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AIBU to think that PTAs are the stuff of nightmares??

177 replies

6079SmithW · 12/12/2019 01:42

Firstly to caveat: I am a single parent, working full time, a school governor and chair of the PTA. (It's also 1:40am and I am shattered so I'm possibly overreacting).

Anyway, we had our school Christmas Fair at the weekend. It was the culmination of weeks of hard work. We raised a small/reasonable amount of money, however I'm left with the feeling that none of it was worth it.

Over the weeks we've had PTA members squabbling /falling out/bitching/having tantrums/refusing to work with each other/refusing to volunteer full stop and taking supplies (without paying) for their personal use.

I am a professional, and used to conflict, dealing with people and change management. I feel like this bunch of mums has beaten me though. Is anyone actually on a PTA which works well?? If so please share your hints and tips

OP posts:
icantbecani · 12/12/2019 12:40

Yes I agree, voluntary donations totally miss the point of how much these events can add to the school community.

ToffeePennie · 12/12/2019 12:45

Our PtFA is nice! We all work together and there’s no squabbling or arguing. It’s lovely.

icantbecani · 12/12/2019 12:45

And if you just have a voluntary contribution scheme and he majority won't donate at all. Don't your kids enjoy the events? In primary school at least my children have loved everything that is organised.

HeadSpin5 · 12/12/2019 13:00

Agree with User above that the biggest group of stirrers/moaners/complainers by far are a) those who never volunteer to do anything themselves and b) those that were on the PTA previously and therefore feel justified to whinge. They of all people know that eg posting a moan on FB was always going to lead to a pile on from category a), there’s no way it’s not done deliberately.

Juliette20 · 12/12/2019 15:03

The worst thing about being on the PTA was parents turning up at events and speaking to you like you were paid staff or making some kind of profit from it all, not unpaid volunteers giving your time. Often the ones who never helped with anything. In spite of our best efforts, I think some people just don't get the concept of volunteer-run events or how little money schools actually have.

BanoffeeTart · 12/12/2019 15:14

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

itbemay1 · 12/12/2019 15:16

Ours was so awful the head abolished it and set up friends of xxx school, she now manages the money, what's happening & who does what. Works brilliantly now!

TeenPlusTwenties · 12/12/2019 15:26

but I don't get why there's a need for a sense of community at primary school

I think feelings of belonging are good for mental health, and for a child seeing their parents get stuck in sets a helpfulness/volunteering mindset too. (NB I am not saying that these are the only ways to feel a sense of belonging or learning how to volunteer).

Juliette20 · 12/12/2019 15:34

As a kid I loved it when my parents came into school, rare as it was. I can remember that feeling of being supported rather than left to fend for myself most of the time. So with my own kids at primary school I tried to help out where I could. PTA, library, reading in classroom and so on, and I think they have got a lot out of it.

leghairdontcare · 12/12/2019 15:54

The PTA in my son's school are a bunch of cunts. They regular complain that nobody new ever volunteers and they all work so hard. In actual fact, when someone new does want to get involved they shut down all meetings so they can't run for committe positions.

Hopoindown31 · 12/12/2019 16:11

Volunteer committees only work of you have just got the doers not the talkers. If I'm on a committee and I realise I'm becoming a talker it's time to move on. Talkers are the people that engage in the politicking and bitchiness as well as asking a million and one questions about anything brought to the committee. They kill progress and you need to get them off your committee.

Hopoindown31 · 12/12/2019 16:14

What I don't really understand about PTAs is where are the teachers? Apart from the odd visit by the head to opine about how hard up the school was we never saw a teacher at the "Parent Teacher Association" when I got on it. Don't know why we persist in the name tbh.

Luckingfovely · 12/12/2019 16:21

The stuff of nightmares, on acid, after watching The Shining.

BanoffeeTart · 12/12/2019 16:36

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeenPlusTwenties · 12/12/2019 16:46

banoffee Cake sales are done because

  • the kids like buying the cakes
  • some parents like making/buying the cakes and it is a way for them to contribute 'in their own time' rather than at a specific event
  • it is a low hassle way of raising a bit of money

they are not to make the pta feel useful Hmm

You know other people feel the same way about brownies, dance class etc as you feel about school in just wanting to drop off and pick up, don't you?
Hoppinggreen · 12/12/2019 17:18

We’ve got 1 teacher (Treasurer) who is a parent as well and we’ve got a retired teacher and 2 TAs.
We usually have a few volunteer to help at events as well. I think it’s really vital

tobedtoMNandfart · 12/12/2019 17:30

Yep you've burnt out love. Your first sentence gives 3 strong reasons why you should not be Chairing PTA.

Belfastbird · 12/12/2019 17:44

Three things:
Chair of pta is thankless task
Bad moms movie epitomises our pta
Pta and full time working dont mix!

iklboodolphrednosedreindeer · 12/12/2019 17:49

Ours is lovely. Great mix of people, lots of good ideas and support. The Christmas fair was brilliant fun.

LeithWalk · 12/12/2019 17:59

Hopoindown31 - As a teacher I was volunteering ( with another 3 teachers) at my DC's school, secretary of their PTA! (whilst still attending every school disco, fair and sponsored event at the school where I taught)

JeansNTees · 12/12/2019 18:46

Just to add figures to my last post, our school lottery for 1 ticket per week per family would contribute £20.80 per year i.e. over £20k for a secondary school of 1000. Not everyone plays but those who do seem to buy more than one ticket per week. I really like it as an idea as it is practical and doesn't place a silly amount of pressure on a tiny group of parents to earn a good amount. I'd much rather spend £2 a week on the school lottery rather than Euromillions or Lotto and feel good about supporting the school. And have a chance of winning £25k. Instead of making cakes to sell at 20p each...

LazyDaisey · 12/12/2019 19:02

I hate lottery and gambling and I think it’s wrong for a school to have its own lottery and encouraging organised gambling. I’d be fucking livid if my kid went to your school Jeans


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JeansNTees · 12/12/2019 20:30

Daisey no one is forced to participate, I'm sure direct cash donations are gladly accepted! I'm sure the school would love to be properly funded but as they aren't they are finding creative solutions. People who play the Lotto each week can choose to support their kids' school instead and have better odds of winning some money back too. I'm not wild about gambling but I really can't fault them on this.

Iwantacookie · 12/12/2019 21:08

It's only been this year when my youngest is now in year 5 that the pta have been welcoming. I'm always jotting down ideas and passing them on.
Pp have reminded me that when I was at primary school we did a "lottery" iirc it was something like 50p a ticket due on a Wednesday then the draw would take place on a friday in assembly.
1st prize with be £10 for the parent and something from the tuck shop for the kid.
2nd prize £3 with something from tuck shop for the child.
They would then have pack of pencils/note book etc as another prize the finally a cuddly toy.
All the money raised from the supported the school minibus.
I havent thought about that in a long time but might be something I suggest to our pta.

6079SmithW · 12/12/2019 23:49

Thanks so much for all the replies! Apologies for the delayed response; I have been busy with work/DC and completely distracted by the (heartbreaking) general election.

On a personal level I think I am definitely going to have to scale down how much I do with the school.

More widely I really do wish I knew how to galvanise our PTA and get it to a point where it was really effective. I feel like walking away is such a cop out. Our school is genuinely lovely. It deserves to be really supported by parents. I think maybe a good break over Christmas and then a proper action plan to move forward into the New Year.

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