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How important is the school PTA? Are you an active parent? If so, please share!

(22 Posts)
2gr8kids Wed 15-Feb-17 19:42:59

Hi, the local school PTA is struggling for membership. The previous faith school my son went to had a thriving PTA & very committed parents to drive school excellence, ethos & fundraising. Do you consider PTA when looking for primaries? Is low PTA membership/commitment a negative sign of a school outside of Ofsted & academic performance?

BarchesterFlowers Wed 15-Feb-17 19:48:45

No I don't look at the PTA when looking at schools but I do help out/get involved/always end up on the committee.

Not because it is a burning desire of mine at all, but because so many people don't and without people nothing gets done/these things fold.

I can never say no to the one or two stalwarts who organise everything and need help.

GTS Wed 15-Feb-17 19:49:54

No I genuinely don't think it's a negative reflection on the school. I was shocked to find out how badly the PTA was coping recently after three years of DC attending. I had absolutely no idea how badly they needed extra support. I will admit to being guilty of assuming that SAHM's who enjoyed organising the events made up the PTA, when in actual fact it is made up of mostly women who work full time and/or are just generally very busy but feel beholden to organise events otherwise who else who do it? I am now a member of the PTA and it's hard work but rewarding. But no, I don't think it's a negative sign of a school. Perhaps one that just needs to be more vocal about requirement for support.

DropZoneOne Wed 15-Feb-17 19:57:51

I didn't even know what the pta was before DD started at the school! It's very active but was very cliquey whilst simultaneously moaning about lack of help.

From my experience, parents will expect someone else is doing something. Direct approaches work best. A mum complained to me at the Christmas fair 2 years ago because something wasn't set up correctly and her child missed out. I pointed out we were all volunteers, none of us were professional events organisers and we were spread very thinly (had closed 5 stalls early through lack of help). She looked a bit embarrassed and asked if there was anything she could do - I sent her off to the hall to help on refreshments! She's now a regular volunteer but had assumed we were all ok despite emails and Facebook posts asking for help.

Ihatecobwebs Wed 15-Feb-17 20:53:20

Our PTA is very important for its fundraising - it's provided a large amount of resources, computer equipment and funding for trips. The school couldn't function at its current level without it. I've been on the PTA since DS was in Reception. Before he joined I wasn't really aware of it, or its level of support.

SmellySphinx Wed 15-Feb-17 21:05:05

Ohhh, the 'Pass The Aggression'? I put my name down to help out recently, help which the PTA "desparately needed" as did a few other parents. I ended up standing around pretty much the whole time, everyone seemed very reluctant to stand on each others toes regardless of what the very simple tasks were and nobody seemed to be taking charge. Some of the teachers had a hard time communicating, one said everything was wrong and kept flitting in and out, the other didn't want to make any decisions...All I could see was huge potential for some passive aggressive behaviour!

Brokenbiscuit Thu 16-Feb-17 11:47:07

It isn't that important, really. I'm a governor at a school with a very active PTA, and of course, it's fantastic that they raise extra money for the school, but tbh, the funds are a drop in the ocean as far as the overall school budget is concerned.

tovelitime Thu 16-Feb-17 20:49:49

I have never considered the PTA for anything. I appreciate they raise money but I avoid it like the plague as I have no interest in getting involved at all. I'll give money where needed but prefer to keep my distance

Mehfruittea Thu 16-Feb-17 23:07:49

DH and I both get involved as much as we can. DS in Reception. We can see all the play equipment PTA has bought, new library, woodland classroom etc. He is already benefiting from previous years of fundraising. We have targets this year to pay for specific equipment and I will feel really good seeing DS and his friends playing on it next year.

Yes, many other parents don't help when they could, and others simply can't. I don't think of it in terms of who could or should. I'm doing it for selfish reasons, I want this extra stuff for my son. If PTA didn't build a library last year and fill it with books, the school would be limping on this year with what they had. DS has shiny new books and a great space to enjoy them in. I want that kind of thing to continue and will pitch in to make it happen.

Sweets101 Thu 16-Feb-17 23:13:16

Vital for the continuation of the galactic federation. Without the PTA at my small village school, BAD SHIT WOULD COME DOWN. For fuck sake get involved. Neighbourhood watch, Lolly pop ladies etc also vital.

llangennith Thu 16-Feb-17 23:17:28

We're a smallish school (250 pupils) and a very small PTA. When I was co-opted on I was shocked to find the money we raise pays for basics and not 'extras'.
Having said that, the size or relevance of a PTA has nothing to do with how good (or bad) a school is.

Sweets101 Thu 16-Feb-17 23:22:47

Am stuck to couch after leaning on a piece of chewing gum. Have snacks but can't change channels. SUGGESTIONS?

Sweets101 Thu 16-Feb-17 23:30:43

Cheese triangles are banned in my school cos of MEH. They aren't triangles as the top edge describes a partial arc. My child noticed this because he are SOOOOOO OOOH bright.

F1GI Thu 16-Feb-17 23:41:22

Having a dc go right through primary, I cannot stand the PTA. I would much rather the school had just giving pages set up.

Eg: we need £2000 to buy playground equipment showing photos of proposed stuff and a bit of detail - page for that.

Page for each thing.

Can you imagine the one oneupmanship of parents saying on FB ooooh I donated £20 to the page for xyz. People would give money when they felt happy with the school, like their kid had a nice day where they got chosen for whatever. Parent feels good. Sticks £10 in the IT fund. FB friends get told yadda yadda.

Far more effective way of racking up cash than fucking about arguing at the PTA. I fuckinh hate the PTA. Ours was run by this evil bitch who stole money from it and got away without police involvement despite the school knowing.

BarchesterFlowers Fri 17-Feb-17 07:02:22

Llangennith - our PTA pays for many basics too - very small school, 1/5 of the size of yours.

Broken - we bought books last year - replenished all the ancient library books in the school, renewed the bark in all the playground area, bought a huge whiteboard for assemblies and more.

Pretty important stuff really which is why I try to give my time although I work long hours.

Some of these tiny schools survive on not very much at all (was governor for finance until last year), £4-5k a year from the PTA is huge for a small school.

CB2009 Fri 17-Feb-17 11:48:50

Church school. Chair of PTA turned it around. Fab events. Pays for many basics and some extras for the children & teachers. Events are good/fun for children & parents. Some people sit on sidelines but no different to every other aspects of life. I got a lot out of being involved. Benefited our son. Helps others. A vote here for doing what you can to help

hattyyellow123 Fri 17-Feb-17 12:06:09

At my school it took us several years to realise that the school could not buy certain things without fundraising - as new primary parents we assumed that most things were funded- but did not realise that school trips were subsidised by the PTA etc. Have joined and we put on all our letters/emails out what is being fundraised for and that it will not be purchased without this. It's helped a lot to raise awareness of why the events are needed. But I wouldn't choose a school based on PTA activity. I think it really helps when the head isn't directly involved, unless they're a really strong head, as when our headteachers have been involved they've just sat there.

Timings of meetings is important - if they're all during school hours or at 5.30 it's tricky - make them at school pick up time if most parents pick up so parents don't have to go back and forward to school.

MerryMarigold Fri 17-Feb-17 12:10:49

I think a strong PTA is only indicative of more middle class areas to be honest. Our school is outstanding and has a v small PTA, not v active, although fluctuates. However, the area is quite deprived. I don't think it means much at all. Of course, can buy a few extras, but a good Head should manage to do that anyway. I think it's more important for social cohesion, parents being friendly, involved with each other etc.

alreadytaken Fri 17-Feb-17 12:15:15

At primary level an active PTA means that parents care about the school, want to help it and there will be some social events for the children. It wouldnt be a deal breaker but yes I'd see if there was one and what sort of things it did/ how much it raised. It can contribute a significant amount to the school budget, a lot more than a drop. At secondary level it's just a way of having some cheer leaders for the head and it wouldnt concern me if it didnt exist.

starfishmummy Fri 17-Feb-17 12:18:09

My sons school doesnt have one. They have a "friends of" group which dkes the fundfaising side of things. Its mkre than just paents and teachers - has all sorts of other people from the community involved. In fact if anything is not particularly parent friendly - meetings are held at a time when kids are coming in from school, needing meals and partners may not be home from work to take on childcare.

nat73 Fri 17-Feb-17 12:42:13

TBH I wouldnt use PTA as a measure of anything although a poor / small PTA might(?) indicate low parent moral? One school I know now has no PTA. We had a tough year as a school last year and you saw the PTA suffer with people resigning etc. An active PTA probably means a bit more affluent. Our PTA is filled with the working Mums so its not necessarily SAHMs!

MilkRunningOutAgain Mon 20-Feb-17 16:30:37

Like everything else about a school, the PTA varies over time. I am now at the very end of my time as a primary parent, my youngest is in yr 6. DD's school PTA is now good and run by a lovely sensible person & is raising cash for sensible extras, like playground stuff and transport for trips out, books, etc. But I got scared off many years ago by the PTA which was then cliquey and weird, and seemed to raise very little cash which was spent on odd things, which were not inclusive, such as treats for church attendees. Overall a good PTA is a plus, but probably not that important a plus.

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