Most schools have a PTA, and last year my friends had suggested joining the PTA to get to know other parents. Well my son’s school did not have a PTA, so that idea went out of the window. I made school mum friends soon after, so I forgot about it.
One year later, our school announces that they want to start a PTA and they want parents to join and would need a class rep for each class. I thought I would go along to the first meeting to see what it was all about.
PTA stands for Parent Teacher Association, so I guess I was expecting it to be a chance for parents to get involved with the school and improve communication between parents and teachers. I thought it would be somewhere we could suggest ideas to teachers where they could improve processes at school, where we could help out in class and get involved with classroom activities, organise out-of-school activities. I expected it to be a two-way thing, with teachers and parents working together and for it to be something potentially fun.
Now, I’m not going to name our school, but I went to the initial PTA meeting yesterday and about 15 parents turned up. Two teachers led the meeting, and we were told that the reason they are starting a PTA is because most others schools do it, so it was about time we did. And basically the whole jist of the PTA is to fundraise for the school. They have chosen reading to be the area the school want to excel at, and need loads of new reading resources, so we are fundraising to improve our children’s education.
Four parents had to nominate themselves to be Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer and those parents had to stand up and tell us reasons why they would like to stand for these position, and then we had to vote for who we wanted in each position. It was all very formal and to be honest, I have no idea what those positions even mean!
We were told they wanted us to lead on fundraising, encourage parents to donate food at the Harvest Festival, lead the selling of books at the upcoming book fair – the more books sold, the more free books the school gets or something – and then they were planning two end of year discos which they wanted the parents to organise. And they planned to have regular PTA meetings each week. Bear in mind I had Lily toddling around the room grabbing papers and throwing them on the floor before whinging, I was beginning to think this is going to be difficult.
So I left this meeting thinking this is not quite what I thought it would be. I’d put my name down as class rep, as no one else from my son’s class turned up, but I’m not sure I even want to do this! I suppose it will be nice to get to know the parents from other years, especially older years, so I can get an idea of what to expect from older classes. And it will bring some sort of community feel to the school, as that is really missing at the mo. But is this going to be stressful??
Have you had any experience of PTAs? Is it too much hard work for nothing, or is it worth it? And is it just fund-raising??