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PTA and Facebook

(29 Posts)
FirstTimerDaisy Sun 28-Feb-16 14:31:38

I'm keen to establish Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds for my DC's Primary School PTA.

It seems like a great way to keep parents, particularly working parents who aren't at the school gates so often, informed about events the PTA is organising and so in turn help strengthen the community of parents at school. We could also big up the achievements of the children and the school.

Obviously there is the issue of photographs of children which need to be carefully monitored, or even totally avoided by posting pictures of 'things' rather than children.

What else do we need to be mindful of? Previous threads on this topic appear to be a couple of years old and I want to gauge public/parent feeling on the matter.

TeenAndTween Sun 28-Feb-16 15:13:21

I think an information only system could work well.

I would be wary of anything where there is 'feedback' that could quickly turn constructive criticism into bitchiness and negativity.

Does your school not use any texting or twitter at the moment? At our school the PTA can request the school to text/tweet reminders. Does the school not already publicise children's achievements?

I absolutely agree re photographs. Pictures published by the school have to be checked against permission lists. I would expect a PTA page to be similarly careful (and that would be difficult to ensure).

VikingVolva Sun 28-Feb-16 15:24:43

You need to be mindful that not everyone uses those platforms, and if your aim is to inform everybody then you need to ascertain who needs to be informed separately and make sure that is done.

lborolass Sun 28-Feb-16 15:30:58

I would be careful about who can have access to the facebook page especially if you are going to allow people to post on the page.

I belong to 2 groups/pages related to my children, one is open to all and allows comments, the other is an invite/apply group and can only be posted on by the admins of the group. I much prefer the latter, it stops any unpleasantness and ensures that only people involved know what the children will be doing, where and when.

There was an incident on the open page that resulted in one item being shared hundreds of times and I'm sure made lots of people aware of a page that otherwise would have been on no interest to anyone other than the families involved.

almostthirty Sun 28-Feb-16 15:58:06

The school will need a good social media policy which will need to be followed.

Husbanddoestheironing Sun 28-Feb-16 16:05:45

We have one, it is a closed group you have to apply to join, and they have a set of rules which everyone is expected to follow, including no photos. We can post ourselves though, and it is very useful for asking for homework tasks, info on events etc. The school had to agree to it and do keep a beady eye on it too, so there have been a couple of instances when parents have been asked to remove inappropriate comments/discussions (eg moans about school processes). On the whole it's really helpful though.

Husbanddoestheironing Sun 28-Feb-16 16:06:59

Sorry should have said its a FB page!

sleeplessinderbyshire Sun 28-Feb-16 16:27:59

We have a closed FB group for our All posts needs approval by s moderator (all PTA committee are moderators so whichever of us sees a post first approves/deletes it). It works well I think but we have only had it a few months

madamginger Sun 28-Feb-16 16:32:28

We have a FB group and Twitter account.
It is an info only page, no comments allowed. We don't post pictures at all and it's a closed group

Inkymess Sun 28-Feb-16 18:22:13

We have FB and Twitter and use to send reminders and updates on PTA and school stuff. Only photos of kids are with parental permission

StableYard Sun 28-Feb-16 18:29:09

Our primary barely has a website let alone anything else!

We did try and set one up for the PTA but the head closed it down as she had control issue's around it.

It needs to be strictly monitored in regards to post's by other's.

admission Sun 28-Feb-16 19:36:38

I think the key issue here is the lack of control if it is an open FB page.With the best will in the world, some people simply do not see or want to see the issues that some posts cause. It is too late when something is posted to stop it going viral.
As such I would never feel comfortable with an open site and would prefer any FB page to be an information page nothing else.

Doublesidedselleotape Sun 28-Feb-16 21:12:01

Thanks very much for your replies, this is very helpful. (I've changed my name since this morning. Radical)

Our PTA is relatively new, running for 4 years, and in this way is still getting off the ground in attracting members and volunteers. Sadly it has been perceived by some to be cliquey, so I'd like to open up communications channels to include as many parents and carers as possible. VikingVolva, it would be in addition to printed newsletters and emails people can sign up for - hope to include, not exclude!

TeenandTween and Iborolass and most repliers appear to hold the view that the safest way to go with Facebook is possibly the most controlled/controlling but as such is least open to missuse:
1. make it a closed group, you have to apply to join
2. content handled by group administrators only
3. no photos of kids
4. information only with no opportunity to post comments

We use a different platform for communications within the PTA which parents have to sign up for - but that is much more about the organisation of events within a smaller group of active parents.

Twitter and Instagram (again, pictures of things, not children) seem to hold less concern for people, but I think it's a good idea to use Facebook too since it is used by so many more people and feels a bit less niche.

In all your advice seems very sensible, thank you. Is there anything I've missed?

Inkymess Sun 28-Feb-16 21:25:20

Never had any issues with ours. It's open so people can find it. Parents can post pics of their own kids at PTA events but school policy is similar - only post pics of your own DC and everyone sticks to it. It's often used by people checking dates / info as well as PTA updates. I've known people ask for the yr4 spellings/check what kit needed for a trip/ check date for something and all sorts of other school bits and bats. It's a great community resource. I've also seem people ask for recommendations for classes etc. PTA team are all admins so would just delete anything inappropriate

noramum Mon 29-Feb-16 13:20:06

We have a closed group for our year, established when they moved to Juniors and only parents are allowed on it. Out of 63 children the group has only 40 members and in some cases both parents are using it. While useful for anything about the particular year group we are not getting everybody.

I would be ok with a closed FB group from the PTA but again they won't cover everybody. Our PTA publishes everything via the school's parentmail and this works like a treat. They also just opened a website to book tickets for disco, movie night and publish a diary with upcoming events. Maybe that is a better solution.

BackforGood Mon 29-Feb-16 18:47:49

Depending on how big your school is, you might need quite a lot of people to "recognise" who is a parent or not..... if you have a 3 form entry school x 30 dc in a class x 2 parents each.....

What will your policy be if a CM or Grandparent who is the usual contact with the school wants to join ?

I think if people aren't allowed to ask things on there, it will be of limited use, tbh. The FB groups I've been in (for the dc's Scouts for example) are really useful for people saying
'Can anyone give X a lift to camp and I@ll bring them both back'
'I've lost the letter, what time are they meeting at {insert activity}'
'Did anyone pick up a black hoodie tonight, ds is missing one?'

etc. If it's just you giving information then how does it differ from a letter, in reality ?

Inkymess Mon 29-Feb-16 21:00:32

Backtogood - ito quite easy. You have a team of ariund 4-5 PTA admins. People ask to join the group. Admins add them. It's very easy to see if people are parents or carers usually from a quick check of their profile. Ours us a massive school of the scale you mention and it's fine.
It's used lots by parents querying stuff e.g. 'Any yr4 parents know what time xx is / any choir parents tell me what Tshirt they need for concert / can anyone give x a lift to yr6 swim gala' Etc

TheChimpParadox Mon 29-Feb-16 21:05:15

How much information and how regular will you be giving updates on the social media ? To keep people engaged surely it has to be a very regular output ?

multivac Mon 29-Feb-16 21:09:16

We have a closed FB group, with three or four admin/moderators. We came up with a clear policy for use from the start and its been running for a couple of years now, with only the lightest admin touch required. It's great for publicising events; asking for help/support; and getting conversations going between parents who can't/won't make it to meetings. Questions about homework, trips, charges etc. are fine, but absolutely no discussion of school policy or children's behaviour. A couple of teachers are members, and contribute now and again, but it is very much a PTA site, not a school one.

It's definitely been an asset for us, in terms of communication and inclusivity.

KingLooieCatz Tue 01-Mar-16 09:12:54

Just weeping with envy at the "4-5 PTA admin". We've just started a FB group for a school of just over 200 kids. We struggled to get volunteers for chair, secretary and treasurer of the PTA. Found some helpful tips here, thanks people.

Inkymess Tue 01-Mar-16 14:58:51

Lots of smaller roles help share the work. Then people help more - worth a thought

KingLooieCatz Tue 01-Mar-16 15:29:00

Good point - we just need to engage them somehow in the first place!

Primaryteach87 Tue 01-Mar-16 15:30:52

Worth considering that negative comments about teachers could be libellous and more teachers are willing to take action against untrue statements. So be cautious about the subject matter!

Primaryteach87 Tue 01-Mar-16 15:31:59

Generally they are very positive and good for the school and parents! Sorry my previous post sounded v negative, but worth having a code of conduct grin

Inkymess Tue 01-Mar-16 22:02:29

Maybe try sharing a list of things the school would really like but can't afford - to enhance DC experience. Then ask for help raising x amount for it?
I think it's a big help if parents understand where the money goes and why they would benefit

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