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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:
reluctantbrit · 13/12/2019 09:05

I think PTAs too often forget that working parents may not be able to always help on school days but can be a huge source of funds and resources.

My company allowed me unlimited printing/copying for leaflets and other stuff. I can’t remember how many posters etc I printed and handed over for the NCT for years. A friend works for a large comp at who has a funds matching Programm. We have schemes with estate agents where they sponsor signs for fairs, just plonk one on your front garden for 2-3 weeks and the school gets £50/sign.

Our PTA did two weekend activities a year to clean the grounds and general tidying up and this appeals to dads/granddads or other males. We had plumbers and other handyman giving work hours for free.

It is not always only a committee of mums, the PTA just has to see the potential outside their little committee box.

DownToTheSeaAgain · 13/12/2019 09:22

Our PTA ( women and men) is full of good people who work together to support a brilliant but chronically underfunded secondary school. We have a fair but lots of other things we do are about supporting parents and extra curricular activities.
It never ceases to amaze me how few parents actively take part but it heartens me that those who do do it because they want to.

Hoppinggreen · 13/12/2019 09:43

reluctant I agree
We have about 10 parents who work for companies that offer matched funding. This means that any money that parent raises for a designated charity is matched (up to £500) by their employer
It’s all above board but they will choose one of our events and then help at that one, often an evening event as most work FT, for even a hour or so. We provide a letter to verify what they did etc and then we get the money
It’s a great and easy way to raise funds. Most large banks do it so if you can find out if any parents work for a bank and are happy to do this (we did it via the school newsletter and PTA FB page so entirely voluntary if they wanted to share that info) I would recommend it.

Lincolnfield · 13/12/2019 17:42

My daughter in law is in her school PTA and often talks in glowing terms about the ‘mums’ - said in suitably reverential tone!

She invited some of these ‘mums’ to her youngest daughter’s christening party and, I was totally disgusted by the lot of them! They had accepted her hospitality and helped themselves to the buffet which my son and daughter in law had paid for but then they sat huddled together like the witches coven that they are. They ignored my daughter in law completely, just sat cackling to each other and never even thanked her for inviting them.

She still thinks these women are wonderful although God knows why. They were clearly looking down their noses at her. I couldn’t say anything because I wouldn’t hurt her for the world but I’ve never witnessed such disgraceful behaviour.

scubadive · 13/12/2019 18:21

Yes all the same. Pta mums made me cry, cliquey power mad who often have nothing else in their lives. I’ve been bossed around so many times like I am a small child. It’s not worth it, The amount raised is usually the same amount as all the items donated so you could just cut out the fair and handiver the money stress free.

MrPickles73 · 13/12/2019 18:22

PTA is usually fun and lovely at our school. The arseholes join the governors. I joined them for a year and found it hopeless.

BareBelliedSneetch · 13/12/2019 18:26

Ours is actually great. It’s a brilliant bunch of women, all who have external commitments, either work, caring for small children at home, caring for elderly parents or any combination of the three. They work hard, have good ideas, work well together and welcome new people. There is no nastyness.

And they work really well with the school, have a close relationship, and spend the money where the school needs it spent. Not on frivolous crap.

Jack80 · 13/12/2019 18:46

I've just started volunteering in a pta and heard some of the pta have had a row on what's app. I'm not a parent I'm a Mid Day at the school and volunteering as I'm training to be a Teaching Assistant. I just go and help and come home.

Ifyoudontlaughyouwillcry · 13/12/2019 18:47

OP well done on all your efforts. But you seriously need to step back. I’m actually annoyed at your head teacher for allowing you to be a governor and the chair of the PTA. I’m also a parent governor and often help out with the PTA eg running the sweet stall on event evening, dishing out hot dogs in film night etc. But that’s the limit. You need to explain you can’t do both and if your head is like mine Governors are like gold dust so she could create some rule to say you can’t do both. I’m afraid it often falls to those who have the littlest time often do the most. Put yourself and your family first and honestly say “no”. Once you donut once or twice it’s incredibly empowering

Bobbi73 · 13/12/2019 18:48

I've experienced the cliquey PTA when my children first started school. I clearly remember rocking up to the coffee morning thing they did and not one person even said hi. They could never get any parents to volunteer. I wonder why!
Thankfully, they were all mum's that had year 6's and the lot of them left in one go and some new parents took over. Now it's lovely, I'm not in it but I help at all the events and there's no drama or bitchyness but it is bloody hard work. Thankfully, the fairs raise a lot of money (it's a big school and lots of parents can provide great stuff like bouncy castles for nothing) so it does feel worth it.
If you're getting stressed, just leave and let someone else step up. It sounds like you have a busy life!

TSSDNCOP · 13/12/2019 18:50

I’ve done PTA. It would’ve been more cost effective to have simply written a cheque for the amount we raised.

FelicisNox · 13/12/2019 19:53

I couldn't say if they're all the same but I'm here to offer solidarity.

I've never done a PTA for the above reasons and thankfully never will.

Rock on sista! Flowers

whyamidoingthis · 13/12/2019 19:55

@scubadive - Yes all the same.

Have you not read the thread? Plenty of posters have already proven they are not all the same by relating their positive stories.

riceuten · 13/12/2019 20:19

Not so much PTAs themselves but the people that get involved in them. The Head where I am a governor has set down extremely strict rules about what they can and cannot do, and how they work with her and the governing body, and it seems to work well. Previously, it was like a bitchy girls club, who would exclude people they didn't like and would only finance stuff that would benefit their own children directly.

anon2000000000 · 13/12/2019 21:58

I was the on the PTA briefly. Never ever again.

peachdribble · 13/12/2019 22:05

I'm a co-chair of a PTA and sharing the workload can work quite well - especially as our skill sets are very different - and it takes some pressure off when life-stuff happens and there's stuff to organise! I suppose that if you were to add up the (mostly wo)man hours put into each event then the hourly amount achieved is fairly modest, but in a relatively large primary school with a mixed demographic we've been able to upgrade laptops ad playgrounds in a way that the school couldn't otherwise afford. We remind the parent body of this every time we ask for favours!

Blacksackunderthetreesfreeze · 13/12/2019 22:21

Being a governor and on the PTA, especially as chair, is too much!

I used to be parent governor but couldn’t stay on at the end of my term as circumstances changed. I’m now one of the lowlier people on the PTA, a class rep. I think the way through is to be very light touch - do the tasks you are supposed to - but just don’t worry about any of it or whether things are going the way you hoped!

Celestine70 · 13/12/2019 22:23

Our school has a huge Xmas fayre. There is a head organiser and unders who each have an area e.g. Kids entertainment. Stall rental. Set up / take down. Then each class rep tells each class their area and asks for volunteers. Every parent is asked to volunteer at least two hours. The fayre runs all day with outside stall holders and school stalls / areas etc. Including a school run diner and cafe. It all runs very smoothly overall with the delegating system.

hiphiphoorayback · 13/12/2019 22:37

A DD of £10 a month would be a good idea.

hiphiphoorayback · 13/12/2019 22:40
  • is people could afford it. I think making school donations is the way forward. You don't see many men sweating over the Christmas Fayre let alone attending it.
BlueJava · 13/12/2019 23:31

We just donate to school funds via a standing order. Easier, gives a regular amoubt to ease planning and no bitchiness.

BingoLittlesUncle · 13/12/2019 23:38

DD2's PTA lovely bunch work well together and we got a lot done. DD1's PTA (they went to different schools) - bunch of cunts. There's no hard and fast rule.


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Emmapeeler1 · 13/12/2019 23:50

I helped with a PTA - never again. For one thing, the school didn’t like the chair, who in turn endlessly moaned about the school. I just wanted to turn up and help not be embroiled in drama and bitterness. The current PTA seem really nice, but once bitten, twice shy. I have helped at the odd disco, wrapping, but ad hoc, when it’s not massively inconvenient for me.

I say ditch the PTA and focus on being a governor. There’s lots of work involved in that and you sound to be stretching yourself too thin.

BiBiBirdie · 14/12/2019 00:30

The last time I joined a PTA, I ended up having to involve the Police after pulling my children out the school over some mad woman taking against me.
So yes, yes I do think they are bitchy and the stuff of nightmares.

MsTSwift · 14/12/2019 00:34

You are a hero op. That is all.

Worse by far than the pta mums are the parents that do fuck all then complain about the work the volunteers have done. There is a special place in hell for them

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