What is the role and function of a PTA?
PTA stands for Parent Teacher Association. The PTA supports the school by raising money to enhance, enrich and improve learning experiences for all pupils. A well-run PTA will form close ties with the school community, helping to connect school and home life, so that parents become more positively engaged in their children's education.
There's also a social aspect to the PTA: parents are able to get together, meet parents of children in different year groups and work alongside each other while raising money for the school and supporting its aims.
Who runs the PTA?
PTAs are run by a committee of volunteers – usually parents of children at the school, and sometimes teachers too.
Who can join the PTA?
If the organisation is known as a PTA, membership is usually limited to parents, guardians and carers of current pupils, plus school staff. Other types of association, such as Friends Associations, are open to anyone who wishes to join and is approved by the committee.
How can I join the PTA?
You may well already be a member simply by being a parent at your child's school. If you received a PTA Welcome Pack, it should contain details of how your school's association operates, and how you can join.
How can I contact the PTA?
Most PTAs have an email address, which you'll find on the school's website. If not, ask the school secretary for details. Other places include the school newsletter, the PTA newsletter, noticeboards or try searching Facebook.
What kind of things might I be expected to do if I join?
Typically, PTAs organise and run fundraising events. So the most common job is helping out at fundraisers: can you bake a cake? buy supplies for an event? run the bar or help on the gate? If you still want to join the PTA but don't want to get involved in events, how about taking on a different job such as second-hand uniform coordinator or graphic designer? If you have specialist knowledge of fundraising, the PTA will welcome you with open arms. Perhaps you work for a company that can offer benefits such as raffle prizes, discounts on refreshments or access to a local facility? If you have an idea of what you'd like to do, or skills you can offer, make a suggestion!
Do I have to come to every meeting?
Commitment is essential to helping the PTA work at its best, but everyone has responsibilities that mean missing an occasional meeting. You'll be able to read the minutes of any meetings you can't attend. If you can't make meetings at all, could you volunteer at fundraisers or take on a role that operates mostly from home?
How much time will the PTA take up?
That's up to you. Most PTAs are happy for you to volunteer as much time as you can reasonably give. If the PTA is holding a big event, it's reasonable to expect all hands on deck, but if you're new to the school and want to enjoy some events with your family, offer to help set up or clear away instead.
Will I have to be on the PTA committee?
No, you won't have to join the committee, but you may find that a committee role appeals to you after a while. Most people spend some time initially getting to know everyone and finding out how it all works.
What will I get out of being on the PTA?
- Meet parents from other year groups
- Meet the teachers in a less formal setting
- Widen your outlook and see the school from a different angle
- Make new friends by working alongside members of your community
- Learn new skills and increase your self-confidence
- The satisfaction of knowing you've made a contribution
- The knowledge that you've helped make the school you chose an even better place