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WWYD PTA meeting - do I go?

(24 Posts)
RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-11 13:25:57

V quick background. DD 7 has just started a new school in year 3 (complicated school change as no room for DS at DD's old school) and DS is in reception.

We don't know anyone at this school and we want to be involved and get to know people but both DH and I work FT, so we don't have much time to give.

They have the first PTA meeting this week, do I go? or do I try and find another way to join in?

My fear is, I will go tonight and then not be able to go for ages and it will be counterproductive to being 'involved' in school life. not to mention the scary PTA stories that I have read on here

WWYD?

SherlockHolmes Mon 12-Sep-11 13:27:33

I would go; in my experience PTAs are always glad of any help, even if you can't go to all the meetings you can put your name down to help at events etc. Good luck with the new school for all of you.

ragged Mon 12-Sep-11 13:27:47

Most PTAs are harmless. Run by people who are no worse than a bit disorganised.
Go along, have a firm picture in your mind what you would and wouldn't be willing to donate in terms of your time. It will give you someone to say hello to at subsequent school or party events, if nothing else.

caughtinanet Mon 12-Sep-11 13:30:04

I would go along but make it clear that you aren't able to take a position on the PTA itself although you can be called upon for cake making or whatever you're good at on an ad hoc basis.

Its a good way to meet people esp. at a new school.

TheCrunchyside Mon 12-Sep-11 13:31:03

far too risky to go to the pta meeting unless you really good at saying no. they will sign you up for everything. They'll also tap up your employer for support once they who it is!!!

Better take the gradual approach - volunteer to help on stall for chrimbo fair etc to suss out how scary everyone is.

funnypeculiar Mon 12-Sep-11 13:32:20

Go. Some PTAs are (by the sounds of it) horrible & clique-y. Others are fine, and full of (gasp) normal people. Don't commit to anything (unless you really want to) & get the lie of the land - you'll soon get a feel for whether they are your sort of lot or not.

If you & DH both work ft, I would imagine there it will be more challenging to get involved with the school otherwise (eg might be tricky to go on trips/help in classroom) whereas PTAs often have more evening based stuff that you could dabble in.

Fwiw, on our PTA committee, nearly everyone is a working parent, so 'not much time to give' is pretty much normal.

MadameCholetWasMyFavourite Mon 12-Sep-11 13:36:35

I knew nobody when my DD1 started at primary school, so in similar circumstances to you, joined the PTA. Was a great decision for me and made some friends that have lasted despite DD1 now being year 8 and people moving on. I'm not so active in the PTA now although still support every event and lend a hand when it fits in with me and I know that every bit of help is gratefully appreciated and keeps a bond with the school.
I should warn you that I ended up being chair after the first year but that is due to the fact that I am a soft touch and haven't learnt how to say no!

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-11 13:43:02

So go and sit on my hands grin ?
There is a fair coming up so I could volunteer for that and then play it by ear..

fivegomadindorset Mon 12-Sep-11 13:47:07

At least you have the opportunity to go, both the schools my DD has attended the PTA meets up after drop off or before pick up.

AlistairSim Mon 12-Sep-11 13:51:00

For sure you should go.

If it's anything like our PTA, of which I'm chair, they will be grateful to have another bum-on-seat.

simpson Mon 12-Sep-11 13:51:02

I would definately go and do as others have said.

I went to a PTA meeting for the first time at the end of the last school yr and it was fine.

I told them what I could help with etc and they were really welcoming

Voidka Mon 12-Sep-11 13:52:39

Our PTA is definitely missing the 'I' out of its name.

But most are lovely.

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-11 13:54:07

Ok sold! <wibble>

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-11 13:55:16

grin Voidka

Hassled Mon 12-Sep-11 13:56:41

In our PTA (and most, I think) we have quite a clear distinction between the full-on committee nutters (me) and the "willing helpers" who don't have the time or inclination to be involved in things like the planning of the summer fete, but can always be relied on to man a stall for half an hour or help stuff envelopes etc, and make useful contributions to meetings.

I think you should go - it is a really good way to meet people and feel like you're part of the school community.

Sinkingfeeling Mon 12-Sep-11 13:57:57

Definitely go - you have nothing to lose, and could meet some very friendly people (I have been involved with three different PTAs and none of them have been cliquey or bossy) who'll welcome your new ideas and any support you can offer. If you're completely new to the school, they'll be able to answer any niggling questions you have too. And you never know, there might be wine!

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-11 14:03:54

wine you say grin

On another note, what do the PTA do? I mean I know they organise fund raising from Bingo nights to Christmas raffles and all the things in between but do they do all of it or does the school take some of it on?

Sorry, just want a better idea of what to expect them to be discussing?

snice Mon 12-Sep-11 14:07:56

whateer you do don't end up as Treasurer!-its the hardest job. Chairman is easiest if you are good at running meetings

Otherwise I would agree that you need to be clear on what you're able and happy to do -and if you are pressed to take on stuff remember the MN mantra:
'No is a complete sentance'

snice Mon 12-Sep-11 14:11:27

Our PTA divides the fund raising jobs up and has different groups of people to take responsibility for them -eg a team of 3 who run the summer fair. The team are responsible for signing up more volunteers as required. The headteacher and at least one other member of staff attends all the meetings to give a school perspective/co-ordinate dates/suggest fund raising wants

Hassled Mon 12-Sep-11 14:15:32

The staff will help out (we always get staff to run the bar at the fete, for example) but don't do any of the planning/begging letters/organisation. Head and a few staff come to meetings and we discuss with them the school's needs - i.e what are we actually fundraising for this year? But that's the extent of their involvement - up to us what events we do, and how we do them.

simpson Mon 12-Sep-11 14:17:18

Our PTA meet on a regular basis to raise money for the school.

There is a meeting in the next couple of wks and I guess the school Xmas fair will be talked about. Our school has a Santa's grotto too so it will forcing begging the male teachers to be Santa grin

Also each child gets a small present from the school and its the PTA that organise this and get them wrapped etc.

We have a cake stall every wk where pupils can buy a small cake for 50p so it will be asking people to help cook cakes etc.

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-11 14:18:44

thanks snice most useful.

DS has just come back from his first morning (inc lunch) half day and got told off for having 1 chocolate biscuit in his lunchbox.

biscuit indeed.

PierceDeere Tue 13-Sep-11 17:29:01

I bet it wasn't even a home baked, organic biscuit, was it?

>whispers<
Heathen.

Sinkingfeeling Wed 14-Sep-11 23:40:55

So did you go to the meeting, Rebecca? Did you survive?

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