We are very fortunate at our school to have a Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The PTA is a group of hardworking parents/carers whose primary aim is to raise funds for the school. It is an integral part of the school community and has been for many years. In its time, the PTA has raised thousands of pounds, which have been spent on improving equipment and resources to enhance our children’s education and the facilities in school in general.
But our PTA is about much, much more than just fundraising. The PTA exists to provide closer links between home and school, and it is an excellent way to bring staff, governors, parents and friends together socially in support of the school, working towards a common goal. It is fun too – just ask any of the PTA committee members or helpers. Obviously as in any organisation, there are times when it is more ‘challenging’, but with the continued support of parents and staff, our PTA has always succeeded in its efforts.
The PTA is extremely conscious of the ethos of our school, and we try very hard when organising and planning events to respect this. We also aim to make our events as inclusive as possible ensuring that they attract attention from across the community. Not all of our events are run as fundraisers. Some events are run with the aim of giving pupils and parents/carers, governors and staff a fun time and the opportunity to socialise, such as discos, film nights, quiz and skittles evenings for adults. We have, over time, developed strong links with the local community and are always well supported by both residents and businesses, for which we are very grateful.
Our PTA is a member of the NCPTA, which is the national charity that advances education and supports PTAs, throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our association is one of 13000 in current membership of the NCPTA. We pay an annual membership fee to the NCPTA which gives us lots of member benefits including subscription linked insurance cover, support and advice on PTA and fundraising matters, opportunities to meet with other PTAs to discuss and share experiences, regular newsletters and the PTA magazine and an extensive list of PTA information and resources. In addition, we have a valuable resource at our fingertips – www.ncpta.org.uk. This is also a valuable resource to you as parents, with signposts to useful, relevant web-sites on subjects such as bullying, school funding, special educational needs, homework, and much more.
Like most PTAs, the majority of our funds are raised through the events that we run. Some of our most popular events are our Summer and Christmas Fayres, quiz nights and an annual Fun Run. We also hold discos for all pupils at Christmas and at the end of the school year, and we organise and subsidise the Year 9 Leaver’s Prom.
Our Constitution commits the PTA to spending money on things that will benefit the children directly and the decisions on how to spend the money raised are agreed at our PTA Committee meetings. Usually, Mr Green (our Headteacher) will have a ‘shopping list’ of items that the school would like to purchase. Sometimes this will be as a result of the children asking for something, at other times it will be for resources to improve a particular area of the curriculum or school environment. Previous committee funds have contributed to the Study Support Centre, improving the environment in the dining hall, new indoor and outdoor sound systems and, most recently, our memorial garden which will be completed this year. We also regularly fund annual events such as the Maths Challenge. In the main the PTA funds are for the ‘extras’ that cannot be funded directly by the school, that make our children’s learning experiences so much more fulfilling and exciting.
All PTA letters are sent home with your child. The letters include information on forthcoming events and dates plus requests for assistance, when we are planning large events. We will also endeavour to keep the website up to date with information on events, funds raised and contact details.
There are lots of ways you can help and support your child through the PTA. We are always looking to hear from people who would be willing to help out in any way and it is an ideal way of meeting new people who have the best interests of the school and their children at heart. All parents and members of the school community can get involved if they want to, even if they only have a small amount of time available.
Offering to help before events or at other times during the year is so valuable – it really is a case of ‘many hands make light work’. It doesn’t matter if you can’t help on a regular basis, or even if you can’t come into school. We really couldn’t achieve what we do without the unseen ‘army of help’ that exists in school.
Donations are extremely important and we are always grateful for the overwhelming response from parents/carers to requests for donations for our Fayres.
You can, of course, if you feel able, volunteer to be a Committee Member. The Committee meet on a regular basis usually twice a term, with more meetings, as necessary, to organise larger more complicated events.
Or you can simply support the Annual General Meeting. This is held in October and is an opportunity for all parents/carers to come along and hear in more detail about events run, funds raised and how the money has been spent and give us your ideas for fundraising events. It is also the occasion when we elect our new committee.
You can help by letting us know if you have any contacts or skills we could use – everything is potentially valuable to us.
Our PTA Committee consists of 4 Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary) and Committee Members. We also have a register of 20 helpers who we can call on to help with larger events.