How many parents serve on your PA/ PTA/ Parents Association/ Friends of…? If the answer is, ‘Not enough!’, you’re not alone. But there is a way to boost the numbers: Work out why parents aren’t signing up and then make it easier for parents to get involved.
Why don’t parents join the PTA?
The three main reasons are simple:
- Parents don’t feel they have enough time.
- Parents don’t feel that they have the right skills.
- Parents simply don’t know how to get involved.
So, how can the PTA break down those barriers and get more parents on-board?
Make the PTA easier for parents
The key things that PTAs need to communicate are:
- All parents are welcomed and wanted.
- All parents have skills that can help the PTA – you’ll be amazed at what you can do!
- We’re grateful for any time you can contribute – even if it’s only 20 minutes a year.
Classlist top tip: Create an event on Classlist for your PTA meetings to make sure parents know where and when they are taking place. Let parents know everyone is invited.
When you’re on the PTA, it seems obvious what you do. You liaise with the school; fundraise; put on social events; write annual reports; discuss what the students need…But that’s not necessarily obvious to other parents. So, it’s useful to advertise.
- Start by defining the goal of your PTA. Here are some suggestions:
○Creating a positive, inclusive school community
○Providing extra opportunities for our children
○Fundraising for amazing equipment
○Offering the extras that enhance education
- Then create PTA Job Descriptions – main roles; supporting roles and quick ‘n’ easy one-off roles. The idea is to break the roles and responsibilities of the PTA down, so that duties can be divided up (less overwhelming for everyone) and parents can see – clearly – where they can play a role.
3. Create a Willing Volunteers List
A Willing Volunteers List is just a list that parents fill in, detailing what skills they have and how they would be happy to help the PTA. You can either create your own list or set up a willing volunteers parent group on Classlist that parents can join.
PTA Job Descriptions
Main duty: To have the final say on PTA decisions.
Key jobs: To make all committee members feel welcome and valued; to set the PTA agenda; to provide leadership; to co-write the annual PTA report.
Needs to be: Enthusiastic, calm; good at listening; decisive.
Main duty: To support the work of the PTA Chair.
Key jobs: To step in for the Chair when the Chair is absent; to work with the Chair to see the PTA runs smoothly and communicates well.
Needs to be: Supportive, enthusiastic; energetic; organised.
Main duty: To oversee the PTA’s financial affairs.
Key jobs: To manage accounts; do banking and maintain up-to-date financial records.
Needs to be: Reliable; organised; good with numbers.
Main duty: To keep up-to-date records of PTA activity.
Key jobs: To organise PTA meetings; to prepare and distribute agendas and minutes; to build strong relationships with key school staff – including the office staff and caretakers.
Needs to be: Organised; good at time management and friendly.
The Comms Agent
Main duty: To publicise PTA events and activities.
Key jobs: To get to know as many parents as possible; to promote and communicate what’s going on; to enthuse other parents about what’s going on.
Needs to be: Friendly; creative; good at writing.
The Class Rep
Main duty: To support the parents in their class.
Key jobs: To organise class coffees, answer parent questions, send out weekly reminders to parents.
Needs to be: Be social and read the school newsletters.
Head of the Sub Committee
Main duty: To lead on organising part of a large event.
Key jobs: To set up a community group in Classlist, meet up over coffee with their sub team to have a chat, no sorry, to organise their contribution.
Needs to be: Interested and willing.
The Creative Director
Main duty: To encourage parents to come up with fun event ideas.
Key jobs: To ensure that all parents know that fundraising and event ideas are welcomed by the PTA and to ensure that they can put their ideas forward.
Needs to be: Friendly, creative; can-do.
The Policy Wonk
Main duty: To read through rules and regulations to make sure the PTA are compliant with all legal requirements.
Key jobs: To explain to the PTA what they are (and aren’t) allowed to do!
Needs to be: Smart; detail-conscious; good at explaining.
The Risk Assessment Guru
Main duty: To make risk assessments of any proposed PTA events.
Key jobs: To discuss potential risks in any event with the PTA and help to consider ways of minimising or eliminating that risk.
Needs to be: Detail-conscious; logical and thoughtful.
The Grants Officer
Main duty: To investigate trusts and organisations who might donate money to the school.
Key jobs: To look for wider opportunities for bringing money into the school.
Needs to be: Good at writing; organised; ideally with a background in fundraising.
The Cake Chief
Main duty: To be the cake sale guru.
Key jobs: To be the key figure behind school cake sales – encouraging parents to make cakes and buy cakes.
Needs to be: Friendly; enthusiastic; fond of cake.
Main duty: To be the alcohol guru.
Key jobs: To be the key figure looking after alcohol at any event – taking care of the necessary licences; sourcing the booze and running the beer tent/ bar.
Needs to be: Organised; responsible; clear-headed.
Main duty: To pour the drinks at PTA events.
Needs to be: Sober.
Main duty: To do the heavy lifting (putting up marquees/ shifting boxes).
Needs to be: Strong.
DJs / Musicians
Main duty: To play good tunes.
Needs to be: Musical.
Main duty: To bake (or buy) good cakes.
Needs to be: Able to cook (shop).
Main duty: To get people on the dance floor at school discos.
Needs to be: Coordinated.
Main duty: To get involved in sponsored swims/ walks/ runs/ after-school sports clubs/ school coaching…
Needs to be: Athletic (or interested).
Main duty: To dress up at PTA events.
Needs to be: Funny.
Main duty: To crack open the face paints.
Needs to be: Artistic.
Main duty: To count cash.
Needs to be: Able to count cash.
Main duty: To run stalls at PTA events.
Needs to be: Able to handle money. Smiley.
Main duty: To ask questions.
Needs to be: Confident.
Main duty: To volunteer to listen to children read/ to run book swaps/ to run book stalls.
Needs to be: Love books. Like children.
Main duty: To offer up your skills – however random – to be called upon. Maybe you’re a designer who could help us create amazing posters. Maybe you’re a fisherman who could auction a fish-gutting workshop at the summer fair. Maybe you’re a paramedic who could come in to talk to the children about your job.
Needs to be: Yourself.