With ever increasing budget cuts, Head Teachers depend more and more on the input from parents to fill the gap financially and even in some cases help out with teaching and administration on a voluntary basis.
Here at Classlist we have even heard of situations where parents have had to step in and act as full-time interim teachers, as academic staff get priced out of expensive neighbourhoods. In line with these trends the role of parents and in particular Class Rep has been redefined to a new level of professionalism: –
to be less about coffee mornings and more about communicating school messages to parents; membership management (classlists in compliance with Data Protection); fundraising for school equipment; and money collection for school excursions and activities, just to name a few duties.
It is not surprising that many PTAs and PTOs are struggling to find parents willing to volunteer for the role of Class Rep. At Classlist our goal is to make life of parents and in particular, Class Reps easier. Another important aim of ours is to raise the skills and professionalism of Class Reps and highlight the value that they clearly contribute to the school community. One way is to measure their value is to compare their skills to the open job market. From our observations of Class Reps who use Classlist, the skill set of a fantastic Class Rep is very similiar to that of a Community Manager (see table below). With over 500,000 Community Manager jobs currently advertised on Linkedin, salaries ranging up to $500k, with the norm around $100k. Whilst these figures reflect full-time positions, the table below indicates how Head Teachers can gain enormous value for money from their Class Reps and PTA members.
Comparison of Skills and Characteristics of Community Managers and Class Reps
|Summary of Core Skills||Community Manager||Class Rep|
|Brand evangelist||Yes||Yes, school advocates across local community|
|Schedules community related events||Yes||Yes|
|Posting and distributing information to the community||Yes||Yes|
|Member to member interactions||Yes||Yes|
|Monitor health of the community – giving feedback to organisation||Yes||Yes, feedback to school any parent concerns|
|Create events and personal introductions||Yes||Yes|
|Send out group emails, newsletters||Yes||Yes|
|Review level of engagement of community||Yes, using Google Analytics||Yes, manually|
|Enjoys creating meaningful relationships with others||Yes||Yes|
|Strong in influencing and persuasion and relationship development||Yes||Yes|
|Discourages and redirects negativity with a firm friendly style||Yes||Yes|
Source: Analysis of jobs currently advertised on Linkedin, April 2015
Parent proficiency at using social networks and online tools is rising rapidly and Class Reps/PTA Members (via Classlist) are developing these skills to create stronger, healthier school communities. Those School Heads that consider Class Reps as community managers will find it easier to identify and attract high calibre PTA and Class Rep candidates. Away from those parents that shout the loudest and where in the past a strong personality was the core requirement, towards those that have valuable skills and a professional approach to offer.