebook group for big events, Christmas bazaar, summer fete etc. Mostly just pta members and regular helpers invited to the group, but others can and are added where they have an interest or contribution.
In previous years, for example, there's been at least 4 or 5 meetings prior to the Christmas bazaar to organise it. This year the chair said, virtual meeting on fb at this time, on this day. The whole thing was pretty much organised on fb with those who weren't able to log in at the time, able to see everything that had been said and needed doing. Also much easier to join in and comment on fb at home than actually go out of the house to a meeting.
I have some suggestions. I'm probably going to come across as a little flippant but here you go...
- Make sure that whatever the PTA does it benefits the whole school. When we first joined the school, it was all about raising funds for Year 6 leaving activities. We actually got a letter at one point that said "If you don't support the PTA we can't subsidise Year 6 activities". Made many parents really quite cross and seemed to be a bit of a turning point.
- Consider the times of events. Our Christmas and Summer Fairs are after school on a Friday. Working parents often struggle to get there, all the stalls are decimated within an hour.
- Although all are nominally invited to PTA meetings, the reality is that only the 'core' are welcomed. Sadly my friends tried to engage but weren't even included on the minutes. I can never make meetings due to a prior commitment so I'd like to see their FB page become a channel for engagement.
- Accept offers of help. Unless you're in that core, your help isn't accepted. I gave up on even volunteering when my offer of help wasn't taken up. They put out a call on their FB page, I offered, no one got back to me, then I had to listen to the page admins ranting in the playground that no one was helping.
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