It’s the start of the summer term. That means school places have been offered and accepted…and a brand-new cohort is getting ready for the run-up to school. And that means that a brand-new cohort of parents is in the market to become enthusiastic members of the school community. They want to get to know the school. They want to build links with other parents. And hopefully – in the fullness of time – they will want to become willing volunteers for the PTA!
Once places have been accepted your school will be liaising with the new parents: sending out the forms and information they need. It’s common practice for the PTA to include a letter in this school starter pack – and this is a perfect opportunity to send parents a sign-up form for Classlist, explaining how it works and asking them to sign up.
Top tip: Kelly Walsh, the co-PTA Chair at St George’s Weybridge in Surrey, says, ‘If you are sending out your sign-up form before the new cohort have been sorted into classes it’s useful to create a ‘New Joiners’ group on Classlist to feed them into. That way they can sign up to Classlist as soon as they accept the school place, and you can move them into the proper class groups in September.’
Get new parents onboard
Create a sign-up form for Classlist.
Here’s an example of a sign-up form that your PTA could put into the school start pack for new parents:[Your school logo at the top]
Welcome to [name of school]!
My name’s [Chair of the PTA] and I currently head up [Friends of/ the PA/ PTA]. We’re a group of parents who volunteer to run social events for parents and children and to organise fundraising events (at the moment we’re raising money to [XXX]).
We put all our news and events up on Classlist. It’s a free, safe, secure online community for the school where you can post questions and message other parents in your child’s class or year group. It’s really useful for tracking down lost jumpers, organising play dates and checking the homework.
Please fill out the form below so we can invite you to Classlist. Send it back to us via the school office and we’ll email you an invite to Classlist. Then you can get chatting with the other parents and we’ll be able to invite you to our upcoming events. We are planning to hold a [welcome picnic/summer fair] in the summer term.
If you have any questions about Classlist please email [name], our [position on the PTA] and (s)he’ll get back to you as quickly as possible!
I give permission for the PTA to contact me via email and send me an invitation to Classlist.
Name of child:
Class/ year group child will be joining:
Parent/ Guardian name(s):
Parent/ Guardian email(s):
If you can’t wait to sign up you can download the Classlist app on your mobile (recommended) or visit www.classlist.com – and then search for our school name. Please still fill out this form so we can verify you as a parent at the school!
Be at the new parent welcome talk.
Sending out the sign-up letter in the new starter pack should get a wave of new parents signing up to Classlist. You can encourage others to join by meeting them face-to-face at key school events for new parents – the welcome talk and induction days.
‘If the school is willing then get a group of volunteers to come to the welcome talk,’ says Kelly. ‘Wear name badges, introduce yourselves, give the new parents flyers with event dates and information about Classlist – and talk to them about the benefits of signing up. Another key time for us to get parents onboard is at Induction Days. On every Induction Day we run a coffee morning for parents – either in the hour after the kids have been dropped off, or in the hour before they’re picked up. We provide coffee and biscuits, we chat to the parents, we bring in second-hand school uniform stock, we explain Classlist and we ask them to sign up.’
Kate Fry, the PTA Chair at Newnham Croft Primary School in Cambridge agrees that getting parents early is key. ‘Get the new parents at the beginning of the school year – if you grab them when they join then they stay with you as they move up the school. Every year we have a ‘Meet the Parents’ event. We do coffee and biscuits and we go round with a clipboard, explaining that Classlist is the way we communicate. We ask them for their email, we send them out an invite, they sign up!’
Ready? Get recruiting the new parents! Or, if your child is starting at a new school – why not connect with the PTA at their welcome meeting and get your child’s class on Classlist.