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minutes for PTA meeting advice

(26 Posts)
SophieofShepherdsBush Tue 05-Apr-16 22:27:55

Not sure if this is the best place to post, but I've just volunteered to be secretary for our Parents Association (equivalent of PTA) but don't really know what I'm doing. I know I need to take and produce minutes, but not sure how much detail I need to go into. Can anyone link to some examples of minutes for this type of committee please? And anyone fancy telling me more about what this role entails, what I should be doing? Tips please!

SeratoninIsMyFriend Tue 05-Apr-16 22:31:59

I do mine quite formally as used to it for work, so:

Date, attendees, apologies
Topics with bullet points to summarise discussion
Try and highlight actions with any agreed volunteers for that job!
At the end sometimes make a general 'next mtg to discuss...'

When planning big events there is a lot of detail so I try and make it easy for people to see what the key things are.

Hope that is of some use!

BertPuttocks Tue 05-Apr-16 23:01:52

It's also useful to have a meeting agenda sent out in advance.

It helps to keep the meetings on track if everyone knows in advance that they're meant to be discussing the Summer Fayre arrangements first before they go on to talk about what to with the money that was raised from last term's sponsored walk, for example.

It also means that you've got a basic structure to follow when it comes to typing up the minutes after the meeting.

Gazelda Tue 05-Apr-16 23:07:35

Exactly the same as Seraton.

I bullet point summaries (this gets easier over time, as you get to discerne the actions from the waffle) For each topic.

I use bold/underline/headings for each subject eg quiz night; summer fair; allocating funds etc.

I make it clear who is going to receive the mins (full committee, governor representative, head etc).

I use bold to highlight names who have actions allocated to them.

WhoKnowsWhereTheT1meGoes Tue 05-Apr-16 23:09:31

Could you get hold of the minutes of the last secretary? Then base them on those.

moveon Tue 05-Apr-16 23:12:14

As above, and also don't forget actions with a name next to them.

And also ensure that they are distributed in a timely manner. Don't sent out a week before the next meeting with actions as people cannot act on them.

BreconBeBuggered Wed 06-Apr-16 00:29:24

Write them up quite quickly while the meeting's still fresh in your mind. Action points and a column for who will be doing what is useful. Once you've got used to it you'll get into a routine of how you want to structure your minutes. If the meetings themselves aren't that formalised you may want to impose some order onto the minutes rather than reporting every last thing that was said, so you might have separate headings for forthcoming events, forward planning, finance and spending. Also, check if anyone else besides the immediate committee expects to receive a copy of the minutes (eg school office, HT).

I found that with PTA minutes, as long as you included the essentials, you could get away with a less formal style than you might use at work.

Other secretarial things will vary from school to school (I once took it on at a school where the secretary seemed to be responsible for everything bar counting the money) but your role might also include writing letters to parents, sending out begging letters for prize donations, keeping general admin up to date (eg insurance, licences), preparing posters and papery type games for fetes and fairs. Ask who does what as it's easy to tread on sensitive toes, and equally easy to overlook things and feel like a twat when someone suddenly asks where the treasure hunt clues are blush

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 07:28:41

Thank you these tips are great. Sorry who knows I should have said, it's s brand new school, still very small, and we are setting up the committee etc from scratch, so no previous minutes.

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 07:40:26

Sobit doesn't need to be as detailed as who said what and who agreed then? Sorry if these questions are a bit dense, been googling and there seems to be a huge variation in the amount of detail you need to include. So more like:

"The possibility of doing a cake sale for fundraising during the summer term was discussed and agreed. The date for the sale had been set as 20th may. Mrs bloggs has taken ownership of organising this. "

Or am I completely off track?

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 07:41:59

Has, not had. Autocorrect. Don't worry my writing is a lot better from a proper computer!

Gazelda Wed 06-Apr-16 08:17:39

Cake sale - 20 May. Mrs Bloggs will organise.

That's all you need.

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 08:51:49

Oh OK, that's heartening to hear!

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 09:41:58

I don't suppose any of you lovely people could PM me a template, or examples? If not, thank you all anyway, as these tips are exactly what I need to get going. flowerscake

JWIM Wed 06-Apr-16 10:53:58

OP there is a PTA organisation your school could join that would offer guidance on running a PTA and also has an insurance for PTAs. Look at

TheoriginalLEM Wed 06-Apr-16 11:29:44

Yep - keep it simple.

Who attended, who chaired.

Agreed actions - who is doing what and when

I always tried to do an agenda with a bullet pointed list. When i did the minutes it game me a framework already to work to if the fuckers actually stuck to the agenda

AOB would include suggestions (list not discussion)

Be careful you don't end up doing every thing that the chair should be doing

In the end i
Wrote up agendas and minutes
Wrote parents letters and emails
designed posters for events
wrote grant applications
dealt with council/authorities
set up just giving accounts
organised rotas for events
managed the facebook page
scrounged from local busineses for big money hmm it worked sometimes though, we raised £32K in one year
every fucking thing........ I have resigned now!

It was one of the best things i have ever done, really taught me how to work with very different individuals and massage their egos and did wonders for my confidence.

I have resigned now grin

BreconBeBuggered Wed 06-Apr-16 11:35:00

Second the above, especially wrt insurance.

PTA minutes vary a lot even in the same school, depending on who's writing them.

Mine would go something like:

Date, place

Present: Mrs Bloggs, me, Whoever Else

Apologies: Lady Nevershow, Mr Cannot-be-Arsed

Matters arising (from last meeting) We never did that cake sale in the end. Mr Sport decided the new sports kit should be purple with green stars. Mrs Happyface thanked the PTA for their help with the naked tug o'war tournament.

Forthcoming Events:

Car boot sale (when, where, who)

Themed disco

Plans for summer bazaar

Requests from staff (Mr Jangle wants us to reconsider funding the extra-loud recorders for all children)

Any other business (shall we join PTA UK?)

Close of meeting

Time, date, place for next meeting

Some people like to be more formal about calling the meeting to order, signing the last set of minutes and that kind of thing, but others will look at you as if you've got two heads if you start up that kind of malarkey.

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 11:59:51

grin Brecon I love your names! Very helpful thanks everyone. I'm a bit worried about insurance now. ..I don't even know what insurance we need that isn't covered by the school already?
I know there is a Parents Council of Ireland who could give advice, so I will get onto them and ask for advice. But these suggestions are so helpful.

WhoKnowsWhereTheT1meGoes Wed 06-Apr-16 13:12:43

Ours were similar to Brecon with the addition of a report from the treasurer as to the current financial position and we tended to have a table of forthcoming events as well as referring to them in paragraphs so it was easy to see at a glance what was coming up when.

The structure of the year was return to school in early Sept and set date for the AGM at end of September (we combined this with a cake sale to create a captive audience as we wanted as many families as possible to attend) and open nominations for committee positions (form in reception with name, position, proposer and nominator). Then at the AGM we would do the formalities of approving the committee for the year, annual financial report etc.

Thereafter only committee members invited to the meetings, which were about twice a term with a short extra one before each of the two major events of the year (Christmas and summer fairs) solely to organise those.

At the first meeting after the AGM we would get the HT to bring the school diary so we could set dates for events for the entire school year.

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 13:23:16

LEM I really hope they won't want me to do all that! I signed up for it this year thinking that as they school is new and small It would be fairly easy blush but I'm realizing that there are no systems in place to copy, so not so straightforward.

bojorojo Wed 06-Apr-16 17:55:11

It could be important, eventually, that the PTA becomes a Registered Charity. This used to depend onhow much money you raise pa. You will then have to submit accounts and have an AGM.

You MUST also adopt Terms of Reference even if you are not a charity. This sets out what you do, how you can do it, how the committee is elected/appointed, who is a member of the PTA, what you will raise money for (in general terms) and how it will be wound up if you cease to exist. There are likely to templates for this from the PTA Ireland.You do not want to reinvent the wheel here.

You do need to be clear on who is insuring your events. Check that the school is covering this. You will find some events may need extra cover - anything with fireworks for example.

There is lots of advice available and you are not alone.

WhoKnowsWhereTheT1meGoes Wed 06-Apr-16 18:08:39

You also need to take care with other regulations, for example in England you need a licence if you want to sell alcohol at an event or if you are holding a raffle where tickets are sold in advance.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 06-Apr-16 18:55:54

It can be as much as you want it to be, to be fair. We had a huge target to meet on my last year as secretary and it was incredibly hard work, but it was great fun and very rewarding. I have resigned because i'm woking now and just don't have the time, they have scaled things back a great deal this year.

You will need a lotteries licence to sell raffle tickets (the books of tickets not the tombola) - you get these from your local authority. Its very simple, if you go online and look on their website or simply give them a call and they tell you what you need to do. Our local council are very helpful. You are not allowed to send the tickets home in the book bags unless they are in an envelope addressed to the parents, it is worth all the envelope sticking though because this is how we sold the majority of ours. The lotteries licence lasts a few years (i can';t remember how many) and you just have to renew it each year, its not expensive.

You will need a temporary events licence to serve alcohol at events - An individual working at the event has to do this, it costs around £10 but must be applied for two weeks in advance. Again, local council, just call them and they send you the appropriate form to fill in. Generally we don't bother as who really wants to booze it up at the summer fair? People can bring their own booze to evening events such as quiz nights, so long as you aren't selling it or giving it away even (i asked!).

Anything that you do outside of the school premesis will need to be covered by public liability insurance, also if you rent out stalls to external stall holders at events. Someone up thread mentioned PTA+ magazine provides this as part of their annual membership. It is definately worth having.

Setting up from scratch will be a bit of a pain at first but it does all tend to fall together well. Keep things simple - a summer fair (although this might be too ambitious to set all of this up this year if you haven't a team of volunteers you know you can call on), maybe some cake sales (we allowed each year group to do their own cake sales and they kept half of the money to spend in their own class and the PTA kept the other half) and keep it at that, oh and a christmas fair, everyone loves a christmas fair. The sky really is the limit but in all honesty, its bloody hard work so don't make it harder than it needs to be, for me it because like a job and that was fine because i had time but it wasn't without stress.

As for setting up as a charity, that is a good idea, you'll need people to act as trustees - this is usually the chair, another member of the comittee and a member of staff, again, once its set up there is nothing else to do but having that charity number makes collecting donations much easier as many places you approach wont deal with you unless you have a charity number. You would be suprised how generous places are.

Things like licences, setting up as charity and insurance really should be down to eithe the chair or treasurer. When i was secretary i pretty much co-chaired as the chair was not computor literate but was happy to do all the donkey work so we worked well together.

SophieofShepherdsBush Wed 06-Apr-16 21:16:57

Thank you all for taking the time to share your experiences. This is exactly what I needed to know. You have really helped me out and given me something to work with as well as putting the shits up me somewhat grinflowers

bojorojo Wed 06-Apr-16 22:35:05

I forgot to mention, when you put on an event for the first time, take the time to log what everyone has done. Revisit it after the event and add in things you should have done or did not need to do. This produces a "bible" for events which future parent volunteers can refer to.

You may also need to be clear that you are not a complaints forum. Your purpose should be in the terms of reference but some parents see a PTA as a forum for voicing dissatisfaction. You want to avoid that. You also want to work with the school regarding what you are raising money for or are you just doing social events? This is a decision for the committee but it is best to have a clear focus. I am never keen on PTA as a description - I prefer Friends Association or School Community Assiciation. It takes away the idea that it is a forum to liaise with or complain to teachers.

Gazelda Thu 07-Apr-16 09:19:27

Further to bojo's post, we've found it very useful to set up a Dropbox account. We store documents and photos in there. Minutes, notes, risk assessments, fete programmes etc. It's very easy to pick up the documents from last year and update them for this year's event.
The chair, treasurer and secretary can access and edit all documents, other committee members have limited access (purely so that they can't edit the accounts etc!)
And a Googlemail account. We use this to correspond with other parents, suppliers etc, and parents can contact us via that email address.

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